When it comes to cholesterol there are 2 basic things you have to know:
1. Not all cholesterol is bad
There are 2 types of cholesterol:
- The Bad: LDL is the one which builds up on artery walls and ultimately can lead to cardiovascular disease.
- The Good: HDL is the one which eliminates the LDL out of the blood and protects the heart’s health.
That is why not ALL cholesterol is bad and the focus should not be on lowering it, but balancing it. And…
2. Cholesterol levels are intrinsically linked to diet
Cholesterol is produced by the liver and is present in all animal foods such as: meats (dooah!), high-fat dairy products (double-dooah!), egg yolks and certain fish.
According to the cholesterol theory of heart disease, both heredity and diet have a significant influence on a patient’s LDL, HDL and total cholesterol levels.
So, if we leave out heredity, that means that our diets play an essential roll in cholesterol levels. That being said, let us see which healthy foods can help us achieve the perfect balance.
Almonds are top of the list because they both lower unhealthy LDL and raise healthy HDL. More than this, almonds are a superfood, and a great source of calcium and vitamin E. Just remember to keep your portions to under 1 cup/day as they do have a considerable amount of calories.
Walnuts are a cocktail of omega-3’s, alpha-linolenic acid, melatonin, copper, manganese and vitamin E, and should be nicknamed “The Guardian of the Heart”.
A great source of monounsaturated fat, fiber, and antioxidants, pistachios are not only super-healthy, but also super-good at reducing LDL cholesterol.
All berries are excellent at maintaining optimal cholesterol levels, with a special emphasis on blueberries. Another superfood, these miracle berries do an excellent job at keeping your arteries clear. Bonus: they’re just at good at their job whether fresh, frozen or dried.
Oranges are the literal cholesterol-police as they trap (pun intended) it and carry it out of the body even before it is absorbed into the bloodstream.
Excellent at keeping the heart healthy, pomegranate keeps the blood healthy too!
7. Olive Oil
Rich in antioxidants and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats this should be your go-to-oil for all culinary purposes. Actually scratch that. You should use it in you homemade natural beauty masks too! 😀
Tomatoes are lycopene-rich which means that if you eat at least half a cup of tomato sauce daily you both keep those LDL levels down and break down artery-clogging fat. Now that’s what I call a win-win situation!
An excellent source of energy, beans are also full of calcium, potassium and folate, and all of the B-vitamins. What better reason for a vegan-friendly burrito?
10. Sweet Potatoes
Delicious and nutritions, the main selling point for sweet-potatoes is the fact that they are rich in water-soluble fiber. Just remember that a lot of those fibers are in the skin and that they are best boiled or steamed.
11. Green Vegetables
Low in calories, but rich in nutrients and fibers, this is really a no-brainer!
12. Chia seeds
Full of antioxidants, protein and minerals this little superfood should always make its way to your plate at least once a day!
13. Green tea
Green tea isn’t just an antioxidant wonder, but it also does wonders with lowering LDL levels.
I’ve saved the best for last, because I am literally in love with avocados. I would eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I would put them in every beauty product. I would replace my blood with avocado puree. Ok, too much information, I know. But seriously, these bad boys are full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, and are the absolute perfect cholesterol-balancing food!