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Eat Your Way to Lower Cholesterol

What you eat plays an enormous role in increasing or decreasing your cholesterol levels. It is easy to eat your way to high cholesterol levels.  The same is true too for lowering your cholesterol levels.
If your diet can contribute to high cholesterol levels, it can lower it, too.  It is true that changing what foods you eat can improve the fleet of fats floating around in your bloodstream. This is done by a two-pronged strategy:
  1. All foods that lower your LDL;
  2. Decrease your intake of foods that will boost your LDL levels.
LDL is the harmful cholesterol.  It is the carrying particle that contributes to atherosclerosis and heart disease.
In with the Good and Out with the Bad
Different kinds of foods will lower your cholesterol levels in different ways:
  • Soluble fibre.  The type of fibre binds cholesterol in the digestive system and carries them out your body before they have a chance of getting into the circulatory system.
  • Polyunsaturated fats.  These are found in certain foods and will directly lower your cholesterol levels.
  • Plant Sterols and stanols.  These substances block the body from absorbing cholesterol
Some foods that contain these substances include:
Oats is a soluble fibre and is an easy breakfast meal.
Barley and other whole grains
Like oats, barley and other whole grains deliver soluble fibre.
Beans are especially rich in soluble fibre.  There are many choices including navy and kidney beans to lentils, garbanzos, black-eyed peas.  There are so many ways to prepare them, making them a very versatile food.
Eggplant is very rich in soluble fibre
High in polyunsaturated fat.  Nuts are very heart healthy
Olive oil
High in heart healthy monounsaturated fat can help keep your cholesterol levels in check.
Fatty fish
Cold water fish such as sardines, salmon, mackerel, tuna can help lower LDL levels if eaten two to three times per day.  The omega 3 fatty acids found in fish help to reduce triglycerides in the bloodstream.

Out with the bad
Saturated fats

These fats can increase your levels of LDL cholesterol. However, they also tend to increase your levels of HDL (good cholesterol levels). The word is to limit your intake of saturated fats if you have high cholesterol.
Trans fats
These have no nutritional value at all and should be avoided as they are bad for heart health
Weight and Exercise
Losing weight improves protective HDL levels and lowers harmful LDL levels.

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