Does everything that is good for us have to taste bad? Does our heart health depend solely on a bland, boring diet? What about all of my favorites?
Unfortunately, many of our favorite foods are contributing culprits to high cholesterol. But there is good news! Some foods actually lower cholesterol.
First, find out your cholesterol and be mindful to being healthy. At what level is your cholesterol too high? According to the American Heart Association,
• less than 200 mg/dL is considered healthy a cholesterol level.
• 240 and higher mg/dL is unhealthy.
Here are the top five foods for lowering cholesterol recommended by the Mayo Clinic:
1. Oatmeal and Oat Bran
This is a great way to start your day and a better alternative to that bacon and eggs or sugary cereal option. Since fiber is a key component in preventing cholesterol. Oatmeal contains soluble fiber which works to fight gains LDL cholesterol (known as the “bad” cholesterol.
2. Walnuts and Almonds
These nuts are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids which help cholesterol levels. Sprinkle a few nuts on your salad at lunch time or keep walnuts and almonds on hand as a snack alternative.
3. Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Salmon, mackerel and albacore tuna all have omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 helps the body in many ways, including lowering cholesterol. Tuna or salmon on a salad are easily available in most restaurants. Or an albacore tuna sandwich on whole grain bread would make a convenient lunch at your desk or on the run even on the busiest day.
4. Olive oil
Choose olive oil over canola, vegetable or other readily available oils. Olive oil contains antioxidants that lower LDL cholesterol. Create your own dressings at home or sprinkle olive oil over your salad as an alternative to canola oil and chemical laced bottled dressings. Cook with olive oil paying attention to the heat level which can change its taste. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) recommends two tablespoons of olive oil per day.
5. Foods with Plant Sterols or Stanols
Sterol and stanol are substances in plants which naturally prevent the absorption of cholesterol into our bodies. Some manufactured foods are now being fortified with sterols and stanols (margarines, orange juice and yogurt drinks). You can find the natural substance in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes.
It is good news that foods that are good for us and actually help a potentially harmful condition are readily available to us.
Eat healthy, stay healthy and incorporate these cholesterol busters into your diet routine.