How to Lower Cholesterol Naturally Through Food

foods that lower cholesterol

When it comes to eating well for our hearts, everyone can start making better choices. The sad part is, most people don’t change their poor eating habits until after they start having heart pain, a heart attack or stroke. To be fair, I enjoy going for burgers and eggs benedict too, but I gotta tell you, working in a hospital has changed me for life. It shows me that the 80/20 rule is really important in life and when it comes to eating. It teaches me to make good food choices 80% of the time and save indulgences for the remaining 20%. Because no matter what anyone else tells you, having a heart attack or stroke will scare the living daylights out of you, and those you love and care about you.

Poor eating habits, abdominal obesity, stress, and physically inactivity are all risk factors that contribute to increased cholesterol. High cholesterol levels can lead to heart attack and stroke. If you have high cholesterol, or are on the high end of normal range, I’m glad you’re here because it means you’re interested in learning how to lower your cholesterol naturally through food. After all, who likes taking medications?

The Basics of Heart Health

  • Cholesterol is a waxy substance that carries fat through the blood for storage, and is involved in hormone production.
  • Our liver makes 80% of the cholesterol in our body; 20% comes from the food we eat.
  • There are two types of cholesterol:
    • LDL (lousy) leads to plaque build up and blockage in blood vessels.
    • HDL (healthy) helps remove LDL built up in arteries.
  • Food sources of cholesterol include egg yolks, organ meats, squid, shrimp, prawns, and whole fat dairy, including whole milk and high milk fat cheeses.

 

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Foods that Lower Cholesterol

  • Increase your dietary fibre intake by choosing whole grain breads, pastas, and cereals

  • Having more than 5 servings of vegetables and fruit each day as per the Canada’s Food Guide serving sizes to increase your intake of beneficial phytochemicals

  • Enjoy more vegetarian protein foods such as beans, legumes, lentils, tofu and other soy products

How to Lower Cholesterol without Medication*

 

  • Decreasing your overall intake of fat, especially saturated fat. For a 2000 calorie diet, consuming less than 16 grams of saturated fat a day can lower LDL cholesterol levels by 16%.
  • Cut down on high cholesterol foods such as organ meats, squid, shrimp, and prawns
  • Switch solid fats such as butter and hydrogentated margarine to liquid oils (canola, olive, grapeseed, hemp, flax, & walnut), or soft margarine (non-hydrogenated)
  • Trim the visible fat off of your meats and choose skinless poultry and leaner cuts of red meat with less marbling (white fat streaks that run across the meat)
  • Limit egg yolks to no more than 2 per week
  • Choose lower fat milk (skim, 1%, or 2%), cheese (20% milk fat or less), sour cream (low fat or 0%), and replace cream with evaporated milk

How to Lower Triglycerides Naturally

  • Omega 3s can lower triglycerides, improve cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heart beat) and reduce the stickiness of our blood platelets (which helps our blood to flow nicely)
  • Increase your omega-3 fatty acid intake by eating 2-3 servings of fatty fish per week
  • Ask your doctor about taking a fish oil supplement instead if you’re not a fan of fish

 

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How to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally

  • Limit your salt intake to less than 2000mg per day. That’s just under 1 teaspoon a day.
  • Take the salt shaker off the dining table and stop using it at restaurants
  • Switch your favorite salt-containing seasonings for salt substitutes such as Mrs.Dash
  • Eating out?
    • Ask for unsalted fries (trust me, your fries will ALWAYS be piping hot and fresh because they had to make a fresh batch for you).
    • Better yet, switch your side of fries for a salad
    • Ask for sauces and dressings on the side and use sparingly
  • Increase your physical activity and lose weight, if you are overweight