Chances are good that either you or someone you love is struggling with high cholesterol right now. Over 40% of Americans have elevated cholesterol, putting them at increased risk for heart attack and stroke, not to mention gallstones, liver disease, and severe digestive issues. It doesn’t have to be that way, and it doesn’t require a prescription to make a significant change!
The most effective way to improve your cholesterol levels is to make some easy additions to your diet. Click to tweet
LDL and HDL each affect your body differently. Part 1 of this series breaks it all down into short, simple language that you don’t need a medical degree to understand. (If you haven’t read it yet, take 5 minutes to check it out.)
Once you have a picture in your head of how cholesterol looks and works, it’s clear why you need fewer small, dense particles of LDL and more big, fluffy particles of HDL. (If that sounds confusing, it’s because you didn’t read Part 1. You will always be your own best health detective, so go read it!)
The fastest road to better cholesterol levels is by changing your diet 2 ways:
- Eat more fiber. Soluble fiber blocks your body’s ability to absorb cholesterol, and a little goes a long way! Just 3g of soluble fiber a day can lower your LDL by 5-10% and give your HDL a boost.
Wild rice, beans, and freshly ground flaxseed are all great options to raise your fiber intake. Fruit and veggie superstars in the fiber world include citrus, apples, raspberries, kale, spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and asparagus. (Other fruits and grains also have fiber, but the megadoses of sugar they provide make them a health risk in their own right…)I love Brussels sprouts and broccoli, but if bowls of veggies aren’t your idea of a good time, there are other choices. An easy one is to add a high-quality fiber supplement to your morning protein shake. Plant-Based All-In-One protein powder and Extra Fiber can help cover your nutrient and fiber bases. (Just remember, FRESH is always BEST, so don’t count on fiber supplements to do the whole job!)
- Get more omega-3s. Omega-3s are healthy fats that achieve the magic cholesterol combo of lowering your LDL and raising HDL. Omega-3s are naturally abundant in wild-caught fish like salmon, halibut, and sardines. (Check out some great fish recipes here!) You can also get omega-3s by adding chia seeds, extra virgin olive oil, or slow-roasted almonds and walnuts to your diet.
Remember that list of veggies in the fiber section? They all have omega-3s in them too! (It’s almost like nature is trying to tell you something…) One of my favorite omega-3 rockstars is avocados. They’re heaven for your cholesterol levels, and your waistline and tastebuds will also thank you!
If you don’t eat wild-caught fish and green veggies regularly, there are always options… It may be time to add a smart supplement. Omega Ultra is a highly potent, non-GMO fish oil made from certified sustainable, US-caught, wild Alaskan fish. It’s got an impressive 1,000 mg of omega-3s per softgel, and none of the rancid aftertaste and fishy burps of drugstore brands!
If your cholesterol is a problem, these 2 simple shifts in diet – more fiber and extra omega-3s – can make a huge difference!
Lastly, an important note about statins (drugs designed to lower cholesterol levels). While it’s true that statins lower cholesterol, recent studies prove they do so by eliminating the big, fluffy particles of LDL rather than the dangerous small, dense particles of LDL.1 So while your numbers may improve after taking statins, your risk of heart disease and stroke may not be any lower… food for thought.
(Want one more quick, delicious way to up your fiber intake? Try Dark Chocolate Coconut Fiber Bars. They taste like dessert, have a whopping 11g of fiber in every bar, and only contain 1g of sugar. A treat that does your cholesterol levels a favor AND helps you feel full and satisfied? Yes, please!)