Diet can play an important role in lowering your cholesterol. Here are five foods that can lower your cholesterol and protect your heart.
an a bowl of oatmeal help lower your cholesterol? How about a handful of walnuts or even a baked potato topped with some heart-healthy margarine? A few simple tweaks to your diet — like these, along with exercise and other heart-healthy habits — may be helpful in lowering your cholesterol. 1. Oatmeal, oat bran and high-fiber foods
Oatmeal contains soluble fiber, which reduces your low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the “bad,” cholesterol. Soluble fiber is also found in such foods as kidney beans, apples, pears, barley and prunes. 2. Fish and omega-3 fatty acids
Eating fatty fish can be heart healthy because of its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce your blood pressure and risk of developing blood clots. In people who have already had heart attacks, fish oil — or omega-3 fatty acids — reduces the risk of sudden death. 3. Walnuts, almonds and other nuts
Walnuts, almonds and other nuts can reduce blood cholesterol. Rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, walnuts also help keep blood vessels healthy. All nuts are high in calories, so a handful will do. 4. Olive oil
Olive oil contains a potent mix of antioxidants that can lower your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol but leave your “good” (HDL) cholesterol untouched.
Try using about 2 tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil a day in place of other fats in your diet to get its heart-healthy benefits
5. Foods with added plant sterols or stanols
Foods are now available that have been fortified with sterols or stanols — substances found in plants that help block the absorption of cholesterol. Margarines, orange juice and yogurt drinks with added plant sterols can help reduce LDL cholesterol by more than 10 percent. The amount of daily plant sterols needed for results is at least 2 grams — which equals about two 8-ounce (237-milliliter) servings of plant sterol-fortified orange juice a day.
A small amount of thickening and loss of elasticity in the arteries is a natural part of aging, but if we regularly eat fatty foods and fail to exercise, the arteries start narrowing dangerously. They get clogged with deposits that look like porridge. In fact, the term for clogged arteries, “atherosclerosis,” is made up of two words: athero which in Greek means porridge, and sclerosis, which means hardening.
And here’s a scary fact: arteries can get up to 85% clogged before you notice the first signs of heart disease.
With some simple precautions and diet changes, it is possible to keep arteries clean and healthy. Your aim should be to lower LDL, the bad cholesterol that clogs arteries. This can be done by focusing on a healthier diet. Here are some sound suggestions health experts make: -Choose low-fat cheese, but be careful–some low-fat varieties have too much sodium. Harvard School of Public Health advises that you choose the cheese you like and enjoy small amounts of it. -Switch to lower-fat milk, especially if your milk consumption is high. -Eat more apples and oatmeal: the soluble fiber in them lowers bad cholesterol. -Enjoy baked potato instead of fries or wedges. -Use low-fat yogurt instead of sour cream. -Reduce or totally stop your consumption of packaged cookies, crackers, and chips—they contain harmful trans fats that are bad news for your arteries. -Cook with olive oil or vegetable oil instead of butter and margarine. -Add more beans and vegetables to casseroles and chili; reduce the amount of meat. -Include avocado in your diet. It has monounsaturated fat and many important nutrients that benefit the heart. -Low-fat frozen yogurt is a better choice than full-fat ice cream. Better still, eat fresh fruit.
Thanks to powerful cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, driving down low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol, has been the primary approach to improving cholesterol levels. But there’s more to the story of cholesterol and cardiovascular risk than LDL alone. Another key player is high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the “good” cholesterol. Higher levels of HDL are associated with lower cardiovascular risk. The good news about this good cholesterol is that simple lifestyle changes can help boost HDL.
HDL removes LDL from artery walls and ferries it to the liver for processing or removal. HDL also fights potentially dangerous inflammation and clot formation. According to a recent review of research on HDL, there’s some evidence that increasing HDL can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke—even without changes in LDL.
