Whether a doctor has advised you your cholesterol level is high or you simply want to take a proactive role where your health is concerned, watching what you eat is very important to avoiding high cholesterol. While there are certain foods that can raise cholesterol levels, there are also foods that can lower cholesterol. When restricting the bad foods, such as saturated fats, add some of the good foods to your diet.
Foods High In Fiber
There are two types of fiber in food: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber, and the American Heart Association recommends that you eat both types. Soluble fiber tends to become of gel-like consistency when it is mixed with liquids. For example, if you make oatmeal but let it sit in water, it will become thick and gooey. That is the soluble fiber. The University of Virginia Health System explains that when that gel-like substance in the intestinal tract meets up with bile, which is made from cholesterol, it binds together with it, prevents it from being absorbed and then carries it out of the body. Examples of food high in soluble fiber include oatmeal, Brussels sprouts, apples, carrots, broccoli, bananas and beans. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, does not bind with and lower cholesterol, but it does work to keep the body’s bowel functions working smoothly, which is beneficial to overall health. Insoluble fiber is found in fruit skins, bean skins, wheat bran, beets, cabbage, cauliflower and turnips.
Foods High In Omega 3s
Omega 3s are also known as omega 3 fatty acids, and while you wouldn’t think that any food with the word “fatty” in it would be good for your cholesterol, omega 3s are the exception. Omega 3 fatty acids raise the levels of HDL (high density lipoprotein, or good cholesterol), which works to carry LDL (low density lipoprotein, or bad cholesterol) out of the body. When compared to a diet that limits fat for high cholesterol, eating omega 3 fatty acids in the form of fatty fish is found to be more beneficial, according to a study reported in the April 2009 issue of “The Physician and Sports Medicine.” In this study, performed by the Greater Los Angeles V.A. Healthcare System, participants who ate fatty fish lowered their triglyceride levels and raised their HDL (good) cholesterol levels, which helped lower overall cholesterol totals. Foods high in omega 3s include fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, scallops, shrimp, walnuts, flaxseeds, cloves, cabbage and other leafy greens.
Citrus fruits offer more to your health than vitamin C, although that is a great benefit. Citrus fruits contain many beneficial compounds called flavonoids, one of which is called nobiletin. Nobiletin lowers the blood’s cholesterol levels and can prevent LDL cholesterol from sticking to arterial walls, as noted in the January 2007 issue of “Atherosclerosis.” In addition, the November-December 2007 issue of “Alternative Therapies In Health And Medicine” reports that when citrus fruits are consumed for 12 weeks, there is a significant reduction in LDL cholesterol. Excellent citrus fruit choices include tangerines, grapefruit, oranges, pummelos, limes, lemons and clementines.