Eat Your Way to Better Cholesterol Numbers

Your body needs some levels of cholesterol to work properly. But, if there is too much in your system, it sticks to the walls of your arteries, narrowing or even blocking them. When this happens, you’re at greater risk for heart disease.

You’ve probably heard about the two types of cholesterol. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is the “good” type, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is the “bad” cholesterol.

Fortunately, you can treat high cholesterol with the right medication and a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, weight management, and healthy eating.

Add these foods to improve your cholesterol

Different types of foods lower your cholesterol in different ways. Some foods provide your body with polyunsaturated fats that work to lower your LDL numbers. Others provide soluble fiber, which binds cholesterol in your digestive tract, dragging it out of your system. There are even those that contain stanols and sterols, which block your body from absorbing the cholesterol.

Take a moment to explore some important foods you can add to your menu for better cholesterol numbers.

Eat ‘good’ fatty fish

Fatty fish contains high levels of omega-3, a good fatty acid that reduces fat in your bloodstream and reduces blood pressure.

Omega-3 provides a variety of benefits, and the American Heart Association suggests eating a minimum of two servings of fish every week. The best sources of omega-3 fatty acids are:

Grilling or baking your fish will ensure you don’t add any unhealthy fats to your meal.

Foods like canola oil and flaxseeds also contain omega-3 fatty acids.

Add fat-free dairy to your diet

Most cheeses and full-cream dairy items are high in saturated fats. Avoid them if you want to control your cholesterol numbers. This doesn’t mean you have to cut out dairy completely. That will just deprive you of calcium, which is essential for your heart health and other important functions in your body.

However, you can switch to fat-free dairies, such as cottage cheese, yogurt, and milk. Fat-free yogurt is an especially good choice since it’s rich in calcium, protein, and Lactobacillus microorganisms, which studies have shown to lower cholesterol levels.

Cut down on salt

Try to limit the amount of salt you eat to no more than about a teaspoon a day. This serving includes all the sodium you consume, whether it’s added during cooking or when you sit down to eat. It’s also present in many products.

Cutting down on salt can also lower your risk of heart disease and lower your blood pressure.

Start reducing your salt intake by opting for “no added salt” or low-salt products.

Include soluble fiber

Soluble fiber, as mentioned earlier, prevents the digestive tract from absorbing cholesterol. Foods rich in soluble fiber include:

Limit your alcohol intake

Alcohol piles on the calories, which then piles on the pounds. Overweight people are prone to higher levels of LDL, the “bad” cholesterol. Too much alcohol also increases the risk of heart disease. The recommended daily amount for alcohol consumption is:

One drink is the equivalent of 12 fluid ounces of beer, 1½ fluid ounces of distilled spirits, or 5 fluid ounces of wine.

Get your cholesterol in check

Whether you think you have high cholesterol or would like to change your lifestyle to control those LDL numbers, Dr. Vincent R.C. Maribao can help you plan a healthier lifestyle and keep those numbers in check. Book your consultation today.

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