Have you been diagnosed with high cholesterol? Since high cholesterol levels, especially the concentration of the bad (LDL) cholesterol, is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, being diagnosed with it is, without doubt, an appropriate moment to reconsider your lifestyle choices and start implementing healthier habits.
Lowering your cholesterol is possible and maybe even easier than you think. But yes, it certainly comes with dietary changes. In fact, adopting a healthy diet is the first thing you need to do to lower your bad cholesterol.
Unlike what you might believe, maintaining a healthy diet is not that difficult! Adding more cholesterol-lowering foods to your daily meals while at the same time avoiding those that are high cholesterol can actually be quite a treat for your tastebuds too!
Here we have listed five tasty foods that can help lower your cholesterol naturally. Ready to include some go-to cholesterol-lowering foods in your diet?
1. Replace unhealthy snacks with nuts
Instead of eating snacks high in sodium, such as potato chips, opt for a handful of nuts every time you’re craving a snack. Even better, make nuts such as almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts a daily part of your diet.
Research has shown that nuts raise good cholesterol (HDL) and lower bad cholesterol (LDL) levels when consumed regularly. Furthermore, as nuts are rich in protein, you can also reduce your meat consumption by (partly) replacing it with nuts, which is another way of keeping your cholesterol levels in check through the health benefits of nuts.
2. Opt for olive oil
Did you know that olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil, is an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids? In other words, olive oil can help increase good cholesterol (HDL) and lower bad (LDL) cholesterol. Thus, replacing saturated fats such as butter and margarine in your daily diet with olive oil will go a long way! Plus, it actually tastes great too!
3. Eat more fatty fish!
Fatty fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are proven to raise good cholesterol levels. Some examples of fatty fish include salmon, mackerel, cod, herring, and tuna. Thus, instead of getting your animal protein from red meat or poultry, you can simply start including types of fatty fish when designing your weekly menu. From salmon steaks to tuna risotto, there is no shortage of delicious fish recipes you can explore! Your healthy diet won’t make you feel like you are restricting yourself from the good stuff!
4. Indulge in dark chocolate
Yes, you read that one right! Studies have proven that the flavonoids (plant chemicals) found in cocoa, the main ingredient in dark chocolate, can lower bad cholesterol while raising good cholesterol. And yes, this automatically counts for cocoa beverages too!
However, keep in mind to watch the sugar levels in both dark chocolate and cocoa drinks. Experts recommend sticking to cocoa beverages without added sugar and dark chocolate that contain at least 75-85% of cocoa.
5. Savor the healthy goodness of fruits and berries
Fruits are excellent sources of soluble fiber that can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. While you can get soluble fiber from most fruits, including bananas and apples, berries are considered the way to go, as they are rich in soluble fiber and low in sugar. Whether you go for blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, or whichever berry you love the most, brighten up your salad and oatmeal with more berries starting today!
At last, we sincerely hope that the above healthy yet tasty cholesterol-lowering foods have inspired you to eat more mindfully. And if you are not sure about your cholesterol levels, please consult our general practitioner and get yourself checked, as it is an essential part of maintaining your overall health. Our English-speaking team of doctors at Prime Plus Medical in Canggu is ready to assist you 24/7.