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High cholesterol increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart disease and stroke. Making a few adjustments to your diet can help lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol and increase your “good” HDL cholesterol.
If you are already taking medicine, changes in your diet can increase the power of cholesterol-lowering medications and your doctor may direct you to reduce the dose.
“As you make lifestyle changes, everything starts to change and the improvements you see at 6 weeks often increase in 3 months“Cardiologist Suzanne Steinbaum in charge of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City tells WebMD.
Foods to eat and foods to limit to lower cholesterol
1. Increase your fiber intake
Soluble fiber can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream. The best sources of fiber are whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, and nuts. Soluble fiber foods include oatmeal, nuts, beans, lentils, apples, and blueberries.
2. Reduce the consumption of saturated fat
The American Heart Association warns that eating foods that contain saturated fat raises your blood cholesterol level. These types of fats are mainly found in red meat and whole dairy products.. Some vegetable oils like coconut oil, palm oil, and palm oil are also high in saturated fat.
The AHA suggests opting for lean meats and poultry without skin and cooking them without saturated fat; too recommends trying to replace some of the meat with beans or legumes.
3. Avoid trans fats
Trans fats increase overall cholesterol levels. Trans fats generally appear on food labels as “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.” The Food and Drug Administration in the United States has banned the use of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
4. Opt for olive oil
Substitute olive oil for saturated fats like butter or mayonnaise in cooking, salads, and other dishes. The AHA notes that swapping unhealthy fats for good fats like olive oil can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
5. Eat nuts
Walnuts are an excellent source of heart-healthy fats, they are also a source of protein and fiber. Consuming a half cup of walnuts a day can lower bad cholesterol levels, according to a study published in the AHA journal Circulation.
6. Eat fatty fish
Fish is a healthy alternative to red meat. Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, and herring are the largest source of omega-3 fatty acids. Mayo Clinic explains that omega-3 fatty acids do not affect LDL cholesterol. But they have other benefits for heart health, including lowering blood pressure. Eating fatty fish can increase your life expectancy by almost five years.
7. Spice up your meals
Various studies indicate that spices such as garlic, curcumin, ginger, black pepper, and cinnamon not only add spice to your food, they can also help lower cholesterol, according to reviews presented to the American Society for Nutrition (ASN). ) this 2021.
Exercising, not smoking, moderating alcohol consumption, and managing stress will also help improve cholesterol levels.
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