Here are some tips to boost your good cholesterol. Most of these strategies also improve health in other ways. 1-Get aerobic exercise. Moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise can boost HDL by 5% to 10%. Aim for five 30-minute sessions per week. 2-Lose weight if you need to. If you’re overweight or obese, you can boost your HDL level by about 1 mg/dL for every seven pounds lost, although any amount of weight loss will help. 3-If you smoke, quit. HDL levels rise by as much as 15% to 20% after you quit. 4-Eat a healthy diet. Avoid trans fats, which increase bad cholesterol and decrease good cholesterol. Avoid highly refined carbohydrates, such as white-flour products. 5-Consider medications. Niacin, available over the counter, is the most effective HDL-raising medication available. Niacin can be strong medicine — work with your clinician if you want to try it.
The circulatory system includes your heart and the blood vessels. The job of the circulatory system is to transport oxygen to your cells and carbon dioxide away from them. Heart disease is a disease of the circulatory system that afflicts more than 81 million adults living in the United States, the American Heart Association reports. Consuming healthy foods for the circulatory system can help boost the health of your crucial circulatory system. Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables contain a number of nutrients that promote the health of the circulatory system, Harvard School of Public Health reports. They note that the antioxidants in dark- and bright-colored fresh fruits and vegetables such as eggplant, bell peppers and broccoli protect your heart and blood vessels from damage. They add that a fruit and vegetable-rich diet can help prevent and treat high blood pressure. High blood pressure puts strain on your circulatory system, increasing the risk of injury. Almonds
Almonds and other nuts can boost the health of your circulatory system by providing your body with heart-healthy vitamin E and healthy monounsaturated fats. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant vitamin that reduces oxidation in your blood vessels. Oxidation damages blood vessels, making them more likely to form plaque. Monounsaturated fats are healthy fats that can reduce cardiovascular disease risk. Oily Fish
Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, herring, sole and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fats aid the circulatory system by reducing inflammation — a harmful process that damages your body’s blood vessels. Additionally, the omega-3s in fish can help reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol while increasing “good” HDL cholesterol. Video: Clogged Arteries
With every one percent reduction of total blood cholesterol, there is about a two percent reduction in the risk of heart attack. Getting your total cholesterol down and your HDL, or good cholesterol, up is good medicine. One way to control your cholesterol is by eating the right fats. Eat foods that are low in saturated fats, that contain mostly monounsaturated fats, and that are high in essential fatty acids. This means eating fats from seafood and plant sources. Minimize foods of animal origin, which are high in saturated fats. Keep your saturated fats to less than ten percent (better is seven percent) of your total daily calories. Get used to checking the package label for grams of saturated fat per serving. Avoid “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oils and shortenings. New insights into the fatty food/heart disease correlation reveal that the amount of saturated fats and hydrogenated fats in a food may actually do more harm to the fats in your blood than the cholesterol in the food. The trans fatty acids in hydrogenated fats do all kinds of bad things to blood fats, such as: increase LDL (bad) cholesterol, decrease HDL (good) cholesterol, increase triglycerides, and increase lipoprotein A – the blood fat that contributes to plaques in the arteries. Look for labels that claim “contains no saturated fats” or “contains no hydrogenated oils.” Eat more fish that contain omega 3 fatty acids (coldwater fish: seabass, salmon and albacore tuna), which help lower blood fat levels and reduce the risk of blood clots, which can clog arteries and cause strokes and heart attacks. Replacing saturated fats in your diet with unsaturated ones (for example, vegetable and fish oils) can reduce blood LDL levels. Yet, a diet that is too high in polyunsaturated fat (more than 10 percent of daily calories) can suppress production of HDL. Choose monounsaturated fats instead, such as olive oil, canola oil, and nut oils. These monounsaturated fats do not lower HDL levels.
Coconut oil is one of the richest sources of saturated fat you can find, with around 90% of calories as saturated fat. But is very different from most other cooking oils and contains a unique composition of fatty acids.
The fatty acids are about 90% saturated. This makes coconut oil highly resistant to oxidation at high heats. For this reason, it is the perfect oil for high-heat cooking methods like frying.
Additionally, coconut oil consists almost entirely of Medium Chain Triglycerides.
