Five Food Groups That Lower Cholesterol
High Cholesterol and heart disease are the leading cause of death worldwide. The WHO report on this for 2016 shows that an unbelievable 17.9 million people died globally from this disease. This accounts for 31% of all deaths for that year. The need to keep our cholesterol levels low and our hearts healthy cannot be overstated!
Managing cholesterol levels is a lifestyle. This involves more than just eating right. It involves regular exercises, moderate use of alcohol and the elimination of toxic habits such as smoking.
With that being said, your diet will play the primary roll in your overall success when it comes to managing and lowering your cholesterol levels. So, here are our top 5 yummy food groups that will not only help you to lower your cholesterol levels but will also have you enjoying the process.
1. Fruits, Berries, Dark Chocolate and Cocoa
Oh yes, we're starting off with the yummy stuff!
While these options might seem surprising they are actually fantastic cholesterol lowering, healthy supplements you should add to your diet. Most fruits contain high amounts of soluble fiber. This soluble fiber helps the body get rid of cholesterol by stopping the liver from producing it. One kind of soluble fiber, called pectin, has been found to lower cholesterol by up to 10%. This type of soluble fiber is found in fruits such as apples, grapes, citrus fruits and strawberries.
Fruit also contains bio-active compounds that help prevent heart disease and other chronic diseases due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Dark chocolate, and its main ingredient cocoa, is rich in flavonoids that lower blood pressure and unhealthy LDL cholesterol, while raising healthy HDL cholesterol levels within the body. It must be stressed, however, that when we speak about dark chocolate we mean chocolate with a cocoa content of 85% or higher. This is because chocolate with a lower cocoa content than this is often very high in sugar, and sugar has a tremendously negative effect on cholesterol levels and heart health.
2. Legumes And Whole Grains
These healthy and vegan friendly dietary replacement options are not only great for your gut and digestive health, but they have also been shown to be particularly effective in reducing cholesterol. Legumes like beans, peas and lentils can help lower bad LDL cholesterol levels and are a good source of plant-based protein.
Extensive research has shown that hole grains are one of the most effective ways to reduce cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease. Two in particular, oats and barley, have been shown to reduce overall cholesterol by 5% and the risk of heart disease by 20%.
3. Fatty Fish And Nuts
Now we get to our healthy fat champions!
Nuts are an exceptionally nutrient-dense food high in monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats help reduce bad cholesterol production and absorption, while keeping your brain, joints and blood vessels healthy.
Fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel, are excellent sources of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. These omega-3s bolster heart health by increasing good cholesterol levels and lowering inflammation and stroke risk. Keep in mind that fried fish will actually increase your risk of heard disease. So go for the steamed of grilled option on the menu.
4. Vegetables And Dark Leafy Greens
No prizes for guessing that vegetables are good for your heart and cholesterol levels.
But here's why: Vegetables are rich in fiber and antioxidants and are low in calories, which is necessary for maintaining a healthy weight. Vegetables that are high in pectin, such as okra, eggplants, carrots and potatoes help reduce bad cholesterol levels.
Vegetables also provide a wide range of healthy plant compounds that feed the body and prevent a whole host of health issues, including heart disease.
Dark leafy greens, such as kale and spinach, contain lutein and other carotenoids, which are linked to a lower risk of heart disease. These can also help lower cholesterol levels by binding to bile acids, thus making your body excrete more cholesterol as waste.
5. Healthy Oils, Such As Extra Virgin Olive Oil And Coconut Oil
Cooking with these oils will not only make your food taste better, but will also reduce your cholesterol levels and risk of heart disease.
Olive oil and coconut oil are rich sources of monounsaturated fatty acids and polyphenols. These two compounds work together to reduce bad cholesterol levels and inflammation within the blood vessels.
So there you have it, a list of not only heart and cholesterol healthy foods, but also a list of yummy ones. So regardless of whether on not you have a cholesterol issue, these food will help you to be and feel healthier, and they will improve your long-term heart health.
As a natural, alternative health care practitioner, I offer advice and coaching that is tailored to each patient. If individually tailored treatment is what you're looking for, then book a consultation with me here. Until then though, I sign off with my trademark question: Are you ready to start living your healthy, happy life?
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