If you find yourself struggling with high cholesterol, you are not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 94 million U.S. residents aged 20 and older have high total cholesterol.
Unfortunately, in many cases, untreated high cholesterol can lead to serious health problems over time, increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and premature death. The good news? A few changes in your eating habits may be all you need to lower your risk. Read on to find out what habits dietitians recommend if you want to lower your cholesterol now. And for more changes to your diet that will benefit you in the long run, check out the 7 Healthiest Foods To Eat Right Now.
If you want to start each day with a healthier foot, try incorporating oatmeal into your breakfast.
“Beta-glucan is a soluble fiber found in oatmeal that helps lower LDL cholesterol and may make you feel full. As a bonus, oatmeal is also available in different forms, such as instant oats and oatmeal, ”explains the registered dietitian. Kristen Fleming, MS, RD, CNSC, consultant for BetterMe.
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While saturated fat can raise your cholesterol levels, adding unsaturated fat to your diet can have the opposite effect.
“Unsaturated fats are actually beneficial because they lower overall cholesterol and blood pressure while providing energy to your body,” says Fleming. She notes that fish rich in omega-3s, such as salmon, mackerel and tuna; nuts such as almonds, Brazil nuts and walnuts; and vegetable oils, including sunflower, olive, corn, and nut oils, are all good sources of unsaturated fat.
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If you generally follow a diet high in meat, adding a few extra vegetarian or vegan options to your diet could help you bring your cholesterol levels under control quickly.
“A vegetarian lifestyle not only helps you lose weight, but also lower your LDL cholesterol,” says Fleming, citing a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. By doing so, “the risk of heart problems like high blood pressure and heart disease can be dramatically reduced,” Fleming adds.
Not only is fiber filling, but it’s a great way to help lower your cholesterol quickly.
“The fiber in whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables are known to help lower cholesterol and should be part of your varied diet,” says Eleana Kaidanian, RD, CDN, CPT-WFS, dietitian and owner of Long Island Nutritionist. “In general, you want to aim for as much fiber as possible… Soluble fiber is powerful because it has the ability to absorb cholesterol from your bloodstream, in particular it can bind to cholesterol in the intestines and prevent it from breaking down. absorption.”
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If you have high cholesterol, doing intermittent fasting just might be the easiest way to get your LDL and HDL numbers into healthier territory in no time.
“Preliminary research shows that intermittent fasting may be a strategy to lower total and bad LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase good HDL cholesterol,” says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, CSSD, citing a 2018 study published in ESPEN Clinical Nutrition.
If you plan to incorporate fasting into your routine, Blatner notes that a 16 to 8 hour fasting period, in which you eat for eight hours and drink only water for 16 hours, is one method. popular and durable for many people.
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