You should always take high cholesterol seriously. Even borderline-high cholesterol levels can elevate your risk of serious cardiovascular problems, including chest pain, heart attack and stroke. Before you jump to the use of radical treatments, such as lipid-lowering drugs, talk to your doctor about the benefits of dietary adjustments to reduce or eliminate your high cholesterol. Depending upon the severity of your high cholesterol, dietary adjustments may reduce or eliminate your need for prescription drugs.
Here are a few very simple measures you can take to naturally reduce your serum cholesterol levels. You may be surprised to find out which foods you can enjoy, and which are actually off-limits.
1. Don’t fear the egg.
The incredible, edible egg is your friend, not your enemy– even if you have high cholesterol. A very comprehensive review published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that dietary cholesterol has surprisingly little effect on serum cholesterol in your bloodstream. No well-designed studies have found that moderate egg intake appreciably affects your blood cholesterol levels or your risk of cardiovascular disease. Eat one to five servings per week of free-range organic eggs, and you’ll likely find that your cholesterol levels actually fall.
2. Go for oatmeal.
Oatmeal isn’t just for breakfast. You can load up on it as a mid-morning snack, lunch side-item or late-night pick-me-up. Oatmeal offers everything you need to lower your cholesterol. Not only is it extremely low in fat and naturally free of cholesterol; it also provides tons of soluble fiber, which can reduce the amount of cholesterol in your bloodstream, veins, arteries and heart. This, in turn, cuts your risk of a heart attack, stroke or other serious cardiovascular event.
3. Make substitutes.
You know about the importance of healthy fats and a reduced-fat diet to reduce your cholesterol levels. But do you know that you can still enjoy all your favorite foods? Look for healthy products designed to substitute
bad alternatives. Good choices include Smart Balance peanut butter, buttery spread, vegetable oil, eggs and milk. These contain substantially higher-than-average quantities of omega-3 fatty acids, with little or no saturated fat or trans fat. These can help to flush triglycerides from your
4. Load up on veggies.
There’s a reason that doctors hammer a high-veggie diet as the primary treatment for high cholesterol. Vegetables are not only loaded with fiber, which can curb your high cholesterol, but they also provide the rich antioxidants needed to prevent cholesterol from oxidizing– the first chemical step in atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Veggies in your diet can also crowd out less-healthy sources of dietary calories. When you chow down on carrot sticks instead of hot dogs, you prevent unhealthy fats from entering your body.
5. Beans, beans!