Cholesterol has important functions in the body, but can cause clogged arteries and heart disease when it gets out of control.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is prone to free radical damage and contributes most to heart disease. In contrast, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) protects against heart disease by carrying cholesterol away from vessel walls and back to the liver.
If your cholesterol is out of balance, lifestyle interventions are the first line of treatment.
Unsaturated fats, soluble fiber and plant sterols and stanols can increase good HDL and decrease bad LDL. Exercise and weight loss can also help.
Eating trans fats and smoking is harmful and should be avoided.
In this post we will show you how a range of delicious foods can be cholesterol reducing, why the soluble fiber available in a juicing diet are good for your heart and how you can continue to eat foods like meat which are often excluded from diets that lower cholesterol.
Before we get going on explaining which foods that lower cholesterol to include in your diet, it is important to get a good understanding of the different types of cholesterol.
The cholesterol level in your blood consists of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL).
LDL is known as the "bad” cholesterol because it blocks your blood vessels and increases your risk of heart disease.
HDL is known as your “good” cholesterol. The higher your HDL, the better.
The total cholesterol numbers also includes a triglycerides count. This is another potentially dangerous type of fat that can accumulate in your body and increase your risk for heart disease.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, have the following measures to identify the ideal cholesterol numbers.
Less than 200
More than 40
Less than 100
Less than 150
240 and higher
More than 160
More than 200
Less than 40
One of the scary things about high cholesterol is that it usually does not show any symptoms.
If you have high cholesterol you obviously want to know this before a catastrophic event like a heart attack or a stroke strikes you.
We suggest that everybody should have blood cholesterol tests done by their GP every now and then but especially if you are a high risk candidate i.e.
To be successful in getting to the ideal cholesterol levels a two part strategy will be required:
In creating a diet for high cholesterol there is some important insights in the Lyon Diet Heart study. This study started in 1988 and involved more than 5 years of continuous monitoring.
All the traditional diets for high cholesterol gave a high priority to restricting your intake of saturated fats. The main sources of saturated fats are fatty meats and full-fat dairy products.
However, new research through the important Framingtion Heart Study revealed no link between high cholesterol levels and saturated fat intake.
Therefor for people that have:
can relax about avoiding saturated fats at all cost if they want to follow diet to lower cholesterol.
On the other hand it is vital to know which fats to avoid.
When certain oils are hydrogenated in the production of cooking fats and margarine's, some of them are converted into an unhealthy fat that you will not find in nature.
These fats are known as trans fats and they lurk in fried food, frozen dinners, salad dressings, a whole range of baked goods and many more foods.
Many studies have found a undeniable link between trans fatty acids and coronary heart disease.
Recent research also revealed a link between trans fatty acids and the development of type 2 diabetes so it safe to avoid these type of fats at all cost.
These fats are even worse for your health than saturated fats.
So it is important to limit these foods in a high cholesterol diet or even better to avoid it altogether.
One of the most important foods that lower cholesterol is extra virgin olive oil.
This is because olive oil is an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids.
Olive oil is proven to increase healthy HDL cholesterol levels and lower unhealthy LDL cholesterol.
Omega 3 is associated with a healthy heart because it increases HDL cholesterol and also reduces the risk of stroke.
Good omega 3 food sources include fatty fish, pumpkin seeds and flax seeds.
Some of the best omega-3 fatty acids you can be found is in fatty fish.
It is therefor a good idea to include fish like salmon and mackerel in your diet for high cholesterol.
The healthiest ways to prepare fish for heart health is to bake, broil or grill it.
Frying your fish is not the best way to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Walnuts also contain a healthy dose of omega 3 fatty acids.
Fiber absorbs water in your digestive track which makes the food you consume bulkier and easier to pass through your body.
High fiber foods also help lower your risk of cancer, heart attack, and high blood pressure.
You should ideally not get less than 35 grams of dietary fiber in per day.
Foods that lower cholesterol include healthy fats inclusion in your diet.
This provides you with a degree of flexibility to also include fats in your diet to lower cholesterol but how much proteins should you have for optimum heart health?
Protein is vital for the growth and the repairs of your cells.
You also need proteins to make hormones, enzymes, antibodies and neurotransmitters.
The quality as well as the quantity of protein sources you eat impacts your heart health.
The best quality protein comes from eggs, quinoa, meat, fish, beans and lentils.
