Dietary Changes You Need To Make Today To Lower Your Cholesterol
If you’re dealing with high LDL cholesterol, you are definitely not alone. In January of 2020, the CDC reports that over 95 million adults in the US have total cholesterol levels higher than 200 mg/dL. Further, 29 million have total cholesterol higher than 240 mg/dL, putting them at increased risk of heart disease. These are scary-sounding stats, but don’t be alarmed: if you’re dealing with high cholesterol, there are changes you can make to your lifestyle and diet that will help lower cholesterol levels, reduce your risk of heart disease, and give you a better overall quality of life. Here are a few of the key dietary changes you can make today to lower your cholesterol.
Reduce saturated fat intake.
You’ll find saturated fats in foods like red meat or full-fat dairy products: these are troublesome as they increase your LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol that builds up on the walls of your blood vessels and can cause blockages). You can do yourself a big favor by making these food items a “treat” rather than a staple component of your daily diet. Wherever possible, replace red meat with white meat alternatives (try a turkey burger – or even a bean burger – instead of a beef burger, or replace traditional pork sausages with turkey sausage). Try to say goodbye to your 2% milk and replace it with soy or almond milk (skim is even a superior alternative). The good news is you don’t have to avoid these saturated fats entirely: one or two meals a week of red meat is still okay. It’s just important to keep those occasions infrequent.
Eliminate trans-fat intake.
Trans fats, on the other hand, really should go entirely. You’ll see these on food labels as “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil;” they’ve got no nutritional value whatsoever, and they’re terrible for your cholesterol levels. Ditch ‘em: we’re talking about foods like margarine or store-bought cookies, cakes and crackers. Ideally, you’d go without – cookies and cakes simply have no nutritional value and aren’t in any way a part of a healthy diet. But if you must have them (and those of us with a sweet tooth sometimes can’t help it) you’re far better off making these items at home (try googling for low-fat recipes online. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll find – even the gluten-free options are fantastic!).
Increase omega-3 fatty acids and soluble fiber intake.
Omega-3 fatty acids won’t necessarily impact your LDL levels, but they’ve got other incredible health benefits that make them super heart-healthy. They can help reduce blood pressure and can raise levels of “good” (HDL) cholesterol. Studies also show that they may help in combating anxiety and depression and promote strong eye health (just another handful of reasons why these should be a large part of your diet). Find omega-3 fatty acids in fish like salmon, mackerel, or herring, or in nuts like flaxseeds and walnuts. Likewise, soluble fibers found in foods like Brussel sprouts, pears, apples, oatmeal, and kidney beans are powerful, heart-healthy cholesterol combatants. These are shown to reduce the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream. High-fiber foods like these may also help in reducing inflammation and blood pressure.
Be strategic with your alcohol consumption.
The good news is you don’t have to cut out alcohol entirely if you don’t want to. You can get smart with your alcohol consumption and make it work with your health goals. Moderate consumption of some alcohols (no more than two glasses a day of specifically beer or hard liquors) has been proven to slow the decline of your HDL or “good” cholesterol levels. Yet we know that significant consumption of alcohol has a host of health concerns (raised blood pressure and increased risk of heart disease and stroke, to name a few). So if you’re not already consuming alcohol regularly, certainly don’t start. And keep your alcohol consumption in check and intentional.
Contact Body Refined Today
By making these relatively slight dietary changes a part of your everyday nutritional plan, you can take powerful control of your own health and reign in your cholesterol levels in a significant way. Talk to the life coaches at Body Refined: they’re here to help you make a plan that will work with your existing lifestyle while you work to achieve your health and nutritional goals. Weight management, diabetes management, and certainly cholesterol management are all things that you can take control of with the help of Body Refined.
Kurt Dixon is an educated, certified and experienced health consultant who is passionate about helping his client-patients achieve their goals by adjusting their lifestyle to promote a seamless, healthy living. His experience covers healthcare, pharmaceutical, money management, telecommunications & customer service industries. He is also the founder of Body Refined and the Lifestyle Management program, an integrated consortium of measures addressing life balance, eating healthier, physical wellness and career management.