The Best Diet For High Cholesterol
Do you worry about your own or someone else’s high cholesterol levels? Research shows that diet change can make a big difference in improving heart health. So what is the best diet for high cholesterol? Here are 10 ways which may reduce LDL, increase HDL cholesterol and prevent heart disease.
Cholesterol has been a hot heart health topic for as long as I can remember. As a child I remember my Dad swearing off that deadly cholesterol packed peril, eggs, and liberally sprinkling lecithin all over his breakfast cereal. But what is the truth about cholesterol? (More on eggs later…)
We now know that for optimal heart health we want to increase HDL cholesterol, (the ‘goodie’), which assists in the prevention of heart disease, and decrease LDL cholesterol, (the ‘baddie’), which contributes to atherosclerosis.
Recent studies indicate that the following factors contribute to the best diet for high cholesterol. Note: Research tells us only ¼ of the population are negatively affected by dietary cholesterol. This is because most people can effectively moderate the absorption and discharge of cholesterol, with the help of the gallbladder.
1) Eat a high fiber diet. Eating plenty of fiber improves
your metabolism of fats and cholesterol. High fiber foods have been
found to be especially helpful in lowering LDL cholesterol.
Here are our top fiber food picks for you to include in the best diet for high cholesterol.
- Oats and oat bran – eating 1 ½ cups of cooked oats provides
enough fiber to lower cholesterol. Use whole oats when possible, soak
them overnight and cook into a creamy satisfying oatmeal in the
morning. Or try Bircher Muesli!
- Fresh vegetables and fruit, both raw and cooked. These are some of the most helpful healthy heart foods: broccoli, garlic, ginger, kale, Chinese greens, parsley, red peppers, sprouts, lemons, blueberries, apricots, raspberries, mangos and papaya.
- Vegetable protein. This means more beans! Legumes are a good source of low fat vegetable protein. Replace a few meaty meals each week with flavorsome savory bean casseroles, salads, soups and stews.
- Choose complex carbohydrates and unrefined grains. Not only do they provide more fiber, they also have a lower glycemic index and therefore regulate blood sugar levels. Insulin resistance and diabetes are indicated in the package of conditions contributing to heart disease.
2) Let go of the caffeine hit. Yes, we know coffee is a sublime pick-me-up treat for many people. However the facts speak - if you want to give your heart the best chance, drop the coffee addiction. One study showed that cholesterol levels lowered by 10% over 5 weeks in all caffeine abstainers.
3) Spice up your life. Research indicates cinnamon has proven heart protecting and healing properties. Cinnamon assists in the breakdown of bile sales which can reduce cholesterol. Generally using more spices and herbs to flavour your food allows you to reduce processed salt usage. If you eat a primarily whole food diet (minimal food in packets) you will need some extra salt – use unprocessed mineral rich sea salt.
4) Moderate Alcohol intake. You’ve heard the stories that your heart likes a regular glass of wine. It’s true that a little each day, with a meal, can benefit heart health. This means two glasses or less! Anything more for women will increase the risk of liver disease and increase the risk of breast cancer by a whopping 60%. Did you know? Whole food and more raw food in your diet makes it easier to reduce alcohol cravings.
5) Reduce dietary cholesterol from saturated fats,
especially animal products. Choose lean meats and trim off fatty edges
and chicken skin. If you have a family history of heart disease or if
you want to lower LDL cholesterol levels, it is best to limit intake of
LDL is highest in meat eaters than vegetarians. One study of vegetarians showed that when they ate beef regularly for four weeks, their total cholesterol rose by 19%, while the good HDL cholesterol remained unchanged.
6) Replace saturated fats with monounsaturated fats – particularly olive oil. Unlike most other vegetable and seed oils, olive oil does not affect your good HDL cholesterol. This is why the olive oil rich Mediterranean diet gained popularity in the healing of high cholesterol.
7) Eat more omega oil loaded fish. Studies are clear that HDL levels are highest in fish eaters.
8) Stop deep frying or eating greasy deep fried food, and avoid heating vegetable and seed oils. Vegetable and seed oils are fragile and easily damaged by heat. Once damaged and unstable, these fat molecules may boost LDL cholesterol levels.
9) Use polyunsaturated fats like vegetable and seed oils in smaller amounts. Popular cooking oils like canola, soya, and sunflower do not usually help your cholesterol. They can be consumed in smaller quantities, providing you have an antioxidant rich diet (lots of vegetables and fruit). Plenty of antioxidants seem to balance the negative effects of polyunsaturated fats.
10) And remember, some fat is good! Becoming the anti-fat police is dangerous. Focus on the type of fats you are consuming instead. It is vital that you do eat healthy fats in your diet. Your body needs healthy fats for connective tissue repair, brain function and healthy cells. The best fats are monounsaturated (olive), omega oils and smaller amounts of polyunsaturated fats from nuts and seeds.
Lifestyle choices are equally important as diet. For the best chance of lowering LDL cholesterol stop smoking and get moving. 30 minutes exercise most days of the week and a smoke free body can raise the HDL cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol.
You do have the power to be healthier, by choosing the best diet for
high cholesterol and combining this with positive lifestyle choices.
Inevitably the recommendations here may assist you to feel better and
have more energy in all areas of your life.
Be good to yourself. You deserve it!
P.S About eggs and cholesterol… Researchers from the University of Connecticut reported in 2006 that people's bodies digest the cholesterol from eggs in a way that is least likely to harm the heart. This is partly because eggs contain half monounsaturated fats (like olive oil) ,which supports HDL cholesterol. So the LDL is balanced by the HDL. They also discovered that the cholesterol molecules are larger in eggs and less likely to become arterial plaques.
Response to this article from Dr. Earl Conroy:
Roger / Anna:
Your newsletters are really good value, I appreciate them.
However, I would suggest that you do more homework before reporting the old cliches about cholesterol being a healh problem.
There is NO such thing as good or bad cholesterol!!!
HDL carries cholesterol to the liver
LDL carries cholesterol to the periphery where it is required.
Elevated cholesterol is NOT a health problem.
Elevated cholesterol is an indication of an inflammatory process going on in the body. The cholesterol is THE REP AIR SUBSTANCE that prevents the inflammation or scurvy from decimating the body.
Every cell and hormone of the body requires cholesterol.
Eating saturated fats per se does not raise cholesterol levels. In fact, the very best fat is coconut oil, which is totally saturated fat.
Nobody had heart disease 100 years ago when everyone ate volumes of satutrated fats. Its only since the introduction of poly-unsaturated oils that CVD has risen exponentially.
Omega-6's are known carcinogens, omega-3's are also suspect.
Heart disease does not run in families. With CVD hitting
1 in 3 people it may seem that it "runs" in families but it may mean the family eats the same or has similar stress.
Its vital to read the book..."The Cholesterol Myth" by Uffe Ravnskov MD, PhD.
The cholesterol myth was formulated by the pharmaceutical cartel to strike fear into people and have them rush in to buy statin drugs to lower their "high cholesterol" levels. The statins have earned billions of dollars of profits and killed thousands of people.
Poly-unsaturated oils directly cause massive free radical production which is a primary cause of pathology.
Fish oils, due to their propensity to be rancid, can cause depletion of Vitamin E in the body.
The only oils I suggest to my patients are...
1-coconut oil [the very best]
4-rice bran oil...if its not been excessively processed.
5-palm oil [contains all 8 Vitamin E factors as does rice bran oil] all other oils, organic or not, cause massive free radical damage.
Pleaase check this out and consider amending this data in your next newsletter.
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