Healthy Foods That Help Us Lower Cholesterol
The daily health news always seems to be filled with commentary on cholesterol, telling us how to reduce it to protect our bodies from a heart attack or stroke. You may have run into this in your annual checkup as the doctor reviews your numbers and tells you your cholesterol numbers are up. Reducing that number can lead to prescribing statins to lower cholesterol, or not. That opens up a whole new discussion as health experts debate the merits and possible drawbacks of statins.
If these are current questions for you start with your doctor to work through your individual situation, and find the healthiest answer.
There is an option everyone loves – healthy foods
HarvardHealth tells us there are some simple, easy choices that will reduce cholesterol and be appealing mealtime choices at your house. Oats can be cooked with raisins and cinnamon and served piping hot, or show up in oat based cold cereals. Either way they can give you one or two grams of fiber that you can up with fruits like strawberries or bananas. You can also make oatmeal and raisin cookies or bake apricot and oat muffins.
Beans are a natural to serve as black bean tacos or soups. They can also be chickpeas turned into a tangy hummus dip, or kidney beans mixed with green beans and white beans, peppers and onions to make a salad. Whatever you choose, the healthy fiber will keep you satisfied longer and reduce cholesterol.
Nuts are an easy stand in for fat loaded chips at snack time. Eating two ounces a day helps lower cholesterol to protect the heart. Choose almonds, walnuts, peanuts and pistachios.
HarvardHealth also suggests including foods filled with sterols and stanols that are now being added to margarine, granola bars, orange juice and chocolate as another way to reduce our cholesterol.
Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and herring should show up in your diet two or three times a week to reduce cholesterol and replace the saturated fats in meats. The fatty fish provide Omega-3s that reduce triglyceride fats in the bloodstream, and protect the heart helping to prevent abnormal heart rhythms.
HarvardHealth tells us to cut back on saturated fat in red meat, milk, coconut and palm oils and other dairy like yogurt. Choose low fat or skim over whole milk and opt for olive oil in place of vegetable oils or butter, and bake instead of fry fish and chicken.
Finally they warn against transfats found in solid margarines, shortening and many processed supermarket foods like cookies, chips and pastries. Trans fats lower our good cholesterol and rev up inflammation in the body, increasing the risk of blood clots.
Wherever you are in the war on cholesterol, the more you know about it the better choices you can make. One of the easiest ones might be choosing from the healthy foods like oats, beans and nuts, and then finding the best fresh sources and the most tempting recipes.
As you consider diet changes, always start with your physician.