When it comes to cholesterol it is important to recognize that there are two types: LDL and HDL. The LDL cholesterol has been coined “bad” cholesterol, as it is the kind that has been found to increase the risks of heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. The HDL cholesterol has been nicknamed the “good” cholesterol as it has been shown to lower risks of heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.
Being diagnosed with high cholesterol can be scary, but the good news is that there are many ways to reduce cholesterol levels. While some doctors recommend medications, there are still other alternatives to bring those down
For many people being overweight can increase cholesterol, therefore embarking on a weight loss plan can help to reduce these numbers. Additionally, exercise has been found to increase the HDL or “good” cholesterol, to reduce your risk factors for heart disease. It is also important to be familiar with family history, as cholesterol and heart disease is often hereditary. Being familiar with this early on can help one to be better prepared about ways to reduce their risk factors.
Eating too much saturated fat and cholesterol itself can result in an elevated cholesterol. Making dietary changes can dramatically reduce these levels. Some of these foods help provide soluble fiber to the body, which binds to cholesterol particles and flushes them out, meanwhile, other foods actually block the body from absorbing cholesterol. And yet others contain polyunsaturated fat, which work to directly lower your LDL’s.
So what dietary changes can one make to reduce their cholesterol?
The good news is that there are many food options that are not only delicious, but can help to reduce cholesterol levels at the same time. Take a look at some foods below and see how to work them into your diet:
Bran or Whole Grains – Adding high-fiber, bran or whole grain cereals and breads will help to lower cholesterol. These foods will increase the soluble fiber in the diet, helping to lower the risks of heart disease.
Oats – Hot oatmeal, overnight cold oatmeal or using oats in baking are all great ways to add anywhere from 2-5 grams of soluble fiber to your diet.
Fish – Adding fish to your diet will provide omega-3s which have been shown to be protective of your heart. Salmon, albacore tuna and herring all provide great sources of the omega-3s.