Good versus Bad Cholesterol
Not all cholesterol in the diet is bad. LDL cholesterol is the unhealthy type of cholesterol. HDL is considered “good” cholesterol and necessary for a healthy diet. Cholesterol is not dissolved in the bloodstream. Cholesterol is carried to and from the body’s cells by lipoproteins. The acronym “LDL” stands for “low-density lipoproteins.” LDL is an unhealthy type of cholesterol because this type of cholesterol is known to build up inside the arteries that flow to the brain and heart. Combined with other substances, LDL can form plaque, which builds up and narrows the arteries. The arteries become smaller and less flexible, inhibiting blood flow to the heart and brain. This condition, atherosclerosis, may result in the formation of a blot clot, causing a stroke or heart attack.
“Good” cholesterol, HDL, on the other hand, protect the body against the formation of blood clots and heart attacks. Some experts believe that HDL actually removes plaque from the arteries. HDL is believe to carry cholesterol away from the heart and toward the liver, where the substance is eliminated from the body. Cholesterol lowering foods are high in HDL and low in LDL cholesterol.
This low cholesterol diet food list provides a reference for foods that will decrease LDL numbers and increase levels of HDL. Many of these cholesterol lowering foods have additional health benefits, as well. Some of the foods actually act as natural fat burners and help with weight loss.
1.) Salmon and Other Cold-Water Fish
Salmon is high in Omega 3 fatty acids and low in LDL and saturated fat. Salmon will not only lower triglyceride and LDL levels, but will also raise HDL levels. Other cold-water fish that are cholesterol lowering foods include albacore tuna, herring, rainbow trout, mackerel, sardines and anchovies.
Many people are aware that avocados contain fat. However, the fat that is contained in avocados is good fat. Avocados contain monosaturated fat that is believe to increase HDL levels and lower LDL levels. In addition, avocados contain beta-sitosterol,a substance believe to actually reduce LDL levels from other foods. You not only get the benefit of consuming a fruit that boosts good cholesterol levels, but you also get the benefit of a delicious cholesterol lowering option that reduces LDLs from other sources.
3.) Almonds, Walnuts and Cashews
Certain nuts promote heart health by lowering LDL levels and providing the body with HDLs. Almonds, walnuts and cashews are all high in monosaturated (good) fat that lowers LDL levels. Walnuts are particularly high in Omega 3 fatty acids, as well. However, when watching your caloric intake, consume nuts in moderation. Slice almonds or chop walnuts to include on salads or vegetables. Consume only 1/4 cup of nuts to control calories while reaping the heart health benefits of nuts.
4.) Hot or Iced Tea
Tea is known to reduce LDL levels by preventing oxidation in the bloodstream. Drink hot or iced tea to help keep the blood vessels and arteries clear. Tea is believe to reduce the formation of plaque on the walls of the arteries. In addition, tea is high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are believed to reduce the occurrence of free radicals and help to prevent the symptoms of premature aging.
5.) Olive Oil
Using olive oil in place of other oils for cooking and salads is an excellent way to lower LDL levels and get antioxidants into your diet, too. If you choose Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or EVOO, the benefits of antioxidants is even greater because the oil has been minimally processed.
Yes, chocolate contains flavonoids, which prevent blood platelets from adhering to one another and forming plaque. In addition, semi-sweet and dark chocolate contain high levels of antioxidants, too. Milk chocolate does contain flavonoids, but enjoy the darker varieties to get the most benefit from three times the antioxidants as milk chocolate. Add chocolate to your low cholesterol diet food list to keep your diet exciting and fun.
Use this low cholesterol diet food list to help you select foods that will improve your cholesterol numbers and keep your heart healthy. You should always try to eat cholesterol lowering foods for heart and brain health. Many of the foods on the list also have fat burning and metabolism-enhancing properties. Consuming these foods will increase your intake of antioxidants while keeping your cholesterol levels in check, too. Protect your heart, burn fat and reduce the symptoms of premature aging with these healthy choices.
MayoClinic.org: Top Five Foods to Lower Your Numbers
Prevention.com: Top 10 Cholesterol-Fighting Foods
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