Nearly 1 in 3 Americans have high cholesterol, which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease. There are two types of cholesterol, and it’s important to understand the impact of each on our health. “Good cholesterol” is known as high density lipoprotein (HDL), while low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is referred to as “bad cholesterol.” A diet rich in foods with LDL or saturated fat is a health concern because too much can clog your arteries with plaque, leading to heart attack or stroke. In honor of National Cholesterol Education Month, the health experts at Envolve, an integrated healthcare solutions company, are pleased to share five foods that can naturally help lower your “bad cholesterol” and keep you active and healthy.
- Opt for Oats. This versatile grain is high in soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which has been linked to lowering LDL cholesterol levels by blocking the waxy substance from entering your bloodstream. For best results, skip the instant packets of oatmeal to avoid higher doses of sugar and increase your soluble fiber intake by cooking plain oatmeal and adding fruit like strawberries and bananas as delicious toppings.
- Buy Beans. There are several kinds of beans that are high in soluble fiber and help lower your LDL cholesterol levels. These include kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and black beans, which are also great sources of fiber and protein. The best part is how easy these can be incorporated into your diet. Try a simple three bean salad by adding diced onion, celery, parsley and vinegar and oil to your kidney, garbanzo, and black beans for a delicious side dish.
- Find Fish. Tuna and other fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and trout are high in omega-3 fatty acids and have been found to increase your HDL cholesterol levels while helping remove LDL cholesterol from your system. The American Heart Association recommends eating a 3.5-ounce serving of fish two to three times per week to enjoy health benefits like lowered blood pressure and reduced risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Add Avocado. This nutrient-dense fruit is a high source of monounsaturated fat and fiber, which are two nutrients that can help lower your LDL cholesterol levels. Creamy and delicious, this superfood also provides other health benefits like improved digestion, decreased risk of depression, and protection against cancer. Instead of using butter on your morning toast, opt for a healthier alternative and cut up your avocado to use as a yummy spread. Avocado oil is another great alternative that carries the same health benefits.
- Pick Pistachios. Many nuts provide nutritional value, and pistachios are no different. This powerhouse contains a high amount of unsaturated fat, which increases HDL cholesterol levels and helps lower LDL levels. They are also a great source of protein, fiber, and antioxidants that help improve heart disease risk factors like having high blood pressure and being overweight. On top of all that, they also provide essential nutrients like potassium, thiamine, and Vitamin B6.
About Envolve, Inc.®
Envolve, Inc.® is a family of health solutions, working together to make healthcare simpler, more effective and more accessible for everyone. As an agent for change in healthcare, Envolve is committed to transforming the health of the community, one person at a time. For more information, please visit our website www.envolvehealth.com.