For people battling high cholesterol, choosing meals wisely can be a challenge, but it is essential. Restaurants, parties, even an office potluck may present unhealthy temptations. But simple dietary modifications can help you eliminate those unhealthy choices:
- Reduce sugar and flour. Recent research indicates that added sweeteners and flour-based carbohydrates, which are far too abundant in the American diet, are major contributors to obesity and heart disease. Be aware of the flour-based foods that may seem less obvious, such as breads, tortilla chips and cereals, as they are all high carbohydrate foods.
- Avoid trans-fat. Stay away from items that list “hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil” on the label, especially snack foods such as chips or popcorn. Try baked or air-popped versions instead.
- Use fresh garlic regularly in your meals. Garlic has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels.
- Drink green tea daily. The antioxidants in green tea help lower cholesterol and prevent the cholesterol in your blood from oxidizing.
- Eat plenty of soluble fiber. It has a powerful cholesterol-lowering effect. The best sources are beans and lentils, apples, citrus fruits, oats, barley, peas, carrots and freshly ground flaxseed.
In addition, relax. There is quite a bit of data connecting stress, both physical and emotional, to elevated cholesterol levels. We talk about relaxation a lot, but rarely do we think of it as a way to lower cholesterol.