September will be Cholesterol Awareness Month. Here are some great everyday foods that help keep cholesterol in check. Keep in mind, these quick tips are also good for overall health.
September will be Cholesterol Awareness Month and a great time to share with your shoppers some great everyday foods that will help them keep cholesterol in check. Keep in mind, these quick tips are also good for overall health. But do note that cholesterol is absolutely necessary for the formation of hormones and essential for many other basic cell functions, including cell repair – so not all cholesterol is bad!
Use fresh garlic when cooking. Garlic has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels. Remember to let it sit for at least 10 minutes after chopping for all of the potent antioxidants to form.
Brew some green tea. The antioxidants in green tea help lower cholesterol and prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. The caffeine from green tea also provides a calm focus rather than a jittery jolt like coffee.
Stock up on soluble fiber. Fiber, specifically soluble fiber, helps lower cholesterol by binding with it in the digestive tract and helping it pass through the body. Choose beans and lentils, apples, oats, barley, carrots and freshly ground flaxseed for your fill of fiber.
Snack on almonds. Studies have demonstrated almonds ability to lower LDL cholesterol as well as blood sugar levels – yes a 1-2 punch!
Avoid trans-fat. Stay away from items that list “partially hydrogenated oil” on the label. Reading all food labels is essential, even if the nutrition facts states 0 trans fats.
Stay away from sugar! Sugar is one of the primary controllable factors that leads to inflammation in the body. Inflammation when not tended to, becomes chronic and needs repair. Since cholesterol is a repair molecule, having a diet high in sugar can drive up inflammation and thus cholesterol levels.
Should you have eggs, meat and dairy foods? According to the Society for Vascular Surgery, cholesterol from eggs, pasture raised, grass fed meats, and dairy foods, when consumed with a whole foods based diet, in moderation is not harmful. Oxidized or overcooked meat is where we can run into trouble. A study from the Chinese University in Hong Kong isolated oxidized cholesterol in foods and found that it both increases total cholesterol levels and promotes atherosclerosis; the hardening of the arteries. Staying away from charred meats, and including lots of antioxidants (colorful fruits and vegetables) will help combat oxidation.
Exercise – for at least 30 minutes a day and reduce excess weight for those with waist size more than 40 inches –men, and more than 35 inches for women. And if you are a smoker, now is the time to quit! Of course discuss any new exercise routines or dietary changes with your health care provider.