Although you don’t feel any different if you have high cholesterol, it’s important to lower your levels if they’re higher than normal. That’s because high cholesterol can lead to cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and strokes. Studies show that high cholesterol can be risky for people of all ages — even those under the age of 45.
Even though high cholesterol has no overt symptoms, a blood test can detect high levels. Here at Advance Medical Group, our providers can use the results of your blood test to make a diagnosis and — most importantly — help you regulate your levels and improve your cardiovascular health either with lifestyle changes or medication.
Following a heart-friendly diet is a great way to lower your cholesterol. Here are five cholesterol-lowering foods you can add to your diet today.
According to a review published in the National Library of Medicine, legumes are a heart-healthy addition to your diet. Researchers found that people who ate ½ cup of legumes daily saw an average decrease in “bad” LDL cholesterol by 6.6 miligrams per deciliter. Total cholesterol levels should be under 200 milligrams per deciliter, and LDL levels should be under 100 milligrams per deciliter. A change of 6.6 mg/dL can be very beneficial, especially if you’re right on the border of having high levels.
Legumes include beans, chickpeas, peas, and lentils. Try including a ¼ cup of black beans in a breakfast omelet, sprinkling chickpeas over your salad, or making a quick lentil soup.
Love guacamole? It turns out this tasty snack is good for your heart. A 2015 study found that individuals who ate one whole avocado per day saw a decrease in bad cholesterol levels. Slice avocados on eggs, top your salad with avocado slices, or mash the fruit and spread it on a piece of whole wheat toast.
Fatty fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids — a heart healthy nutrient. Skip the fried fish and stick with steamed, baked, or grilled. Salmon, sardines, and mackerel are all rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
4. Oats and barley
Whole grains like oats and barley can also help lower your cholesterol levels, according to numerous studies. Eliminate refined “white” breads and pastas. Instead, try:
- Oatmeal (especially topped with fresh fruit or nuts)
- Barley (serve as a side or add to soups)
Oats, in particular, can lower your bad cholesterol by up to 7%, according to a study published in the journal Nutrition Reviews.
When most people think about foods that lower cholesterol, they think of salmon or oatmeal, but fruit can also be good for you. That’s because fruit contains soluble fiber, which is good for your heart. Top your oatmeal with fresh berries or banana slices for an even more nutrient-dense breakfast.
When lifestyle changes alone aren’t enough...
Even though it’s essential to follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly, sometimes medication is needed to safely lower cholesterol levels. That’s where we come in. We can help you get the care you need to keep your heart at its healthiest.
To schedule an appointment, give us a call at any of our three clinics or request an appointment via our website.