What Are Some Good Foods to Eat for Healthy Cholesterol Levels?
High fiber vegetable source foods are best for a cholesterol lowering diet. This includes beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. In addition to fiber, all of these have natural phytochemicals (plant chemicals) which are beneficial to your heart health and your overall well-being.
Use beans and whole grain recipes for dinner to substitute the protein you would normally get from animal meat. This greatly reduces the amount of animal fat and cholesterol you take in, which is an automatic plus for your heart. On top of that, both beans and whole grains are very fiber-rich.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Cold water fish like salmon and tuna, flax seeds, and walnuts are great sources of heart healthy Omega 3 fatty acids. These natural fatty acids are proven to help lower cholesterol. Keeping these foods in your diet are a must, but they should all be eaten with moderation.
Look for “Good” Fats
Utilize olive oil as one of your main sources of fat. Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat, which means it is naturally good for your heart. Avoid solid fats like butter and lard as often as possible, because they are saturated fats. Saturated fats are often partially to blame for weight gain and high cholesterol. Olive oil, however, has been proven to help lower cholesterol.
Spice it up with herbs and spices instead of salt and other sodium- or fat-rich seasonings. Herbs and spices can be just as effective, and often give you a wider range of flavors. There are countless combinations to pick from to fit any taste!
Be Smart About Dairy
Cut down on the amount of cheese you consume. This can be a large source of saturated fat consumed in a day. If you still want to include it, try going for fat-free or skim-milk options. Normally, the difference between whole cheeses and low-fat options are small.
Be Smart About Processed Flours and Sugar
Eat less white flour and sugar, which can increase insulin secretion thereby increasing cholesterol production. Whole grains are not only a source beneficial fiber as stated above, but are lower in harmful sugars and have less empty calories. You get even more benefits for fewer drawbacks.
Learn how to make a healthier butter by mixing Nutrim with your butter. Watch the video recipe available on our website by following this link http://www.oathealth.com/video-recipes/heart_healthy_nutrim_butter .
- carrots and humus
- any whole fruit
- black bean and corn salsa (loaded with beans and corn)
- unsalted trail mix with nuts, seeds, and dried fruits
- celery sticks and almond butter
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. It is also one of the main causes of death in Canada and is killing more and more people throughout the world. Learning the ins and outs of this disease now can help you avoid major health problems down the road.
Dietary advice for reducing heart disease risk includes eating a balanced diet with less saturated fat from red meats, more fresh fruits and vegetables, more fish, less sugar, more fiber and for many people, fewer total calories. Then you can make your heart and the rest of your cardiovascular system even healthier by adding more of these foods:
Fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids that protect your heart by reducing both inflammation and the risk of blood clots. These fats also work to keep your cholesterol levels healthy. Eat salmon or other oily ocean fish like tuna, sardines or herring at least two times per week. For a heart-healthy meal, try grilled salmon steaks with a green vegetable and a side salad with a sprinkling of lemon juice instead of high-calorie salad dressing.
Olive oil reduces your risk of heart disease by lowering your LDL cholesterol levels. Choose olive oil for cooking, or make a nice dip for whole grain bread by pouring a bit of olive oil in a small bowl and add a bit of balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of oregano.
Oats contain a soluble fiber called beta glucan that helps reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Soluble fiber also helps keep your digestive system healthy. Enjoy oatmeal with just a small amount of brown sugar and plenty of strawberries and walnuts for breakfast. Cold cereals made with oats are also great with low-fat milk or soy milk plus slices of fresh fruit.
Apples contain a phytochemical called quercetin which acts as an antiinflammatory and will help prevent blood clots as well. Apples contain vitamins and fiber, come in several delicious varieties and are portable. Eat an apple with a handful of walnuts or almonds as a healthy snack or add apple slices to your healthy salads. Apples are very versatile, and their fiber content helps to make them filling.
Almonds and other nuts contain healthy oils, vitamin E and other substances that will help keep cholesterol levels in check. Almonds are also a good source of protein and fiber. Almonds make a great snack on their own, or sprinkle slivered almonds on green beans or asparagus with lemon juice as a deliciously healthy side dish. The possibilities with the beneficial nut are practically endless.
Red wine contains a powerful antioxidant called resveratrol. Resveratrol has been shown to be good for your heart. Be sure to enjoy red wine in moderation. While studies show that only 4 to 8 ounces of red wine is needed each day, it can be a healthy way to add elegance to a meal.
Whole grains provide vitamins and fiber that will help to keep your heart healthy. Make a deliciously healthy sandwich with two slices of 100-percent whole-grain bread, three ounces of lean turkey breast, lots of sliced tomatoes and avocado, plus lettuce and a bit of low-fat mustard. Switch from white pasta to whole grain pasta too. Whole grain pastas are just as versatile and delicious as white pastas, but the benefits are much higher.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Green leafy vegetables contain folate, which helps to keep homocysteine levels down, and vitamin E. Green leafy vegetables have also been associated with better retention of memory as age. Try using fresh spinach leaves or other greens for your favorite salad instead of iceberg lettuce. Another benefit of these is that many of them are good sources of fiber, which is always good to incorporate in a healthy diet.
Tomatoes are packed with vitamins and lycopene, which has been shown to reduce heart disease risk. Add thick slices of tomatoes to sandwiches and salads or enjoy low-sodium tomato sauce on whole wheat pasta. In fact, cooked tomato sauce and canned tomato sauce that you buy in the store both contain more lycopene than raw tomatoes. Be sure to try and find low-sodium options, though, because tomato products can often be very high in sodium.
