A low cholesterol diet may decrease your risk of developing heart disease. A few simple changes can reduce your low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol while improving your high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, cholesterol levels. To gain control, make changes like:
- Getting rid of the trans fats in your diet
- Upping the amount of fiber that you eat
- Lowering the number on your bathroom scale
- Increasing the amount of time that you exercise
Avoiding Trans Fats
When you eat trans fats, they cause your LDL to rise and lower your HDL. However, they are tough to avoid because trans fats are in fried foods, margarines and baked goods. To dodge them, start reading food labels, and be aware that they can be hidden, so if you see a listing for hydrogenated oil, don’t purchase the food product since this is just another term for trans-fat.
Oatmeal, beans and apples feature high amounts of soluble fiber, so when you ingest them, they’ll stop your body from absorbing cholesterol. Research into low cholesterol food products shows that people who included 5 to 10 more grams of soluble fiber in their diets daily saw a decrease in their LDL. A fiber-filled diet also makes you feel fuller for a longer period, so you’re likely to eat less. Increase your fiber intake gradually because if you overdo it, you could suffer from cramps and bloating. Give your body time to adjust.
To lower your cholesterol, you don’t have to embark on a major weight loss journey. Instead, focus on losing just 10 pounds. Medical professionals report that by dropping this amount of weight, you’ll decrease your LDL by as much as 8 percent. Because weight loss can have a dramatic effect on your cholesterol numbers, try to drop the extra pounds over time. For instance, make a plan to lose 1 to 2 pounds each week.
Along with helping you achieve your weight loss goals, exercising provides the added benefit of raising your HDL. Try to work out for a minimum of 2 ½ hours each week. Select a type of exercise that you enjoy and invite friends to participate with you to help you stick to it.
Managing Your Health
By eating low cholesterol food items, increasing your fiber intake and losing weight, you’ll be in control of your health. Once you begin the managing process, you’ll likely decrease your chances of suffering from a heart attack or a stroke. In addition, as you lose weight and eat healthier, you’re likely to feel better.