by Christopher Ross
High cholesterol can put you at risk for a stroke or heart attack. A person does not have to be overweight or a senior citizen to have elevated numbers. The only way to know what your levels are is to take the blood test. Regardless of whether or not you look like a candidate, you may still have this condition. If you have been diagnosed with high LDL levels or low LDL, follow the orders of your doctor, but realize that natural cholesterol lowering is possible.
Understanding the measurements can be a challenge for many people. Basically there a three measurements, and it can be said that A plus B equals C. The first factor, A, is your LDL, the bad kind that silently clogs the arteries. The ideal LDL is below 100. The second factor, B, is your HDL, the good kind that fights disease. This ideal number here is 60 or above. A plus B equals C, your total level, which in a healthy patient does not exceed 200.
Diet is not the only reason people are diagnosed with high cholesterol, but it is one of the main contributing factors. The following foods can help to naturally bring your levels to where they should be. In no particular order, the foods are salmon or fatty fish, red wine, oats, tea, margarine, beans, chocolate-this does not mean a candy bar, garlic, olive oil margarine, avocado and spinach. If you make these foods the mainstay of your diet, you can decrease the bad LDL and increase the good HDL.
As a general rule foods high in fiber and low in fatty acids are what you should be eating. Most foods that are high in fiber have little or no fatty acids. These foods, oats, beans, spinach will lower your bad cholesterol. Foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, such as certain fish, nuts and avocado will help increase your HDL, good levels.
Another simple rule is to drastically reduce the saturated fat in your diet. Reduce or eliminate your intake of red meat. Fried foods should be cut way back. Donuts and butter filled pastries are two good food items to stay away from.
Legumes are your new best friend. Soy is a healthy source of protein and easily available in variations. Any type of beans, are excellent sources of protein that will not increase your LDL. Eating to control your cholesterol levels may have the added bonus of causing weight loss. If you are overweight, eat healthy, moderate portions and exercise regularly to encourage weight loss.
Plant sterol supplements and psyllium, as found in Metamucil, will both help lower your LDL. Changing your diet and incorporating supplements and psyllium will make a difference. However, sometimes this condition is a genetic issue and statin medication is in order.
Make sure you create a food plan that you can follow indefinitely, not only for a short period of time. Have the forbidden foods occasionally, and make that indulgence worth your time. Get creative with your cooking and learn how to substitute healthy choices. Regular testing will let you know how successful you have been.
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