Diet for managing high cholesterol levels
If you eat too much of saturated fat, it will increase your blood cholesterol, which in turn will increase the risk of heart attack. Researchers have shown that if you cut down the amount of saturated fat in your diet and replace it with foods containing more unsaturated fat, your cholesterol levels may improve. So you need to follow a high cholesterol diet to reduce the risk of heart complications. Let us go through a list of foods that lead to high cholesterol and those that help in preventing cholesterol.
Foods that increase the cholesterol levels
It is a foregone conclusion that intake of saturated fat leads to an increase in cholesterol. So, you need to limit the number of foods high in saturated fats. Some of these foods include the following:
- Fatty beef or meat
- Hard margarine
- Goose fat
- Poultry with skin
- Full fat cheese
- Coconut oil and cream
- Palm oil
- Baked and fried foods
High cholesterol – Diet is not enough to manage high levels
Avoiding a high cholesterol diet is not enough if you are already having an overload of cholesterol in your blood. If you have consumed high cholesterol diet for a long time, it is most likely that cholesterol layers have already built up on the inner walls of your artery. This may have resulted in the narrowing of the arteries and reduction in the flow of blood to the muscles of your heart. Subsequently, the amount of oxygen flowing to the heart muscles is also reduced. You may feel chest pain because of this. In such a case, visit a doctor for suggestions and medicines to reduce cholesterol.
However, if you get acclimatized to a low-cholesterol diet plan or add food items that help the body to reduce cholesterol in your regular diet, medications can be avoided to a substantial extent.
Foods rich in HDL cholesterol
Cholesterol that we speak of in general terminology is LDL cholesterol or the bad guy cholesterol. The other one is HDL or the good guy cholesterol. To lower cholesterol, you need to reduce the amount of LDL and increase the amount of HDL. A good amount of HDL can itself help you lower your LDL cholesterol. HDL is known for its capacity to pick up LDL from blood and send it packing to the liver where cholesterol is primarily formed. So a diet to lower cholesterol must consist of foods that are high in HDL cholesterol and low in LDL cholesterol.
Foods high in HDL and low in LDL
Sea fish like salmon, tuna, sardine, trout, and mackerel contain an appreciable quantity of omega-3 fatty acids, which are part of monounsaturated fatty acids. These add good cholesterol to the blood, which in turn fights the bad cholesterol.
Walnuts and flaxseed
Both walnut and flaxseed are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which can help you lower your blood cholesterol.
Canola oil, olive oil, and soybean
Canola oil, soybean, and olive oil are high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which add good cholesterol to the blood.
Oats – Oats is very low in LDL. Moreover, it is also high in fiber content, meaning that it is helpful in good bowel movement. So you can have oats for breakfast more often than not and reap the benefits of good cholesterol and fiber.
Whole grains like barley – Whole grains contain a high percentage of fiber.
Other foods that are low in cholesterol are as follows:
- Oat Bran
- Black-eyed peas
- Pearl barley
- Baked/black/butter/mung/white beans
- Adzuki beans
- Navy beans
- Green lentils
- Vegetables rich in soluble fiber
- Kidney beans
- Split peas
- Red lentils
- Citrus fruits
- Unsalted soy nuts and soya chunks
- Dry fruits including pistachios, cashews, unsalted peanuts, etc.
It is not only food that contributes to a high HDL, but lifestyle changes can alter the levels as well. Thing like no smoking and minimum intake of alcohol has profound impacts on your overall well-being, in particular reference to your heart. If you have put on extra pounds, shedding that extra weight will pave the way to higher HDL. At the same time, it is going to reduce LDL that could otherwise prove fatal for your body.
Get a blood test done at periodic intervals. For a man, if HDL is below 40 and for a woman, if it is less than 50, then it is a cause for concern. Ideally, your HDL should be in the bracket of 60 to prevent incidences of heart disease.