With today’s busy lifestyle, more and more people are looking to make positive changes to their diet in order to improve their overall health. Luckily, this is a task that has been made simple, as there have never been as many resources available. Information about food is available through every media – books, magazines, internet sites, mobile apps, and much more. While one may panic when they hear that their cholesterol is high, the good news is that you can reduce your cholesterol naturally in a short time by making some very simple dietary changes.
By making these changes, you will get more nutrition than ever before, reap incredible health benefits for your heart and body, and positive changes to your overall health and wellbeing will occur.
1. Switch to healthier fats: The total amount of fat you eat, whether high or low isn’t really linked with disease. What really matters is the type of fat you eat. The “bad” fats – saturated and trans fats – increase the risk for certain diseases. The “good” fats, however – monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats – lower disease risk. The key to a healthy diet is to include more good fats such as fatty fish, seeds such as flaxseed and seed oils, olive oil, avocados, nuts such as walnuts, macadamia nuts, almonds and also nut butters. Furthermore, it is important to limit saturated fats to a minimum by reducing red meat, dairy, vegetable oils, pastries, cakes, biscuits and fried foods.
2. Omega-3 fatty acids from cold water fatty fish have many benefits for heart health. They have been shown to lower triglycerides, balance cholesterol, regulate heart rate and make blood platelets less sticky, improving overall heart health considerably. Omega-3 fats are found in high amounts in oily fish, and to a lesser degree in nuts and seeds. Whilst making sure that you eat plenty of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines is important for good health, supplementing with a daily dose of high quality omega-3 fish oil such as Eskimo-3 is important for achieving an optimum intake of omega-3.
3. Plant Sterols: Studies have shown that plant sterols can help to reduce cholesterol. As plant sterols are structurally similar to human cholesterol, they help to limit cholesterol absorption in the gut. Plant sterols are present naturally in small quantities in many fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and other plant sources. However, typical western diets supply only around 200 – 400mg plant sterols per day. If you have a raised blood cholesterol level, you will require 2g plant sterols per day to lower your cholesterol. Scientific research has proven that plant sterols can reduce cholesterol by up to 10% in 6 weeks. A new easy way to obtain plant sterols is through Zerochol, a plant sterol food supplement which is available over the counter in health food stores and pharmacies.
4. Soluble fibre: Foods such as oats contain soluble fibre which can reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol by limiting the amount of cholesterol absorbed by your body. Studies have shown that consuming 10 – 25g soluble fibre a day can lower cholesterol by 15%. By including foods such as porridge, oatcakes, fruits (apples, prunes and pears), vegetables, pulses (kidney beans, lentils, and chickpeas), you should be able to obtain the recommended amount of soluble fibre daily.
5. Fruits and vegetables: Eating at least five portions of fruits and vegetables a day will reduce the risk of heart disease possible due to the high amount of antioxidants present in these foods. Antioxidants help prevent the LDL cholesterol from oxidising, which prevents plaque from building up on the insides of the walls of the arteries.
Today, there is an ever-growing body of research showing that the epidemic of diseases associated with the Western diet – cancer, heart disease, depression, and more – might be curtailed simply by modifying our diet and lifestyle choices. So, in order to maintain a healthy heart and body, make these simple dietary changes your first step to lowering your cholesterol.