So, you’ve got high cholesterol. Wondering how do you start a low cholesterol diet? It’s easier than you may think. Here are 7 tips to get you started.
7 Easy Tips to Naturally Lower Your Cholesterol
Choose protein-rich plants
Grazing on plants is a surprisingly abundant protein-rich way to eat – just consider how strong and fast deer are! There’s no need to hang out in a pasture, simply try legumes! Legumes are nutritionally rich and packed with protein. Try adding legumes such as lentils, peas and beans (pinto, red, white or soybeans) onto your next plate or kitchen creation from chili to salads. Legumes help lower LDL cholesterol, non-HDL cholesterol, blood sugar, insulin levels and may even lower cancer risk.
Be seedy, act nutty
Eating more seeds and nuts may be helpful to your heart. Nuts and seeds have been proven to modestly lower LDL cholesterol levels. These crunchy little delights contain protein, minerals and fiber. Sprinkle them on your salad, oatmeal or enjoy a handful as a quick, healthy on-the-go snack. But, they are dense with calories (about 175 calories per ounce) so it’s best to stick to a handful a day. Avoid blood-pressure raising salt by opting for raw or dry-roasted nuts and seeds.
Eat more fiber
Fiber is sort of like that quiet best friend, always there helping you out, but never asking to be in the spotlight. Time to shine fiber! Potentially one of the best nutrients you can eat, fiber helps you out in many ways: keeps you feeling full and away from the donut box during meetings, ensures your visits to the porcelain thrown are pleasant, and traps fat in your gut so you can’t absorb it. One kind of fiber, called soluble fiber, is particularly good at lowering cholesterol. Beans, oats, barley, fruits and vegetables are sources of soluble fibre. A great way to start a low cholesterol diet is with a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast.
Sweet potatoes and other potatoesLegumesBeans (pinto beans, black beans, garbanzo beans)CarrotsBrussels sproutsBeetsOkraEggplantBerriesPassion fruitOrangesPearsApricotsNectarinesApples
Eat less saturated fat
Sticking your fork into steak and potatoes dripping with butter puts a lot of saturated fat and cholesterol into your body. Put some fish on your fork instead. Try salmon, halibut, trout or sardines. These fish are rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, known to help lower blood triglycerides. From time to time, opt for poultry or shelled mollusks (oysters, mussels, scallops) as they are lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than beef, pork, lamb and veal. Of note, palm oil, coconut oil and dairy products are also sources of saturated fat and cholesterol.
Avoid trans fats
Eating saturated fats is linked to heart disease. But, fewer know that trans fats are even more strongly linked. These terribly unhealthy fats can be found in fried and packaged foods. Watch for food packages containing the ingredient ‘partially hydrogenated fat’, a sure sign it contains trans fats. Skip processed foods that come in a package and eat whole foods instead – fresh whole foods are delicious way to start a low cholesterol diet.
Drop some weight (and the sugar)
Simple sugars, such as those added to processed and packaged foods (flavoured coffees, cereal, soda pop, baked goods) are linked with higher LDL cholesterol. There’s nothing sweet about that! Losing excess weight can help improve your cholesterol profile as well as lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, gout and many types of cancer. Psst! Here’s the secret to losing weight.
Try psyllium or plant sterols
Psyllium husks are seed grains commonly sold as a powdered supplement and laxative. Studies have shown taking a teaspoon of psyllium powder supplement mixed in water, no more than 15 to 30 minutes before a meal, has a cholesterol-lowering benefit. In some plants, such as wheat germ, almonds and Brussel sprouts, there are helpful nutrients called sterols. A daily intake of 1 to 2 grams of a plant sterol supplement has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol levels.
A proven way to lower your cholesterol quickly
You can lower your cholesterol levels as much as 23% in just three weeks. How? When researchers looked at the cholesterol levels of over 4,500 men and women who followed the Pritikin Program, which they learned at the Pritikin Longevity Center, the heart-healthy living skills helped them drastically lower their LDL cholesterol levels. In fact, not just LDL cholesterol decreased, so did the other forms of bad cholesterol, known as non-HDL cholesterol. Here’s the complete Pritikin Program for lowering cholesterol with little or no medication, including recipes and 5-day meal plan: The Ultimate Guide for Lowering LDL Cholesterol Naturally.