Updated: Oct 12, 2021
High cholesterol has become a common and chronic problem as a result of the Standard American Diet (SAD). The SAD diet is high in refined carbs, saturated and trans fats and low or void in fiber and nutrients. As a result, your body takes in more energy than it needs and ends up storing it for later use, commonly known as cholesterol. Low-density lipid (LDL) and triglycerides to be more specific.
What is High Cholesterol?
What does it mean to have high cholesterol? Having high or abnormal cholesterol can mean a variety of things. You are considered to have high or abnormal cholesterol if you have high total cholesterol, high LDL (low-density lipid) or low HDL (high-density lipid). Having any of these or any combination of these can put you at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, or stroke. On the other hand, having low levels of HDL (high-density lipid), a healthy type of lipid, puts you at risk of heart disease. Both of these scenarios are damaging to your long term health.
How Can I Manage High Cholesterol?
Good nutrition and physical activity such as walking, gardening or working out can help you manage high cholesterol levels. The two most effective ways to naturally lower your cholesterol are to reduce your intake of processed foods and to increase your consumption of whole foods that are rich in fiber. This can be easily done without having to deprive yourself of foods you enjoy or feeling forced to follow a restrictive diet.
2. French Fries
3. Hot Dogs
These highly processed foods contain an abundance of unhealthy and inflammatory oils. The concern is the use of low quality oils that are used to cook or fry these foods at very high temperatures. As a result, these oils are converted to inflammatory substances that seriously damage your cardiovascular health. In today’s market it is easy to find healthier alternatives that are either plant-based or lower fat versions. They still satisfy your taste buds without wrecking havoc on your cholesterol levels or your cardiovascular health.
2. Whole Grains
4. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
6. Raw Nuts & Seeds
Adding in whole foods rich in fiber and healthy fats will help to create an anti-inflammatory foundation and help to lower your cholesterol naturally. Legumes - like beans and lentils - and whole grains specifically contain soluble fiber which is absolutely essential in lowering your cholesterol and supporting healthy gut bacteria. This is important because creating happy and healthy gut bacteria allows you to efficiently digest and absorb all the health supporting nutrients that enter your body through the foods you eat. Inflammation is a large contributing factor in developing cardiovascular disease. Supporting healthy gut bacteria by eating fiber-rich foods helps to decrease inflammation and creates a foundation for your body to heal and function at its best.
Aida Sadeghi, MS,CNS
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