Here’s something you don’t hear too often. Cholesterol is really good for you. It helps your body digest foods, produce hormones and make Vitamin D. So why does it seem like everyone tells you how to lower your cholesterol through your diet?
Because you don’t need cholesterol in your diet. Your body produces all the cholesterol it needs.
When you eat more cholesterol, you run the risk of having high cholesterol, which can affect your heart health.
Heart-Healthy Foods that Lower the Cholesterol in Your Diet
First, let’s learn a little more about cholesterol to underline why you need to reduce it in what you eat. There are two basic types of cholesterol. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) or ‘good’ cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is ‘bad’ cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is ‘good’ because it removes cholesterol from your body. LDL is ‘bad’ because it causes a buildup of plaque in your arteries.
So, basically, you want to eat foods that reduce LDL cholesterol levels in your body. Here are just a few ways of doing that, and some of the foods that can help.
- Lower Saturated Fats – Found in animal products, including red meat and high-fat dairy products, saturated fats boost overall cholesterol levels in the body.
- Cut Out Trans Fat – Used as a preservative in processed foods like margarine, cookies and cakes, and in many processed snack foods (that’s why you need healthy snack delivery in Toronto!) you don’t need trans fat in your diet and it increases LDL levels.
- Increase Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Salmon, tuna, herring, walnuts and flaxseed are all good sources of omega-3s, which don’t raise LDLs and help boost heart health.
- Eat More Soluble Fibre – Soluble fibre helps slow down the metabolization of the foods you eat and the absorption of cholesterol in the bloodstream. Fruits and vegetables are great sources of soluble fibre, including Brussel sprouts and apples.
- Cook with Oils – To help reduce dairy and other LDL producing elements in your diet, use vegetable oils and olive oil in place of butter, lard and shortening when cooking.
If you liked this post, check out our recent article on how to start eating healthily.