Cholesterol levels are on the rise and high cholesterol is responsible for more deaths every year than breast cancer or lung cancer.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance, called a lipid, which is needed by our bodies to function normally. Our livers make cholesterol but it is also found in food. Some foods contain high levels of fat (cholesterol). If we have too much of these foods, bad cholesterol levels can build meaning that we, literally, have too much fat in our blood.
High cholesterol levels can lead to stroke, heart attack, mini stroke and atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries). However, eating a healthy diet can help to significantly lower your bad cholesterol levels. Here are Angeles Health’s top cholesterol-fighting food types:
1. Oatmeal, pulses and other high-fiber foods
As a general rule, the less heavily processed a food type is, the harder it is for your body to digest it. This is one of the reasons why pulses and oats will leave you feeling full for longer than a slice of white bread. The fibers found in beans, pulses and oatmeal can’t be digested instantly by the gut. This is good news for us; the undigested fiber attaches itself to cholesterol and is removed from the body as waste. As a bonus fiber-rich food like bans and pulses are also thought to make the body absorb less saturated fat, helping to control weight.
Simple Step: You can get the recommended 18g dose of fiber by swapping white bread for wholemeal and adding a cup of oatmeal and two spoons of beans to your diet.
2. Fish and Omega-3 fatty acids
Fatty fish which is high in omega-3 fatty acids could help to strengthen the veins and reduce cholesterol. Eating enough omega-3 fatty acids in fish is also shown to reduce blood pressure, reduce the risk of developing blood clots and reduce the risk of sudden death in people who have previously experience heart attack.
The American Heart Association recommends including mackerel, tuna, lake trout, salmon, herring, sardines and halibut in your day to day diet.
Simple Step: Try to eat at least two servings of omega-3 rich fish a week.
Nuts, such as walnuts, almonds, pecans and peanuts are known to lower cholesterol. Although it is not clear just how nuts help to lower cholesterol, it is thought that it could be because they contain plant sterols and monounsaturated fats that protect blood vessels. Nuts are also high in fiber and vitamin E. AS a bonus, nuts can make you feel full for a long time, so can also help to stop you from snacking on other foods.
Simple Step: Drop your usual snack for a handful of nuts. However, make sure that they are unsalted, particularly if you have high blood pressure.
If you suffer from high cholesterol, heart disease, or are worried about your health or that of someone close to you, Angeles Health could help. Mexico’s largest network of private hospitals, we offer medical tourists from America, Canada and beyond, lifesaving, groundbreaking medical treatment. To find out if we could help you or someone you love, contact us today.