Do you ever reach into the bag of hot chips and get your hand slapped away and nagged at to watch your cholesterol? What the hell is cholesterol anyway?
Cholesterol is a type of fat found in all animal cells. And even though most of us have evolved past the chasing down prey and communicating in grunts we are still made up of animal cells that need this essential fat for our body’s metabolic processes.
So, if we need cholesterol to even roll out of bed in the morning why do we constantly hear about the evils of it? Because our bodies are very efficient at producing cholesterol on their own and we don’t need to eat any extra in our diets to keep it at acceptable levels. When we consume too many foods high in cholesterol our body is unable to remove the excess and it begins to build up fatty deposits in our arteries. If these vessels narrow and are blocked, heart disease and stroke will likely occur.
Unfortunately consuming many of our favourite foods like chips, fatty meats and cakes will send your cholesterol spiraling up but we have the solution.
EAT MORE FOOD
Yep, you heard me right. Different foods lower cholesterol in various ways. Some deliver soluble fiber, which binds cholesterol and its precursors in the digestive system and drags them out of the body before they get into circulation. Some give you polyunsaturated fats, which directly lower LDL. And some contain plant sterols and stanols, which block the body from absorbing cholesterol.
Here’s some foods that you can easily introduce into your diet that will reduce your cholesterol.
Float Your Oat – An easy first step to lowering your cholesterol is having a bowl of oatmeal or cold oat-based cereal like Cheerios for breakfast.
Bean Me Up – Any type of legume or bean will do. You can even throw some baked beans on a slice of toast each morning. Sorry but jelly beans are not recommended.
Get Oily – Swap out all your cooking oils for olive oil. Add it to pastas, salads or vegetables. You can even add it to icecream!
Fatty Fish – Eating fish such as tuna and salmon two or three times a week can lower cholesterol in two ways: by replacing meat and by delivering cholesterol lowering omega-3 fats.
Go Nutty – Don’t believe the hype about the ‘in’ nut that will miraculously cure your hives and make you more attractive. All nuts are good. And even better when washed down with a beer.
Butter Up – Buy a plant sterol based margarine or spread and then lather up those sandwiches for your crib bag.
Holy Guacamole – Research suggests that adding an avocado a day can help improve cholesterol levels in people who are overweight or obese.
Studies have shown reductions in cholesterol with frequent eating of these foods. But we have to point out that there’s only so much these foods can do on their own. Yep, you guessed it, a healthy diet and regular exercise still needs to be a part of your everyday life.