I really don’t like going to the visit my doctor. There is nothing wrong with him, it’s just that I don’t like that look he gives me when we are discussing my cholesterol numbers. Nor do I like the fact that he says if we don’t get this under control we will have to consider putting you one of the cholesterol lowering medications. That’s another secret, I don’t like taking prescription medication. So when I ask, is there anything I can do, his answer is get more exercise and modify your diet. So with those thoughts in mind I went to research what foods will help me to get my numbers back to the point that both my doctor and I can live with. This is what I found out.
There are five foods that we should include in our diet to help reduce our cholesterol numbers. The first of this group are foods that are high in soluble fiber. Soluble fiber help to reduces the amount of Low Density Lipoproteins, (LDL) also known as the bad cholesterol in our body. Foods such as oatmeal, oat brains, apples, pears, kidney beans, barley and prunes are all good sources of soluble fiber.
It is recommended that you consume five to ten grams of soluble fiber per day. If you were to eat 1 1/2 cups of cooked oatmeal per day, you would provide your body with 6 grams of soluble fiber, add fruit to the oatmeal and you pick up as many as four more grams. Simple and good tasting, not a bad solution, and no oatmeal cookies don’t count for this.
As strange as it may sound, doctors are actually recommending that we consume food that are high in fat. Ok, it’s not really fat, it’s foods that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids. The reason is that these foods will help reduce your blood pressure and the risk of developing blood clots. A food that falls into this group is fish. Doctors recommend that we all eat at least two servings per week of either baked or grilled fish. Not all fish fall into this food grouping, those that are recommended are, Mackerel, Lake Trout, Herring, Sardines, Salmon, Halibut and Albacore Tuna.
If you dont like the taste of fish, you can take fish oil or Omega-3 supplements. These will help, but there are other essential elements that fish provide that the supplements lack.
Walnuts, almonds and some other nuts are also beneficial in the battle against high cholesterol. These foods are high in Polyunsaturated acids will help keep our blood vessels in good working order. The FDA suggests that a handful of these nuts per day is healthy for us. If you’re looking for a number rather than a ” handful”, their number is 1 1/2 ounces or 42.5 grams per day.
Just remember that while they may be good for you, nuts are also high in calories, so keep the amount consumed down or else your weight may start creeping up, instead of going down as we all want. Although they are great tasting, nuts that are boiled in oils or coated with salts or sugars are bad for us, so avoid these.
One of the new buzz words the kept coming up when researching cholesterol healthy foods, was “antioxidants”. Here is what I found out about them, antioxidants help to lower the bad LDL while at the same time leaving your good HDL untouched. I’m not sure how it goes about doing that, but I’m impressed.
So what food contains this magic compound, it’s good old olive oil. The FDA recommendations that daily we consumption around 2 tablespoons of Olive oils as substitute for other high fat oils. They go on to say that the use of extra virgin olive oil is even better for your health. Olive oils can be used to saut?? foods, including vegetables and meats, it can be added to a marinade or combined with vinegar for a salad dressing.
Just like the nuts, olive oils are rather high in calories so keep an eye on the amount you consume. As if this wasn’t all confusing enough, “light” olive oils are not lighter in fat or calories, it’s just lighter in color. This comes from the fact that is processed more than either extra virgin olive oil or standard olive oils.
The last group of foods that are good for our cholesterol levels are those that are fortified with sterols or stanols substance. These substances are naturally found in plants and help to block the absorption of cholesterol within the body.
You can find foods such as orange juices, yogurt drinks and margarines that have plant sterols added. Consumption of these products will lower your LDL levels by more than 10%. The recommended daily amount of plant sterols consumed is about 2 grams, which is equal to about two 8 ounces of plant sterol fortified orange juice per daily. The good thing about the plant sterols is that they don’t negatively effect of the HDL in our bodies.
Now changing my diet to include these food groups won’t really be as bad as I first assumed, because I already happen to really love fish, and sauted vegetables, but I’m not too keen on the oatmeal. But if it’s a choice between the oatmeal or a regimen of daily medication, please pass the oatmeal.