Lower Your Cholesterol With a Plant-Based Diet
There’s a lot of confusion about cholesterol. If you ask the average person whether or not we should consume cholesterol, most would say to avoid it. That’s because cholesterol has a bad reputation for increasing the risk of a heart attack or stroke. While LDL (bad cholesterol) can increase the risk of heart disease, we still need HDL (good cholesterol) for proper bodily function.
Cholesterol is an organic molecule found in animal products, such as meat and eggs. LDL cholesterol can build up and block your arteries, which could lead to a heart attack or stroke. HDL cholesterol helps flush LDL cholesterol out of your system. It also is used to build cell membranes.
What is a Healthy Cholesterol Level?
An ideal cholesterol level is less than 200 mg/dL. Anything higher than that puts you at risk for heart disease. Heart disease is a major killer in the United States. It affects more than 100 million adults and costs the United States over $200 billion a year.
What is a Plant-Based Diet?
As you might have guessed, a plant-based diet consists of mostly foods derived from plants—and it’s not the same as a vegan diet. Plant-based diets were made popular by the release of the 2011 documentary Forks Over Knives.
A plant-based diet is a great way to boost energy levels naturally and manage your cholesterol. Switching to a plant-based diet can help reduce the risk of:
- High cholesterol
- Certain cancers
How to Start a Plant-Based Diet
Adopting a plant-based diet is surprisingly simple. Here are some tips to get you started:
Eat more vegetables – Loading your plate with vegetables is a great way to start getting used to a plant-based diet. Make sure to get a wide variety.
Choose healthy fats – Make sure to grab some healthy fats, such as olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados.
Whole grains in the morning – Starting your day off with whole grains will give you long-lasting energy. Try mixing some berries into your oatmeal or have some whole-wheat toast.
Don’t prioritize meat – Meat is generally the center of the meal and the biggest portion. By switching the focus to plants instead of meat, you’re setting yourself up for success. You can still have meat but in smaller amounts.
Eat more fruit – Fruits are sweet and packed with essential vitamins. They’re great to have for dessert after a nice healthy meal.
Food and Cholesterol
The food we eat is the main driver for raising or lowering our cholesterol levels. When we consume high amounts of animal products, our cholesterol levels can spike up. That’s why switching to a plant-based diet can drastically lower your cholesterol.
Plants don’t contain any cholesterol. They are also low in saturated fats and high in fiber. Fiber can limit the amount of cholesterol produced by the liver. By eating a mostly plant-based diet, you eliminate all of the risks caused by high cholesterol levels.
If you can’t eliminate meat from your diet completely, try starting with red meat. Red meat is higher in fat and cholesterol, as opposed to chicken or fish. However, consuming meat can still cause damage over time, even if it’s white meat. You’re better weaning off meat overtime and eventually adopting a plant-based diet.
Which Are the Best at Lowering Cholesterol?
There are some superfoods that are especially good at lowering cholesterol and helping to manage it after. Consuming these foods have been shown to lower cholesterol in as little as 30 days.
Some examples of these foods are:
- Beans and legumes
- Whole grains
- Dark chocolate
Lowering your cholesterol levels is crucial for avoiding a heart attack or stroke. When life gets in the way, it can be tough to follow a healthy routine. When we get stressed, we often turn to comfort foods.
It’s also difficult to know if you have high cholesterol without a proper blood test. The recommendation is for adults to get their cholesterol levels tested at least once every five years. Early detection can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease.
Body Refined’s mission is to provide all of our members with a personalized cholesterol management program that is both effective and easy to follow. Our team of specialists will aid in developing a plan of action for you or a family member with high cholesterol.
We consult with you on both nutrition and lifestyle choices. Body Refined believes in long-term results. Our team will educate you and your family on the choices you can make to improve your heart health and get you back on track.
It’s essential to start with small changes. You don’t want to try to change your entire life in one day. That will set you up for failure. Gradually improving the way we eat can make the most significant difference. Call today at (844) 899-4846 or ask Skylar, the Body Refined bot, by clicking the message bubble to the bottom right corner of your screen to schedule a consultation to learn more about our cholesterol management services.