16 Jul Top Tips to Lower Cholesterol
High cholesterol levels are often related to high fat in the diet, but this isn’t the full story.
A poor diet is generally the number 1 cause of high cholesterol, impacted further by inactivity, an imbalance in blood sugar, stress levels plus a few other factors.
Cholesterol is crucial for survival and naturally occurring in us all. Cholesterol is present in the form of lipids (fats), which travel via the bloodstream. Cholesterol is involved in the production of steroid hormones, and can be found in every cell of the body for proper cell function. It also plays a part in vitamin D production, and bile acid production to aid digestion.
The issue is with ‘Low density lipoproteins’, which can slip under the outer tissue of blood vessels when they are damaged, causing an immune reaction and trigger the build-up of plaques inside the vessel walls increasing the risk of heart disease. Whereas the ‘High density lipoproteins’ have been found to be protective.
Foods to avoid:
- Sugar and refined carbohydrates ; both stimulate the liver to produce more cholesterol.
- Alcohol; More than 1 glass of wine a day may increase cholesterol levels.
- Hydrogenated fats – like spreads
- Trans fats – these too can increase LDL cholesterol
- Caffeine – too much may raise levels of cholesterol. Limit to 1 or 2 cups a day.
- Fructose sugar/high fructose corn syrup – used in many processed foods
Foods to include:
- Essential fats – omega 3 rich foods like oily fish, walnuts, sunflower seeds.
- Fibrous foods – fruits (2 to 3 portions max per day), vegetables, sprouted nuts and seeds
- Olive oil – has been shown to help raise the beneficial cholesterol HDL.
- Garlic & onions – help to lower the ‘bad’ cholesterol due to their sulphur content.
- Herbs like basil, rosemary and spices like turmeric have also been shown to lower cholesterol naturally.
Here are some of my favourite cholesterol busting foods!
- Nuts (these can be soaked over-night for easier digestion)
- Seeds – chia & flax seeds
- Olive oil
- Gluten-free grains
- Green Tea
- Beans & Legumes
- Sweet potatoes
- A few essential oils that are also beneficial include lemongrass, coriander, cinnamon and lemon.