Do you struggle to keep your cholesterol levels in check? Elevated levels of LDL cholesterol (the bad variety) has been linked to heart disease, artery disease and stroke. When your cholesterol levels rise, plaque begins to build up inside the arteries, restricting blood flow and inhibiting the cells’ normal function.
Eliminate Trans Fats
Whether you suffer from high cholesterol or not, you should eliminate most if not all sources of trans fat from your diet. Trans fat is unique in the sense that it lowers HDL cholesterol levels while simultaneously raising LDL levels. The double punch it packs can have severe consequences on a person’s health, especially those suffering from existing cholesterol problems.
Note: according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), further reducing trans fat in food will save up to 7,000 heart disease related deaths and 20,000 heart attack deaths per year (source).
Cut Back on Red Meat
Because red meat is loaded in dietary cholesterol, it’s recommended that people with high LDL cholesterol limit their intake. It’s important to note that dietary cholesterol doesn’t necessarily translate into cholesterol levels within the body. However, consuming too much red meat – or any other food high in dietary cholesterol – can increase your LDL levels. There’s nothing wrong with an occasional burger, but you focus more on lean meats like chicken and fish.
Eat More Fiber
A high-fiber diet will naturally lower your cholesterol levels. Fiber acts as a broom, so to speak, sweeping plague out of the arteries. Federal guidelines state that men between the ages of 18 and 50 should consume 30 to 38 grams of fiber a day, whereas women of the same age should consume 25 grams a day.
Some excellent sources of fiber include:
- Sweet potatoes
A study conducted by researchers at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid found that people who consumed a supplement containing the grape extract found in red wine experienced a 9-12% decrease in their LDL levels. How is red wine able to accomplish this? Researchers believe it’s the antioxidant content found within the grapes. These plant-based compounds thin the blood while fighting free radicals.
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