If a blood test has shown that you have high cholestrol, the first thing you need to do is to change your lifestyle. High cholestrol causes atherosclerosis, narrowing of the arteries, which in turn leads to heart disease. Research has shown that by making simple changes to our daily life we can cut our heart disease risks by 80%.
So what changes do we need to make:-
– Changing to a healthier diet which is lower calorie, low in saturated fats and higher in fibre. Such diets for high cholestrol can have a dramatic effect on cholestrol levels.
– Lose weight – weightloss significantly reduces our risks.
– Start exercising – aerobic or cardiovascular exercise can be effective in lowering cholestrol levels.
– Take supplements – Vitamin B3 (Niacin)can increase HDL or “good” cholestrol levels, Omega 3 fatty acids increase HDL (good cholestrol) levels and reduce LDL (bad cholestrol) levels, Antioxidants vitamins A, C and E protect against damage from free radicals.
– Stop smoking – smoking is a free radical which can increase the oxidation of cholestrol and lead to it depositing in the arteries.
– Consume wheat grass and oat products.
People who have been diagnosed with high cholestrol, or who have a family history of high cholestrol levels, should follow diets for high cholestrol.
How to change your diet
Eating a high fat diet is definitely one cause of high cholestrol but not all fats are bad. Some fat in the diet is vital because our body needs it for energy and for cell building. It is the type of fat that matters when we are considering the best diets for high cholestrol.
Saturated fats and trans fats are the fats that are known to elevate cholestrol levels.
Saturated fats are found in whole fat milk, butter, cheese and fatty meats.
Trans fats (also known as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats) are found in commercially produced cakes, cookies and pastries as well as fast food.
However, there are good fats. Mono unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can actually be good for our hearts and cholestrol.
Mono unsaturated fats are found in avocados, some oils like rapeseed and olive oil, and some nuts.
Polyunsaturated fats are found in oily fish such as salmon and sardines, some spreads and health drinks.
So, how can we reduce our intake of bad fats and increase our intake of good fats and follow diets for high cholestrol?
The trick is to simply replace saturated or trans fats with good fats. Here are some tricks and tips:-
– Instead of using butter use a polyunsaturated spread or be Mediterranean and drizzle olive oil on your bread – delicious.
– Cook with olive oil
– Use lean meat or trim the white fat off cuts of meat
– Replace whole fat milk with half fat milk or fat free milk.
– Look at food labels for saturated fat and hydrogenated fat and buy low fat versions instead.
– Cut down on fast food and processed food.
– Replace cakes and cookies with fruit or vegetable snacks.
– Grill, microwave, steam or poach food instead of frying it.
– Eat oily fish once or twice a week (replacing your normal meat) to get essential Omega 3 fatty acids
Other changes we need to make when considering diets for high cholestrol are to increase our intake of fibre by eating wholegrain foods, pulses and fruit and vegetables.
Tips for increasing fibre:-
– Replace some of the usual meat you eat with pulses in casseroles or soups
– Replace white bread, pasta and rice with wholegrain/wholemeal versions
– Replace your normal snacks for fruit and vegetable snacks which are also low calorie
– Add fruit to breakfast cereals, add salad to your sandwiches, make smoothies, add more vegetables to casseroles and sauces, make vegetable soups, slice vegetables and serve with low fat dips, serve fruit as dessert.
As you can see these are simple changes we can make to our diets to make them suitable diets for high cholestrol. These changes can lower cholestrol levels without the need for further treatment, they are worth trying.
Search on the Internet for low fat recipes or buy yourself a low fat or low calorie recipe book to give you some inspiration.