Cholesterol can be a Killer. Let’s Fix It!
Losing weight is not the only reason why people make changes to their diet. The food we eat has an effect on our health, so choosing the right diet can also help lower or eliminate potential health problems.
I actually found out, following a routine health check, I had particularly high cholesterol levels. There were a number of factors that gave this reading and it was suggested it was hereditary. But let’s be honest, a daily consumption of cheese & onion crisps on the way to work couldn’t have helped.
Following the results I was given the lovely news that if you do find your cholesterol is high you can take medication to control it. Nice, I thought, how easy! But the problem is in most instances, once you start taking medication to control your cholesterol levels, you need to keep taking it.
I had a choice; either change what I eat or face going on medication for the rest of my life. Medication is something I have always avoided and I seldom take any tablets for any symptoms, let alone for something that could be resolved with a little care and attention.
My alternative was to make changes to my diet to lower my cholesterol. You can change your cholesterol level through diet modifications and subsequently you will receive the positive effects it has on your overall health, including helping you lose weight.
So, it makes a lot of sense to do whatever you can to get your cholesterol under control using natural methods.
I have to point it out, if you are reading this and have already been diagnosed with high cholesterol, please ensure you consult your doctor before changing your diet, and never change how you take medicine (that includes stopping or altering your dose) without first consulting your personal physician. They will know your personal health history and be able to help you develop a plan of action that’s best for you.
What is Cholesterol
So what is this Cholesterol thing anyway? The Science bit: Cholesterol occurs in fats known as lipids. It’s soft and waxy and serves some beneficial services in the body. It isn’t dissolved in the blood stream, and instead, is moved from cell to cell by lipoproteins. It’s these lipoproteins that are measured when your cholesterol is checked. The main ones that are being screened for are high-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein (HDL and LDL for short, respectively).
A cholesterol lowering diet helps to reduce the amount of LDL, which is commonly referred to as “bad” cholesterol. That’s because this is the kind that builds up in the arteries and creates plaque. This slows down the flow of blood to all parts of the body, including the brain and heart. If the flow of blood slows too much or a clot is formed, then it can lead to a heart attack or a stroke. For the record, these are two of the leading causes of death, so getting your cholesterol under control could save your life.
What to eat
The main component of a cholesterol lowering diet is increasing fibre intake. So for breakfast start regularly having fruit salads which are of course a great source of fibre. To boost that fibre intake further, I suggest once a week top this up with 1.5 cups of oatmeal (don’t use instant oatmeal).
I love to snack, and crisps in particular were my downfall. These days, as an alternative, I pick away at a bowl or two of almonds and walnuts which are packed with fibre.
The other nutrient that helps manage your cholesterol is omega-3 fatty acids. The best animal source of these is fish (especially salmon), while flax seed is the best plant source. Omega-3 fatty acids found in most fish help the heart in many ways such as reducing blood pressure and the risk of blood clots. Having grilled or baked fish a few times a give you a good amount of omega-3s.
Another element of a cholesterol lowering diet is finding foods that contain sterols. Nuts and seeds, whole grains, legumes and wheat germ are good food sources of sterols, but you can also be found in some margarine, juice and energy bars.
And the final element I will mention is to always use olive oil when you can. Olive oil contains a mix of antioxidants which lower your “bad” cholesterol and leave your “good” cholesterol untouched.
Not All Bad
Ok so a cholesterol lowering diet can mean changing your eating patterns but the heart benefits to making such changes are significant, whilst consequences for not making the changes can be fatal. Fortunately for you, our delicious meal plans are the perfect way to introduce a delicious, hassle free cholesterol lowering diet into your lifestyle today. So what are you waiting for?
I am dyslexic, please excuse any spelling or grammatical errors.