Eat These Things If You Want to Improve Your Cholesterol

High cholesterol is a health concern for 94 million adults in the United States. While our bodies need cholesterol to function properly, too much of it can lead to health problems, including heart disease and stroke. 

The team at Monarque Health and Wellness Center is devoted to providing exceptional family and functional medicine. Our team takes great care in helping our patients reach and maintain health goals. 

If you have high cholesterol, you can make some practical changes to lower your levels, and what you eat is a good place to start.

Our nutritionist, Kathryn Flynn, BA, BEd, can help you use food to lower your cholesterol and boost your health. Therapeutic diets are beneficial in managing high cholesterol. 

Here are our recommendations for the best foods to eat to combat elevated cholesterol. 

Boost your fiber intake

Fiber is an essential nutrient that can improve your cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber, in particular, has been shown to reduce levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL), the “bad” cholesterol, by binding to cholesterol in the digestive system and removing it from the body.

Boosting your fiber intake by just 5-10 grams can lessen LDL cholesterol levels.

Choose heart-healthy fats

Not all fats are bad for you. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are healthy fats that can improve your cholesterol levels. These fats can increase your levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the “good” cholesterol, while reducing LDL cholesterol.

Replacing saturated fats in the diet with polyunsaturated fats can lead to a significant decrease in LDL cholesterol levels.

Go whole

Whole grains are a great source of fiber, which can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels. Refined grains like white bread, pasta, and rice have less fiber and nutrients than whole grains, which makes them less beneficial for cholesterol levels.

Opt for lean protein sources

Protein is an essential nutrient that our bodies need to function properly. However, some sources of protein can be high in saturated fats, which can increase LDL cholesterol levels. 

Try incorporating lean protein sources and keep in mind that replacing red meat with plant-based protein sources can reduce LDL cholesterol levels. 

Add fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of fiber and are packed with antioxidants that can help protect against heart disease. Plus, they're low in calories and can help you maintain a healthy weight.

Try incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables into your diet, including dark, leafy greens, berries, citrus fruits, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. A good goal is to have at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

Top foods for improving cholesterol

If you’re unsure of where to start, we have you covered! Check out the top five foods to start incorporating or increasing in your diet:

Oats 

Oats are a great source of soluble fiber, which can reduce LDL cholesterol levels. Eating oats for breakfast gets your day off to a cholesterol-lowering start. You can try adding some nuts or fresh fruit to your oats for added flavor and nutrition.

Avocado

Avocados are a great source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which can lower LDL cholesterol levels. Add avocado to your salad, sandwich, or smoothie for a delicious and nutritious boost.

Nuts

Nuts like almonds, walnuts, and pistachios are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, fiber, and protein, all of which can lower LDL cholesterol levels. A little goes a long way — nuts are calorie dense.

Fatty fish

Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help lower triglycerides and reduce the risk of heart disease. Aim to eat fatty fish at least twice a week for optimal heart health benefits.

Beans and legumes

Beans and legumes like chickpeas, lentils, and black beans are an excellent source of soluble fiber, protein, and minerals like potassium and magnesium. Eating beans and legumes regularly can help improve heart health and lower LDL cholesterol levels.

Berries

Berries like blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are rich in antioxidants that can help protect against heart disease. They're also a great source of fiber, which can help improve cholesterol levels.

Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which are antioxidants that can help improve heart health. Choose dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa for the most heart health benefits.

Managing your cholesterol

Dietary modification is one of the most important steps you can take to manage your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease. By making healthy changes to your diet, you can lower your LDL cholesterol and boost your HDL cholesterol, and we can help. 

To have your cholesterol checked and monitored, and to discuss dietary modification to manage cholesterol, schedule a visit with a Monarque Health and Wellness Center provider by calling 541-326-4777 today. Another option is to send us a message here on our website to schedule a visit. 

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