One of the most important aspects of maintaining a healthy heart and cardiovascular system is to maintain a healthy ratio of healthy HDL Cholesterol to unhealthy LDL Cholesterol. As research continues to grow, it appears vitally important to maintain a healthy and controlled ratio between the two forms of cholesterol in order to preserve one's health.
There's no reason to abandon flavor when taking the steps to improve one's health, however. Let's talk about 15 foods that can help you get your cholesterol under control while also not sacrificing your precious palate!
Dark Chocolate is Good for You!
Most people are confused when they talk about chocolate. It is true that milk chocolate is loaded with fat and sugar, but dark chocolate has much more concentrated nutrients, and is also chock-full of anti-oxidants known as flavonoids which help keep LDL Cholesterol Levels under control.
Of course, it's important to recognize that dark chocolate is still a treat best enjoyed in small doses, because is still contains much sugar and saturated fat. If you are interested in infusing your meals or deserts with dark chocolate, you can buy unsweetened dark cocoa at the grocery store and include it among your ingredients in order to experience the same great benefits.
Avocados Control Cholesterol
Avocados have been a popular health food for a number of years now, but one of the particular ways that they are highly beneficial is that they are a potent source of a nutrient known as oleic acid, which has the ability to control the concentrations of LDL Cholesterol in the cardiovascular system.
The great thing about avocados is that they are easy to add to a number of meals. They go great with salads and sandwiches, and are a staple of Mexican cuisine. Many people also don't realize that Avocado oil can be a wonderful substitute for other heart-healthy vegetable oils, and can provide its nutrients by infusing your meal with a sweet and understated flavor.
A Glass of Red Wine Can Keep Your Cholesterol in Check
Resveratrol is an antioxidant that is contained in a number of foods, most notably however, in dark fruits such as red grapes and blackberries. Red wine is a concentrated source of resveratrol due to the method by which wine is produced.
There is a growing body of evidence that shows that red wine can improve cholesterol balance, as well as improve cardiovascular health by improving circulation and mitigating the chance of developing blood clots. Unfortunately, alcohol does come with its own issues and side effects when abused, so in order for the benefits of red wine to outweigh the issues related to the abuse of alcohol it is important to engage in moderation.
Green and Black Tea are Concentrated Sources of Antioxidants
In America, many people have fostered an obsession with soda, which has had a very negative effect on the health of our nation. A great way to experience the benefits of caffeine in combination with health-enriching flavonoids is to drink plenty of green or black tea. Black tea is great if you are looking for a healthy and responsible source of caffeine in combination, but green tea contains much higher levels of flavonoids. We recommend drinking black tea earlier in the day and green tea later in the day, so that caffeine doesn't interfere with your sleeping habits. Be smart with sweeteners, however!
Nuts Help Control Cholesterol
Nuts are one of the best sources of polyunsaturated fatty acids which help elevate your HDL Cholesterol and suppress your LDL Cholesterol. Some of the best sources are pistachios, walnuts, and almonds. They make a great between-meal snack, and a good way to add healthy fat to a salad.
Of course, you want to choose nuts that are low in salt, because too much salt can negatively impact blood pressure. It's also important to not overeat nuts, because they are densely nutritious and good for cholesterol, but they also contain a lot of calories. We recommend about one and a half ounces, the equivalent of a third of a cup of almonds.
Whole Grains Control Blood Sugar and Cholesterol
One of the big issues with the American diet is that we have forgone the complex foods that we once ate for their highly processed alternatives. And nowhere is this more the case than with grain. Brown rice, oatmeal, and barley are high in soluble fiber, which balances cholesterol levels because it slows down the volume of LDL Cholesterol that the digestive system is able to draw from the diet.
Most people are on the right track, but simply choose the wrong types of grains. Instead of white rice, choose brown rice. Instead of your regular old pasta, turn to whole grain pasta. If you are a fan of oatmeal, add apples and bananas to your breakfast, or other fruits that are very high in fiber.
