5 Foods To Decrease Cholesterol
Cholesterol is one of the most misunderstood aspects of heart health. And for those of you out there who have high cholesterol, you may have been told to lower it. You need to find low-fat foods and stay on that low-fat diet or even take out foods that contain cholesterol in themselves, such as eggs or cheese.
But is that really necessary? What we want to do is take out the foods causing the inflammation and get to the root cause of your high cholesterol. So today I'm gonna talk about five foods to help you decrease your cholesterol.
My name is Marcie Vaske and I'm a functional medicine nutritionist specializing in gut health. So I see a lot of individuals who struggle with gas bloat, constipation, diarrhea, and of course, that's just to name a few things.
But I also see a lot of clients who also struggle with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hypothyroidism, and hormone issues. As we've started to understand the gut a little bit more, we know how impactful it is to the rest of our body.
So if this sounds like you or maybe someone you know who's struggling with symptoms of gut health or other issues, we'd be happy to work with you. You can easily make an initial appointment and get started on your health journey.
But I know some people like to get started on their own or just to continue their education and health alone. And so you can download our free guide, which is Five Ways to Improve your Gut Health. That way you can start learning and maybe on your own you can find better gut health.
So let's jump back into our topic today about cholesterol. And first, I want to cover what causes high cholesterol.
What causes high cholesterol
For decades, there has been a widely held belief that the increase in coronary heart disease was connected to high cholesterol levels.
And because of that belief, there was actually a government-mandated recommendation that all healthy American adults, should consume no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day.
There's been evidence to show that this is no longer the case, and therefore the government has taken away the recommendation from the American dietary guidelines. So if dietary cholesterol isn't causing high cholesterol, what is?
Well, there are factors that of course are genetic, but also inactivity, obesity, diabetes, and our diet. And one of the main, or the number one factor in high cholesterol is your diet. Now, most Americans are living on the standard American diet, which is filled with ultra-processed foods.
These ultra-processed foods do create inflammation in the body and they decrease our HDL, which is our good cholesterol, but wildly increase our LDL, which is known as our bad cholesterol. Now, cholesterol is a naturally occurring substance that is found in all of us, and it is needed for survival.
It is made by the liver and it's required by the body to help our cells, our nerves, and our hormones function properly. So it isn't about getting rid of high-cholesterol foods, it's about getting rid of those high-inflammatory foods.
So you might be wondering, okay, well, what are ultra-processed inflammatory foods? Tell me more. First and foremost, you wanna be making sure that you get rid of those trans fats or hydrogenated oils from your diet, and you are gonna find those in those packaged foods.
So if you go to your cupboard and turn a package around, you might find oils like soybean oil, cotton seed oil, vegetable oil, corn oil, or even canola oil.
Those oils are going to be damaging and increase your LDLs and while they lower your HDLs, other inflammatory foods you want to avoid will be sugar, right?
We all have heard that sugar increases inflammation and things like refining grain products or too much alcohol and even too much caffeine. Now, alcohol and caffeine are stimulants to the liver, which impact the production of our cholesterol.
So that's one reason we don't wanna consume too much of either of them. Now, we've heard that having a couple of glasses of red wine can be very helpful for your health, but that's the key to moderation, right? We don't wanna have too much of anything.
5 Foods To Decrease Cholesterol
Now, number one on our list of five foods to decrease cholesterol is nuts. And nuts have a lot of wonderful aspects to them.
From fiber to healthy antioxidants, which can all shown to lower our LDL, which is amazing, and also keep our gut healthy because of that, good fiber nuts are loaded with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats that give you that nice blend of healthy fats to keep your cells, your nerves, all healthy.
Chia Seeds and Flax Seeds
Number two on our list are chia seeds and flax seeds. Flax seeds are the richest source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, and they also provide some wonderful lignans to help balance our hormones.
Now, both chia seed and flax seed have insoluble fiber and soluble fiber, so they help also with gut health detoxification and weight loss. So how do flax seeds and chia seeds decrease our cholesterol?
Well, what happens is that the soluble fiber actually traps the fats and cholesterol in our digestive tract, and then bile is excreted and has to make more for the body, which uses up the cholesterol in our bloodstream, which lowers our cholesterol.
So easy to add with those flax seeds, and chia seeds, sprinkle it on yogurt, put it in your smoothie, and reduce your cholesterol.
Number three on the list is avocados. And avocados are actually the world's greatest source of heart, healthy monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats actually help increase our HDL, so good cholesterol while lowering LDL.
Avocados also provide soluble fibers, so it helps balance our blood sugar in addition to decreasing our inflammation. So easy again to add avocado into your daily or even weekly meal plans, throwing, having some guacamole, or having avocado toast.
Number four on the list is turmeric. And turmeric is the king of all spices when it comes to lowering inflammation in the body.
And turmeric has also been studied and found to kind of add this protection to several inflammatory diseases such as heart disease, cancer, ulcerative colitis, and even arthritis plus more.
So adding a little turmeric tea perhaps to your day will, especially on these chilly days, would be a nice way to decrease inflammation naturally while decreasing your cholesterol.
And lastly, on our list, number five is garlic. And garlic is one of the most researched foods for heart health. Now, garlic has actually been shown to reverse disease because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
It is antiviral, it's anti-diabetic properties, and helps to decrease cholesterol overall. So again, a nice easy one to add to your daily food, cook with it and throw in soups. You can have some salsa, but add garlic to help decrease inflammation in the body, which will then decrease your cholesterol levels.
So there are a few foods or five foods that will help you decrease your cholesterol. And really what it comes down to as well as just having that nice balanced, whole real food diet that's gonna help every system in your body.
So as you are making your weekly meal plan coming up, maybe the end of the week or even for next week, start thinking about adding some of those foods into your meal plan.
If you're struggling with high cholesterol and want to reduce it naturally, some of the tips that I talked about in terms of the foods to get out, so just high damaged fats, you want to remove ultra-processed foods, you want to remove sugar, excess alcohol, excess caffeine, take those out and replace it with some of these healthy foods like nuts and garlic and avocados, and high foods rich in omega 3's.
This will help support a healthy cholesterol level and give you the life you want.
If you'd like to explore any of this information further or obtain an individualized nutrition plan, you can schedule an initial appointment at our clinic. We also take insurance and some of our clients get full coverage, which is great.
Or you can just start by downloading our FREE GUIDE: 5 WAYS TO IMPROVE GUT HEALTH