These fatty acids go straight from the digestive tract to the liver, where they are likely to be turned into ketone bodies and provide a quick source of energy.
Epileptic patients on ketogenic diets often use these fats to induce ketosis while allowing for a little bit of carbs in the diet.
Coconut oil is rich in saturated medium chain fatty acids. They are resistant to high heat and can easily turn into ketone bodies in the liver. The virgin coconut oil significantly reduced Total and LDL cholesterol, oxidized LDL, triglycerides and increased HDL (the good) cholesterol.
There are natural ways to unclog your arteries to prevent a heart attack or stroke… One of them is the use of olive oil in all your meals. Olive oil is on the list of “good” oils and a “monounsaturated” fat. Using a “cold-pressed” organic olive oil as your main source of oil may cut your risk of coronary heart disease almost in half.
Studies have show that particles of LDL (bad) cholesterol that contain monounsaturated fats (found in olive oil) are less likely to become oxidized. This is important because only oxidized cholesterol is able to stick to your artery walls and form plaques.
Also, avocados and nuts like almonds are other good sources monounsaturated fat that help to clean your arteries. But just remember, fat is still fattening – so, go easy to not eat too much. A good strategy is to avoid the bad fats like the cookies, ice-cream, red meats, salt-laden cheeses and butter and replace them with the healthier unsaturated fats.
You may have already heard that green tea is good for your heart, but did you know that it also lowers your cholesterol levels and decreases your risk of disability as you age?
The cholesterol finding comes from an analysis of 14 randomized controlled trials involving a total of 1,136 participants and was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2011. The review was conducted by researchers from the Key Laboratory for Clinical Cardiovascular Genetics, the Sino-German Laboratory for Molecular Medicine, the Cardiovascular Institute, FuWai Hospital and Peking Union Medical College.
In all 14 studies, participants were divided into a placebo group and a group that drank either green tea or a green tea extract for between three weeks and three months. Overall, the researchers found that higher levels of green tea (or extract) consumption were associated with significantly lower levels of total cholesterol and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. No change was seen in the levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Green tea is high in antioxidants, which protect cells from the damage and inflammation that lead to many chronic diseases, including heart disease. One of the antioxidant families found in green tea, known as the catechins, appears to decrease the gut’s absorption of cholesterol.
Avocados are one of the most nutritious fruits you can select for a healthy diet. The fruit is also one of the most versatile. You can eat it fresh or use it as a salad ingredient or sandwich filling. You can also make a dip, smoothie, juice or puree from avocado. The fruit is quite filling and is regarded as a complete food.
It is a good source of vitamins A, B-complex, C, E and K, and the mineral content includes phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, copper, zinc, iron and manganese. The fruit is also a good source of protein, dietary fiber and phytonutrients. Additionally, it is a unique fruit due to the high amount of fat it contains. Fat Content of Avocados- A serving of 170 grams contains 285 calories. Fats account for about 25 grams. Most of these are monounsaturated fats, which are considered as healthy fats. They account for about 63 percent of the total fat content. The fruit also contains a low amount of polyunsaturated and saturated fats. These represent 20 percent and 17 percent of total fat content respectively. Although the fruit is often shunned by weight watchers because of the high fat content, avocado fats are actually good for you.
Over the years, soy has garnered a lot of attention for its potential role in reducing blood cholesterol. In 1995, a review of 38 clinical trials found that, on average, soy protein reduced total cholesterol by over 9 percent and LDL cholesterol by nearly 13 percent. However, the response to soy protein depended on how high the blood-cholesterol level was at the start. People with total cholesterol levels greater than 335 mg/dL benefited the most, while those with cholesterol levels less than 260 mg/dL showed only a modest decrease in their cholesterol levels.
In 1999, based on the research to date, the Food and Drug Administration approved products containing at least 6.25 g of soy protein per serving to claim that diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include 25 g of soy protein a day may reduce the risk of heart disease. The beneficial effects of soy may come from replacing animal products that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol with soy products, such as tofu, soy nuts, and soy burgers, which are low in saturated fat and higher in polyunsaturated fat, fiber, and nutrients.