What you eat can have a great impact on your cardiovascular health. In fact diet therapy and lifestyle changes are always the first step in treating high cholesterol levels and sometimes without the help of drug therapy.
Here are certain recommendations to better control your blood cholesterol levels:
- Aim for a healthy weight– Obesity is recognized as being a risk factor for numerous chronic diseases such as hypertension, dyslipidemia (high cholesterol) and type 2 diabetes. In general, 5 to 10 % weight loss can improve your blood cholesterol levels. A registered dietitian is qualified to help you and guide you in the process.
- Choose wisely your fat sources– Having high blood cholesterol does not entail going fat free. It’s all about choosing the good fat and limiting the bad fat.Good fat are usually found in fatty fish, nuts or natural nut butter, seeds such as flax seeds, vegetable oils such as olive oil and canola oil and avocados. Bad fat refers to saturated and mostly trans fat. Saturated fat is found in animal products such as red meat and high fat dairy products. Trans fat, is found in baked goods, deep fried foods, chips and certain prepackaged frozen products. The best way to limit your consumption of these products is to check the food label and to look at the % daily value of trans fat. You could also take a peek at the ingredient list to see if there is hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil in the product.
- Increase your fiber intake– I always tell my clients that fiber is your best friend. They offer so many health benefits and precisely soluble fiber can reduce both « bad » LDL and total cholesterol. Soluble fiber can be found in certain fruits and vegetables, oat bran, psyllium, barley, legumes (such as chick peas, lentils, red, black or pinto beans) and flax seed. In order to increase your fiber intake, try having vegetables at every meal; have oatmeal for breakfast, include more vegetable protein from legumes and eat fresh fruits instead of drinking fruit juice.
- Be active– The biggest problem we are facing nowadays is that people are being extremely sedentary. We spend most of our days sitting behind a desk or in front of a computer and even if there are no weight issues a sedentary lifestyle is being associated with health problems. Exercise is known to decrease both bad LDL and cholesterol levels. Walk, bike, take the stairs, exercise, dance, or do any activity that helps you be more active. Your heart and body will thank you 🙂
If you need more information on how to control your blood cholesterol levels, do not hesitate to contact me!