High cholesterol, also known as hypercholesterolemia, is caused by an excessive buildup of the cholesterol molecule in the bloodstream. While cholesterol is beneficial in healthy amounts and aids with cell construction, excess cholesterol can build up and impair blood flow, increasing the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
High cholesterol has some genetic risk factors but is mainly due to poor dietary choices. By eating a healthy, balanced diet, you can mitigate the risk of developing high cholesterol. Eliminating foods like processed meats, fried foods, and sugary foods that are unhealthy and high in cholesterol is a great way to reduce risk or manage existing hypercholesterolemia.
But did you know you can also help fight off high cholesterol by eating foods that are proven to help lower blood cholesterol levels? Eight of our favorite cholesterol-busting, healthy foods are:
- Whole Grains
If you’ve ever seen a Cheerios commercial, you know that whole grains help lower cholesterol. Oats, oat bran, barley, and wheat bran are all great choices as they contain lots of soluble fiber, which the USDA recommends you get plenty of for optimal digestive health. Soak whole grains overnight for the highest possible nutrition content and the most cholesterol-fighting power.
Similar to whole grains, legumes like beans contain plenty of soluble fiber that helps reduce cholesterol levels. And just like whole grains, beans should be soaked to increase the bioavailability of their nutrients.
Eggplant is a low-calorie veggie that is also high in soluble fiber.
Yet another low-calorie vegetable that boasts a high soluble fiber content.
Nuts have long been shown to be great for cardiovascular health, so throw back about two ounces of walnuts, almonds, or peanuts a day to keep the heart doctor (and cholesterol) at bay.
- Pectin-rich fruits
Too much sugar increases your risk of developing high cholesterol, but pectin-rich fruits like apples, strawberries, grapes, and citrus bring the sweet without all the risk. Oh, and did we mention that pectin is a type of soluble fiber?
While soy isn’t the cholesterol-fighting powerhouse it was once claimed to be, it does still have a significant effect on cholesterol levels when consumed in moderation. In fact, eating just 25 grams of soy per day can lower your LDL cholesterol levels by 5-6 percent! (LDL is the “bad” type of cholesterol).
- Fatty (not fried) fish
The heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids contained in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, and trout are cardiovascular health superfoods. Omega-3s are known to reduce LDL numbers and also remove triglycerides from the bloodstream.
High Cholesterol Management in Tampa Bay
Are you living with high cholesterol and not sure what to do? Dr. Kavita Rao and her team of medical professionals provide highly effective disease management services for patients all over Tampa Bay living with chronic conditions. Not only does Dr. Rao treat the acute symptoms, she also provides education, nutrition guidance, and referrals to outside specialists that will help you holistically manage your health, not just treat your disease. Schedule an appointment by calling (727) 525-0900 or book an appointment online today!