Cardiovascular disease is the major cause of death worldwide (CVD). An estimated 92.1 million Americans have at least one type or more of cardiovascular disease. This includes a history of heart attacks and deep vein thrombosis. A buildup of cholesterol, a waxy, fat-like substance that causes most heart and blood vessel disease, is the main cause. The risk of developing heart disease and heart valve problems is increased when total cholesterol and/or low-density cholesterol are elevated. CVD is linked to high cholesterol levels. This includes a type of CVD called Atherosclerotic Cardiac Vascular Disease (ASCVD).
Some people are liable to higher cholesterol due to a genetic condition called “familial hypercholesterolemia,” however most of us can take control of cholesterol levels by following these six healthy eating habits regularly.
1. Low-sodium plant-based protein sources are recommended.
Protein does not just refer to meat, poultry, and fish. A large amount of protein should be consumed in the form of beans, lentils and soy. The majority of protein we eat should be plant-based. For your next burger, opt for a lentil patt rather than a “beefy-like” meat analog. Or use nutritional yeast instead of non-dairy cheese shreds for your pasta dish.
2. At least half of your grain intake should be whole grain.
Whole grains are all components of the grain kernel, including bran, germ, and endosperm. All of these layers provide unique and vital nutrition for our diets. Refined grains (non whole grains) are likely to only have the starchy endosperm layer. There are many delicious whole grain options, including whole grain spaghetti, whole grains bread, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, brown rice, and whole grain spaghetti. These are great alternatives to the more refined choices that you might normally eat. Whole-grain intake is associated to lower cholesterol levels. Grains like barley and oats contain soluble fibre that directly helps lower total cholesterol.
3. Healthy fats are important.
Even though cholesterol is a fat-like substance , it is still important to include fat in our diets . The key is to choose the right kinds of fat. It is better to have a higher percentage of unsaturated fats like nuts, nut butter, seeds and canola oil than unhealthy saturated fats like palm oil and coconut oil. Research has shown that higher cholesterol results can be achieved by using hydrogenated oils or high-fat milk and meat.
4. Increase your vegetable and fruit intake.
It is not surprising, I hope, that fruits and vegetables are good for our health. This recommendation is also applicable to achieving a healthy cholesterol level. To control cholesterol levels, adults should consume three to four servings of each fruit and vegetable daily. We can achieve this goal by eating a variety of different fruits and veggies.
Fruits are a great snack or dessert option. Vegetables can be more difficult. Try to add more vegetables to foods you already love. You can add extra lettuce, tomato and onion to your favorite sandwich, or even broccoli to your mac and cheese.
5. Get unsweetened drinks
It is often easy to reach for sweetened (and caffeinated!) beverages. Drinks as a quick pick-me up throughout the day. The excess sugar can increase our cholesterol. Water should always be our first choice, but there are other options.
6. Utilize portion control.
Overindulgence can lead to an excess of calories. This can lead to weight gain when our calorie intake exceeds our calorie requirements and we don’t exercise these calories. The ability to control our portion size can have a significant impact on weight maintenance and reducing high cholesterol risk.