Navy beans are at the top of the list when it comes to high fiber foods and one cup can provide a whopping 76% of your daily requirement.
Next on the list you get turnip greens, beet greens and mustard greens.
Also consume plenty whole grains, fruits, nuts, seeds as well as lentils.
Because two thirds of your body is made of water it is obviously very important for you health.
It is especially important when you increase your fiber intake as part of your diet to lower cholesterol naturally to drink plenty of water.
Avoid excessive alcohol, coffee and tea.
The problem with protein sources from animal products is that they contain a lot of undesirable saturated fats.
If you source your protein from plant sources you will include complex carbohydrates that are much more beneficial to your health.
They are also less acid forming than meat.
Protein foods that lower cholesterol
Protein foods to avoid/limit
Beans, lentils, quinoa and "seed" vegetables like peas and runner beans.
In addition to healthy proteins vegetable proteins also have complex carbohydrates that boost your health.
Excessive intake of animal source protein like bacon, beef, chicken and liver.
Cholesterol can increase from a conditioned known as "metabolic syndrome"
This occurs when both glucose and insulin levels are raised.
If this happens your risk of heart disease increases.
It happens when you have insulin resistance and your pancreas makes more insulin to overcome this insulin resistance.
This stimulates your liver to produce LDL cholesterol.
To make this even worse your body's production of HDL cholesterol is reduced.
In addition to this, another harmful blood fat triglycerides increases.
Fats and protein are your long-term fuel source, while carbohydrates meet your body's sort-term, most immediate energy requirements.
Fast releasing carbohydrates
Slow releasing carbohydrates
Sources are sugar, honey, malt and most refined foods
Whole grains, vegetables and fresh fruit.
The problem with fast releasing carbohydrates ate that it gives you a sudden burst of energy which will typically be followed by a slump.
Your best strategy for peak energy is to get in more slow-releasing carbohydrates because they will present you with a more sustainable level of energy.
Dark green leafy and root vegetables.
Any form of sugar.
Also limit or avoid white and refined foods.
This allows to the fiber to do its work with maximum effectiveness.
Also remember that fruits and vegetables consists of around 90 percent water.
Vitamins turn on enzymes.
Vitamins are necessary to balance hormones, produce energy, boost your immune system, make healthy skin and is very important to your brain and nervous system.
Vitamin A, C and E are antioxidants that protect your body from cancers.
Vitamins B and C are necessary to turn the food you eat into mental and physical energy. These vitamins are in their most potent form in living foods like fresh fruit and vegetables.
Vitamin D controls your calcium balance.
Vitamin E is found in seeds, nuts and their oils.
Also target fresh fruit as well as nuts and seeds.
You need minerals for every bodily process.
Calcium, magnesium and phosphorus builds your bones and teeth.
Your nerve signals used by your brain and muscles to function depend on magnesium, sodium and potassium.
Zinc is vital for body repairs and renewal.
You need large amounts of calcium and magnesium from your food.
They can be found in abundance in vegetables such as kale, cabbage and root vegetables
Copper lowers cholesterol and can also prevent high blood pressure.
Some of the best sources of copper can be found in:
For optimum heart health you will need to consume magnesium rich foods.
A lack of manganese can results in reduced levels HDL - the good cholesterol in your blood.
It may also promote the binding of LDL cholesterol to artery walls which off course increase the risk of heart disease.
Best sources of this important mineral is fruit, green vegetables, nuts and seeds.
Your most nutrient dense magnesium foods are:
48% of your daily value (per cup)
39% of your daily value (per cup)
Then you will have to look at some calcium foods. Your best calcium rich foods are:
Supplies 27% of your daily value (per cup)
Supplies 24% of your daily value (per cup)
Finally to ensure getting sufficient minerals in your diet you will need potassium. Here some of your best choices include:
Supplies 37% of your daily value (per cup)
Supplies 27% of your daily value (per cup)
Many more fruits and vegetables contain high levels of potassium with low levels of sodium in the perfect ratio.
From all the information above it is clear you need to:
when you go shopping for foods that lower cholesterol.
Food labels usually focus on fat, saturates, sugar and sodium which are things that concern people who are trying to prevent or control heart disease.
But labels can mislead you:
So there you have it.
If you include these foods in your diet you will consume all the healthy fats, protein, carbohydrates, water, vitamins and minerals you need in a diet with plenty foods that lower cholesterol. In the process you will:
A further bonus to this type of diet is that it will also: