You’ve probably heard the advice to “keep your cholesterol” low, but do you know why? While it is true that our bodies need cholesterol, high levels have been shown to increase our risk for heart disease. This is because fatty deposits cling to your blood vessels, eventually restricting blood flow to your arteries. As you can imagine, this is not beneficial for your health, so it is wiser to adopt better practices.
Here, we’ve chatted with nutrition experts on what eating habits to avoid if you don’t want high cholesterol. Whether it’s limiting saturated fat or getting up and moving, these strategies will help you maintain your vitality and longevity. Then be sure to read our list of the 100 Most Unhealthy Foods on the Planet.
Rather than stocking up on foods high in saturated fat – consider cakes, pastries, bacon, etc. – try to stick to a plant-based diet. Unhealthy, high calorie foods do not benefit our digestive system in general and can lead to health problems. A diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables provides us with antioxidants that keep LDL cholesterol from becoming a problem., explains Serena Poon, Certified Nutritionist and Celebrity Chef.
“If you do decide to switch to a plant-based diet, be sure to stick to eating whole fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, nuts and legumes,” she says. “Packaged vegan foods tend to be high in sodium and other ingredients that can cause inflammation. Eat a wide variety of colorful vegetables and fruits to get the most out of them.”
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Poon says alcohol has a complicated relationship with cholesterol. As with all vices, anything that is moderate can benefit our health. However, when we overdo it, it has the opposite impact. With alcohol, that’s more than one drink a day for women or two drinks a day for men.
“Drinking alcohol can be hard on your body at different levels, so I generally recommend people to consume very moderate amounts of alcohol,” Poon explains. “Almost everyone I work with who has cut down on alcohol has reported feeling good, along with a number of biomarkers including lower overall cholesterol levels.”
Besides affecting your cholesterol levels, here’s what happens to your liver when you drink alcohol.
You might like your fix of fast food or your weekly dozen donuts, but it’s best to avoid processed and refined foods with added carbohydrates and sugars, says Dr. Josh Ax, DNM, CNS, DC, founder of ‘Ancient Nutrition. When you eat these foods regularly, you will likely see an increase in your triglyceride levels and a decrease in high density lipoprotein cholesterol.
“While carbohydrates provide fuel for the body and are necessary for healthy energy levels, they shouldn’t make up more than 60% of your diet,” he says. “And when you add carbohydrates to your diet, they have to be complex, nutrient-dense carbohydrates, like sweet potatoes, bananas, legumes, quinoa, and buckwheat.”
If you work from home or are chained to a desk day in and day out, getting enough exercise can be an uphill battle. But if you need another push to watch a Netflix show while walking on a treadmill, here’s one from Poon: fitness has been shown to be effective in countering high cholesterol.
Remember, you don’t have to run a marathon to keep your limbs moving. Instead, Poon suggests finding an activity that you enjoy and look forward to doing regularly.
“Whether it’s biking, hiking, fencing or soccer, moving your body will promote health. Participating in an activity that you enjoy will help you maintain the habit of moving your body, ”she adds.
Here is the most effective way to train every day, say psychologists.
While we all experience more hectic and trying times in our lives than others, stress is something that needs to be dealt with. As Poon says, when we experience chronic stress levels, it becomes a risk factor for increased cholesterol.
“It is also true that stress can contribute to lifestyle choices that are risk factors for high cholesterol, such as a poor diet, binge drinking, and lack of exercise“She says.“ Learning how to reduce stress and tension is truly one of the most important skills to have in your wellness toolbox. “
While it’s not a bad idea to fill your plate with plentiful vegetables and fruits, you could be a little more strategic and choose foods that are high in fiber. As Poon says, Fiber has been shown to lower our cholesterol levels. Nature’s goodies include nuts, beans, oat bran, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.
“Vegetables give you the added benefit of providing your body with antioxidants and phytonutrients that support vibrant health,” says Poon. “As you start to feel better and more energized, you might feel inclined to start experimenting with new, exciting plant foods. “
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