Soy protein has been shown to prevent heart attacks and soy makes an excellent protein substitute for red meat, which will reduce your saturated fat intake. Add tofu to your favorite stir fry or pour soy milk on your morning cereal. Soy is rich in isoflavones, which are very helpful in regulating cholesterol levels and improving heart health. Soy is also very versatile, and can be eaten as meat replacement, in beverages, or as a snack in the form of soy nuts.
Here are your best bets for eating well. These 10 health foods are some of the healthiest because they meet at least three of the following criteria:
-good or excellent source of fiber
-vitamins, minerals and other nutrients,
-high in phytonutrients and antioxidant compounds, such as vitamins A and E and beta carotene
-help reduce the risk of heart disease and other health conditions,
-low in calorie density, meaning you get a larger portion size with a fewer number of calories
Why eat almonds? These tear-shaped nuts are packed with nutrients — fiber, riboflavin, magnesium, iron and calcium. In fact, almonds have more calcium than any other nut — 75 milligrams (mg) in one serving (about 23 almonds). Also, one serving of almonds provides half of your body’s Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin E.
Like all nuts, almonds provide one of the best plant sources of protein. And they’re good for your heart. Most of the fat in almonds is monounsaturated fat — a healthier type of fat that may help lower blood cholesterol levels.
Why eat apples? Apples are an excellent source of pectin, a soluble fiber that can lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Fresh apples are also good sources of vitamin C — an antioxidant that protects your body’s cells from damage. Vitamin C also helps form the connective tissue collagen, keeps your capillaries and blood vessels healthy, and aids in the absorption of iron.
Why eat blueberries? Blueberries are a rich source of plant compounds (phytonutrients). As with cranberries, phytonutrients in blueberries may help prevent urinary tract infections. Blueberries may also improve short-term memory and promote healthy aging.
Blueberries are also a low-calorie source of fiber and vitamin C — 1 cup of fresh blueberries has 84 calories, 3.6 grams of fiber and 14 mg of vitamin C.
Why eat broccoli? Besides being a good source of calcium, potassium, folate and fiber, broccoli contains phytonutrients — a group of compounds that may help prevent chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Broccoli is also a good source of vitamins A and C — antioxidants that protect your body’s cells from damage.
Why eat red beans? Red beans — including small red beans and dark red kidney beans — are good sources of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and thiamin. They’re also an excellent low-fat, low-calorie source of protein and dietary fiber. Red beans also contain phytonutrients that may help prevent chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Why eat salmon? Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids — a type of fat that makes your blood less likely to form clots that may cause heart attacks. Omega-3s may also protect against irregular heartbeats that may cause sudden cardiac death, decrease triglyceride levels, decrease the growth of artery-clogging plaques, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke.
In addition to being an excellent source of omega-3s, salmon is low in saturated fat and cholesterol and is a good source of protein.
Why eat spinach? Spinach is high in vitamins A and C and folate. It’s also a good source of riboflavin, vitamin B-6, calcium, iron and magnesium. The plant compounds in spinach may boost your immune system and may help keep your hair and skin healthy.
Why eat sweet potatoes? The deep orange-yellow color of sweet potatoes tells you that they’re high in the antioxidant beta carotene. Food sources of beta carotene, which are converted to vitamin A in your body, may help slow the aging process and reduce the risk of some cancers. Sweet potatoes are also good sources of fiber, vitamins B-6, C and E, folate and potassium. And like all vegetables, they’re fat-free and relatively low in calories — one small sweet potato has just 54 calories.
Why drink vegetable juice? Vegetable juice has most of the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients found in the original vegetables and is an easy way to include vegetables in your diet. Tomato juice and vegetable juices that include tomatoes are good sources of lycopene, an antioxidant that may reduce the risk of heart attack, prostate cancer and possibly other types of cancer. Some vegetable and tomato juices are very high in sodium, so be sure to select the low-sodium varieties.
Why eat wheat germ? At the center of a grain of wheat is the wheat germ — the part of the seed that’s responsible for the development and growth of the new plant sprout. Though only a small part of the wheat seed, the germ is a highly concentrated source of nutrients, including niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin E, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron and zinc. The germ also contains protein, fiber and some fat.
The most well known nutrient that has been show to help lower blood cholesterol is soluble fiber. Foods that are high in soluble fiber are: oats, oatmeal, barley, beans, peas, barley, strawberries, apple pulp, rice bran and citrus fruits.
|Soluble fiber*||Whole grains, oat bran, barley, peas, beans (all types, especially soy), nuts||Lowers LDL and improves ratio of LDL to HDL|
|Niacin* (if LDL levels are already high, supplements may be necessary to reduce levels)||Salmon, tuna, chicken, calf liver, halibut, asparagus, crimini mushrooms||Helps decrease the body’s production and increase its elimination of cholesterol, prevents oxidation of LDL and can increase levels of HDL cholesterol|
|Vitamin E*||Swiss chard, sunflower seeds, spinach, kale, mustard greens, almonds, walnuts||Helps prevent prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol|
|Vitamin C*||Citrus fruits, broccoli, red bell peppers, kale, Brussels sprouts, kiwifruit||Helps prevent the oxidation of cholesterol|
Flavonoids, including naringenin
|Citrus fruits, especially grapefruit||Lowers LDL and triglycerides|
|Beta carotene*||Carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, kale||Helps prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol|
|Polyphenols, including pterostilbene||
Cranberries, grapes, blueberries,
|Help prevent oxidation of cholesterol and increase levels of HDL cholesterol|
Sesame, pumpkin, sunflower seeds
Help lower cholesterol
Lowers LDL cholesterol
Lowers LDL, increases HDL cholesterol
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