High cholesterol is linked to many complications, but it is most commonly associated with heart disease and heart attack. It is imperative to lower your LDL cholesterol, also known as bad cholesterol, down to at least 100-80 range to keep your heart healthy.
With your traditional treatment, such as daily medications, and simple lifestyle modifications, however, it is possible to get a handle on your LDL cholesterol to lower your risk of a cardiovascular condition or event.
Say no to trans and saturated fats
Trans and saturated fats are known as the bad fats, and they increase your LDL cholesterol and risk of heart disease and stroke. It has become challenging to avoid these fats as they are present in from baked goods and processed snacks to fried foods.
Butter, margarine, fatty meats (especially red meat), whole-fat dairy products, and coconut oil are all rich in saturated fat. Furthermore, shellfish, organs, and egg yolks are only some of the foods that are high in cholesterol.
Eat more fiber
Soluble fiber-rich foods promote cardiovascular health and lower cholesterol. Adults need up to 30-38 grams of dietary fiber every day, but even 5-10 grams per day may lower your bad cholesterol.
Some foods that are high in soluble fiber are wheat bran, barley, yam, potatoes, oats, legumes like beans and peas, fruits like oranges and berries, and vegetables like Brussels sprouts and carrots.
Shed those extra lbs
Maintaining a healthy weight is vital to preventing a number of complications linked to high cholesterol like hypertension, stroke, and heart attack. The good news is, lowering your cholesterol does not require a significant drop in your weight unless you are overweight or obese.
In fact, losing just 8-10 pounds may lower your LDL cholesterol by 6-8%. If you avoid processed foods, fried foods, foods that contain refined sugar, trans or saturated fat, and try to be physically active a few times a week, you are halfway there.
Load up on sterols
Sterols are organic molecules found in plants, legumes, nuts, and seeds; some examples are lentils, peanuts, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pecans, and sesame seeds. Studies have shown that up to 2 grams of daily sterol intake may improve LDL cholesterol.
You can also take sterol supplements since some of the foods that are rich in sterols are also fattening like peanuts and pecans.
Eat more fish
Experts recommend cutting out red meat and eating fish 2-3 times a week because fatty fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids have been proven to lower LDL cholesterol and prevent heart disease.
Some good options are halibut, trout, salmon, mackerel, and sardines. Avoid shellfish as they are high in dietary cholesterol; however, mussels, clams, and oysters are safe choices.
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