According to the Centers for Disease Control, heart disease kills more people than any other condition. It kills both men and women in larger numbers than cancers. Other than smoking cessation, which is vitally important to good heart health, taking control of your cholesterol levels is the next best way to reduce your risks. Diet plays a huge part in overall levels. What are some of the best foods to eat to reduce cholesterol levels and improve heart health?
There is no easy answer, because many foods are high in soluble fiber and monounsaturated fat, both of which lower so called “bad cholesterol” (LDL) and improve “good cholesterol” levels (HDL). Many other foods, such as red meat and most dairy products, have a negative impact on these numbers because of their high saturated fat content and also high cholesterol. The human body is capable of making its own cholesterol, so you really don’t need to eat any.
Here are 10 cholesterol lowering foods that can add a zing to your diet:
1) Apples, strawberries and citrus fruit. These have a lot of pectin, which is a soluble fiber. (A That’s It. Apple+Strawberries snack bar is a great choice!)
2) Oats and whole grains, but especially oatmeal.
3) Spinach and other green leafy vegetables.
4) Soy products like Tofu and soy milk have powerful cholesterol lowering properties.
5) Avocado is a good source of monounsaturated fat, which helps lower your LDL.
6) Salmon and fatty fish have Omega 3 fatty acids, which improve heart health dramatically. People who eat fish daily have a much lower risk for coronary disease.
7) Garlic. It may or may not taste nasty to you, but it can really bring those numbers under control.
8) Tea. Loaded with antioxidants, tea as either a hot or cold beverage contributes to good heart health.
9) Dark chocolate brings the numbers down too, so there is no need to deprive oneself to get healthy.
10) Walnuts, Cashews and Almonds.
As you can see, a heart healthy diet does not need to be bland and unsatisfying. The most important rule however, is to stay in touch with your physician and follow their advice.