It seems as we get older, we have to take more and more pills, but diet can play an important role in living healthier and happier lives. These 5 foods can lower your cholesterol and improve your heart health. A few simple changes to your diet and exercise routine can make a big difference in your overall health.
1. High Fiber foods, Oatmeal, Oat Bran.
These foods contain soluble fiber which will reduce the LDL or bad cholesterol. The Mayo Clinic recommends eating 5 to 10 grams of fiber a day to decrease your LDL. Other foods high in fiber are Kidney beans, apples, pears, barley, prunes, bananas, and other fruit.
- Fish and Omega-3 fatty acids
Eating fish can reduce your blood pressure and lowers the risk of developing blood clots. Fish oil has been shown to reduce the risk of sudden death for those that have already had a heart attack. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish a week. The best fish for this are Mackerel, Lake Trout, Herring, Sardines, Albacore Tuna, Salmon, and Halibut.
- Almonds, Walnuts and other nuts
Nuts are full of polyunsaturated fatty acids that help keep blood vessels healthy. Eating 1.5 ounces a day may reduce the risk of heart disease. Just make sure they aren’t smothered in salt or sugar. You might try topping your salad with almonds instead of cheese.
- Olive Oil
Olive oil has a powerful mix of antioxidants that lowers the LDL cholesterol and leaves the HDL cholesterol untouched. You might want to change from vegetable oil to olive oil when sautéing your vegetables. Or make your own salad dressing by mixing it with vinegar. Use Extra-Virgin olive oil in lieu of light olive oils as it contains more heart-healthy antioxidants.
- Foods with plant sterols or stanols
Read the labels and you will find many foods that have been fortified with sterols. Some margarines, orange juice, and yogurts have added plant sterols. It takes about 2 eight ounce glasses of orange juice daily to have enough plant sterols to see results. These foods actually help block the absorption of LDL’s.
For these changes to actually make a significant impact on your health, it is a good idea to make some other changes like cutting back on saturated and trans fats, getting daily exercise, and getting your weight to a healthy level.