Changing the daily diet goes a long way in lowering cholesterol levels and reducing the amount of fat in the bloodstream. LDL or bad cholesterol clogs the arteries and increases the risk of heart diseases. So, if you’ve been diagnosed with high cholesterol, you should consume foods that are low in Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Here are a few dietary tips for high cholesterol patients.
1. Eat some nuts and seeds
Nuts contain healthy mega-3 fatty acids fats that should be part of your diet, especially if you want to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. You can enjoy them as a crunchy snack or garnish your pasta and salads with nuts and seeds. It’s best to stock up on the plain variants instead of the salty ones. When buying nut butter, pick products containing only the nuts or nuts and salt, as they are rich sources of omega-3 fats. Although omega-3s do not directly affect the LDL levels, they have phenomenal benefits as they help increase High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol levels, promote heart health, and lower blood pressure.
2. Fill up on fiber
Soluble fiber is present in abundance in whole grains, beans, legumes, apples, citrus, and flax. Our bodies lack the enzymes to break down soluble fiber, so it moves via the digestive tract and absorbs water. When it travels through your gut, soluble fiber absorbs bile, which is mostly cholesterol. Both the fiber and bile are then excreted from the body, and the liver extracts cholesterol from the bloodstream when it needs more bile, naturally reducing blood cholesterol.
An effective dietary tip for people with high cholesterol is the regular consumption of soluble fiber, as it can reduce cholesterol levels by 5 to 10 percent in less than a month. You should add at least 5-10 grams of soluble fiber to your daily diet to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
3. Include vegetable oils in your diet
Opting for liquid vegetable oils, like safflower, sunflower, canola oils, instead of butter or lard can help keep your LDL cholesterol levels in check.
4. Curtail your salt intake
An essential dietary tip for people with high cholesterol is to bring down the sodium intake. You should not consume over 2,300 mg of sodium in a day, which is approximately a teaspoon of salt. So, regardless of the form you choose to eat it in, you should not exceed a teaspoon of salt intake. While reducing your salt intake will not lower your cholesterol levels directly, it reduces your susceptibility to heart diseases by keeping your blood pressure in check. You can lower your sodium intake by opting for “no-added salt” or “low-salt” food items and using herbs and spices to flavor your meals instead of salt.
5. Lower your saturated fat intake
Saturated fats found in full-fat dairy and red meat spike your total cholesterol levels. So, it is vital that you lower the consumption of the sources of saturated fats to reduce LDL or bad cholesterol levels and keep your heart healthy.