Cut Down on Bad Cholesterol without Sacrificing Any Flavour
If you’re battling high cholesterol levels, you’re likely taking the medication approach — but have you considered supplementing this with dietary changes?
A low-fat, low-cholesterol diet can improve your levels just as effectively, and when put together with cholesterol-lowering medication, can do wonders for your body. But before you start cutting it out of your diet, it’s important to understand what makes cholesterol bad.
“Low-Cholesterol” is, like “Low-Fat,” a bit of an oversimplification: like with fat, there are both good and bad kinds of cholesterol, and the idea is to cut out the bad while leaving some of the good.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the bad kind, contributes to plaque buildup in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. High-density lipoprotein (HDL), the good kind, actually helps reduce existing LDL levels. Here are some delicious ways to lower your LDL levels, while maintaining healthy levels of HDL:
Fibre is essential to any low-fat, low-cholesterol diet, and soluble fiber, in particular, can help absorb LDL. A diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is healthy for anyone,
but especially for those with high cholesterol. So work in plenty of legumes, beans, oats, lentils, broccoli, apples, peas, brussels sprouts, and more.
Eat Healthy Fats
As we mentioned earlier, there are bad fats and good fats. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are great for your cholesterol, and essential to making delicious low-carb meals if you’re also trying to cut down on that. Nuts, avocados (say yes to extra guac), flaxseed, natural peanut butter, and fish—especially salmon, trout, and tuna—are all great sources of healthy fat, and fish, in particular, make for a delicious low-carb, high-protein meal for those fitness-minded individuals.
Red, Red Wine
It’s more than just the perfect complement to your meal. Red wine, which uses high-fibre grapes and is loaded with antioxidants, can help significantly decrease your LDL levels. No need to go overboard, either—a glass a day will keep the cholesterol away. And if for any reason you do not partake of alcohol, black tea will do a similar job. Bottoms up!
Popeye’s favourite source of iron (there’s a funny story behind that, actually) is also very rich in lutein, a yellow pigment that has plenty of benefits for the human body. One of these is guarding against high LDL levels, keeping your arteries nice and clear. These deliciously versatile leafy greens are perfect for any diet.
By taking on a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet, you can drastically improve your body’s balance of LDL and HDL, reaping all the benefits while doing away with the bad stuff—isn’t that something to feel good about?