[Written by Peter Nielsen].
Approximately one in every six adults—17% of the U.S. adult population—has high blood cholesterol! We’re also seeing a sharp rise in children with high cholesterol. This is a dangerous condition, and it comes with a sharp increase of risk for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. It’s important to know that high cholesterol often can be reduced through regular exercise and a healthy diet.
Add these items to your menu to help lower your cholesterol levels.
- The fiber in oatmeal mixes with cholesterol in the small intestine and attaches to the cholesterol molecule, helping to flush them from the body.
- Eating fatty fish can help lower your blood pressure tthe high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish a week.
- Pinto beans may actually be more efficient than oatmeal when it comes to lowering cholesterol. A study from the University of Colorado found that eating a half-cup of pinto beans a day for eight weeks resulted in an average drop of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol of more than 8 percent, while eating half-cup of oatmeal will reduce cholesterol 2 percent to 3 percent!
- Garlic can prevents plaque from clogging your arteries by keeping cholesterol particles from sticking to artery walls. Fresh garlic is best.
- Studies show that macadamia nuts and other nuts are helpful in the fight against bad cholesterol. In one study published in the April, 2008, researchers reported that 1.5 ounces of macadamia nuts eaten daily reduced total cholesterol by 9.4 percent and low-density lipoprotein by 8.9 percent. Walnuts are also excellent for reducing cholesterol levels.
Along with lowering the ‘bad cholesterol’ you want to be sure your ‘good cholesterol’ gets a boost:
- Foods that are high in soluble fiber, such as flax seed, apples, and oranges will help keep HDL levels at a healthy level.
- Fatty fish not only lower LDL levels, it helps raise HDL levels!
- Cranberry juice has been shown to increase HDL levels.
- Monounsaturated fats such as canola oil, avocado oil, or olive oil and in the fats found in peanut butter can increase HDL cholesterol levels without increasing the total cholesterol.
- Aerobic exercise has been shown to have a highly beneficial effect on HDL.
The only way to know if you have high cholesterol is through testing. However, the following factors raise your risks of high cholesterol. If any of them describe you, and you haven’t been tested, see your doctor!
- Lack of exercise)
- Poor diet
- Specific medications
- Family history of high cholesterol
- Weight – even a few extra pounds can increase your cholesterol
The American Heart Association states that high cholesterol levels can result in heart attacks, strokes and other preventable diseases. So take control and give yourself a longer, healthier life!
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