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Key Foods to Improve Your Cholesterol


High cholesterol is one of the leading risk factors contributing to heart disease and stroke. Luckily the best way to take control of your health and reduce this risk factor is to make small changes in the food that you eat!

There are three main types of cholesterol: LDL, HDL and triglycerides.

LDL – this is typically referred to as the “bad cholesterol.” As I mentioned in Taking Care of Your Heart with Three Key Foods, fiber is a key to reducing your LDLs. Fruits and vegetables are two of the best sources of fiber in our diet. One rule of thumb is to include a fruit or vegetable with every meal and snack throughout your day.

The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reported that consuming green tea can help reduce your LDL cholesterol. So, incorporating more delicious Salada Green Tea into your day will not only make your taste buds happy, but it may help you with your heart health!

HDL – this is the “good cholesterol.” Unlike the LDL, we want to make sure that our body has enough of the beneficial cholesterol. The first thing to do is to make sure that you cut out all of the transfats from your diet. Many food labels will indicate “No Transfats,” however this can be a little misleading. According to USDA labeling guidelines, a food can still have up to .5g of transfat per serving, yet be able to declare itself as a “no transfat” food!

I encourage you to look at the ingredients list on each package of food you’re considering buying. If you see the words “partially hydrogenated oil” in the list as one of the ingredients, put it back and find an alternative!

The second thing you can do to increase your HDLs is incorporate more Omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are typically found in fish, but if fish isn’t your thing, you can opt for grass-fed beef or incorporate other non-animal options like flaxseeds, chia seeds or walnuts.

Triglycerides – this is another “bad” cholesterol and typically a sign of a diet high in sugar. When I say sugar, I am referring to the sweets we normally think of as well as processed carbohydrates (i.e., white breads, pastas, crackers, etc.). You can make a big impact on your triglycerides by swapping out the white carbohydrates and replacing them with 100 percent whole grain options.

The other large source of sugar in the American diet is alcohol. Consider replacing (or alternating) your normal cocktails with a soda water with lemon. Following these suggestions may help you see a reduction in your triglyceride level.

Finding out that you have high cholesterol is scary, but also one of the best warning signs you can receive that will lead you to begin to make some small, yet significant, dietary substitutions.

And remember, a few small steps can lead to big changes.

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