Cold-Water Fish High in Healthy Fats
Part of maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is including potent sources of Omega-Three Fatty Acids, and cold-water fish are one of the best sources for these nutrients. Some great options available are halibut, sardines, tuna, and salmon. In order to get the ideal benefits, you need to include about eight ounces of these fish to your diet each week. Remember that the way you cook your food is just as important as the food you eat. We definitely don't recommend frying your fish.
Heart-Healthy Oils for Balanced Cholesterol
If you are having issues with your cholesterol balance, this is a sign that you are eating too much fat from animal sources as compared to plant sources. Olive oil and canola oil are awesome alternatives for lard and butter which can help you balance your meal while adding wonderful texture to your foods.
If you are looking for a good salad dressing, we recommend ditching the standard unhealthy dressings and simply drizzle your salad with olive oil and add some low-calorie flavors to supplement the oil, such as black pepper, chopped garlic, or red wine vinegar.
Soy Can Keep Your Heart Healthy
A good balance of protein vs. fat is a an effective way to balance cholesterol. One great way to do this is to include natural soy products into your daily routine. For example, twenty-five grams of tofu, soy milk, or edamame can reduce your cholesterol by five to six percent. These are all highly versatile snacks. Tofu can be an excellent substitute for meat in many dishes, soy milk can replace regular milk, and edamame makes a good snack or an excellent salad topping!
Of course, just because “soy” is in the name doesn't mean that it's the right choice. Soy sauce, for example, is exceptionally high in salt, and should be used very sparingly, if at all. Also, men are recommended not to over-indulge in soy products, because it can have an inhibitive effect upon Testosterone, though not at reasonable levels of consumption.
Beans Improve Cholesterol Balance
Beans, as a class of food, are all very good at balancing and preserving healthy cholesterol. This is because all forms of beans contain exceptional levels of soluble fiber, which has the ability to circulate through the blood stream and absorb free cholesterol, after which it is filtered from the body. Research shows that five ounces of beans each day has the ability to drop LDL Cholesterol by around five percent.
Beans are also highly versatile and varied, and you can choose your bean based on your taste and your meal. Make hummus dip to eat with baked pita chips or fresh veggies. Make a burrito with black beans and lean chicken. There are even breads available with beans as a primary ingredient!
Fiber-Rich Fruits Lower Bad Cholesterol
We've already mentioned bananas and apples in passing, but there are a wide variety of fruits which are capable of having a positive impact on your cholesterol balance. Some excellent examples are berries, lemons, oranges, pears, and apples. Apples are great if you are looking for a low-calorie, high density fiber source. Berries are good if you want to add flavonoids, and citrus fruits are a potent source of Vitamin C!
Eat Your Veggies for Healthy Cholesterol!
This may come as no surprise to you, but vegetables are incredibly healthy for you, and this includes for your cholesterol! Vegetables are awesome because, among any foods that you eat, they provide the most nutrition with the lowest calorie content, and they all contain a high concentration of fiber. Vegetables high in soluble fiber include cucumbers, mushrooms, carrots, celery, okra, and eggplant. Vegetables high in insoluble fiber include dark, leafy vegetables, onions, cabbage, celery, and zucchini.
Many Fortified Foods Are Designed Specially for Your Cholesterol Health
Anyone that eats a healthy diet knows how important it is to include fresh sources of various nutrients to one's diet, but there's nothing wrong with supplementing your diet with fortified options which can also provide significant benefits. Many of these supplements are perfectly natural, including supplements which contain plant sterols. These are nutrients in many plant products which have the ability to inhibit the absorption of cholesterol.
These days, there are a wide variety of foods that contain plant sterols, from juices to yogurt to granola! Plant sterols are highly effective at reducing cholesterol. Research suggests that the total benefits ranges from six to fifteen percent. It's still important to control your calories, but plant sterols are an important tool at your disposal.
With Time and Diligence, You Can Naturally Improve Your Cholesterol!
There you have it! By following the advice above, we are confident that you can take control of your cholesterol and improve your health. Remember, however, that you should never stop taking cholesterol medication without the recommendation of your general practitioner, but these steps can help you balance your cholesterol, a way to increase your heart health and drastically reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke, and various other conditions which can drastically affect your health, or even your life!
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