Low Cholesterol Diet Plan: Do’s and Don’ts!
Sticking to a low cholesterol diet plan can be somewhat challenging. Choosing which foods to eat and not eat can be stressful when emphasis becomes more about foods to avoid and foods to add and less about an overall sensible dietary and lifestyle change. It is not difficult to make wise choices when a funnel cake becomes available or an all you can eat seafood buffet is passed over. However, skipping out on individual foods like notorious shrimp (which is rapidly becoming less of a cholesterol enemy) and certain kinds of meat are not the only important parts of a low cholesterol diet plan. In fact, skipping some foods may not even have a positive impact on cholesterol as intended, as Dr. David Williams notes citing a study in which a seafood diet was observed in order to monitor blood fat levels.
Instead of focusing on the elimination of certain foods, these dietary changes rather should be part of an overall positive dietary change that will lead to not only greater health, but also a potentially dramatic decline in cholesterol levels. We have compiled some common sense tips to consider that will make a low cholesterol diet plan easy, fun and successful.
1. DO: Eat as Many Fresh and Whole Foods as Possible
Everybody has to eat junk once in awhile whether that is due to time constraints, eating on the go or a lack of availability of other options. However, it is important to note that fresh foods are superior sources of vitamins and nutrients, like the ones that have been shown to lower cholesterol. Supplements are fine as part of a maintenance plan, but in terms of harnessing potency, consider fresh produce options for foods to lower cholesterol instead.
Studies have shown, for instance, that garlic (which is readily available in supplements and extracts) is phenomenally powerful in its raw form, where the compounds thought to lower cholesterol are more concentrated, according to Discovery Health. And, raw spinach retains the majority of its nutrients when enjoyed raw in a salad, including those found in other leafy green vegetables like lutein. Not only will picking fresh foods have a positive impact on cholesterol numbers, they also provide a wealth of beneficial nutrients for the whole body.
2. DO: Consider Natural and Herbal Remedies
For thousands of years, people have turned to natural remedies to heal everything from tumors to tuberculosis. While some natural remedy uses have been disproved over the years, there are some that still persist thanks to their beneficial and proven results. In terms of cholesterol reduction, there are many to choose from. Ginger for instance, a mainstay remedy for tummy aches and nausea, can also be a good addition to a low cholesterol diet plan. Dr. Mercola points out that not only does ginger have an effect on LDL levels, it also may help to stave off atherosclerosis and reduce LDL oxidation, triglyceride levels and very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) levels, per one study conducted using lab rats.
For those who are not keen on munching on ginger but choose not to partake in supplements, another option exists for natural remedy choices. Many beneficial herbs can be used to make various types of cholesterol tea. The aforementioned ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and green tea are all excellent choices for making a cholesterol tea using these spices and herbs shown to help lower cholesterol levels for women and men.
3. DO: Combine Cholesterol Reducing Foods Together for Maximum Impact
Because of the abundance of powerful natural compounds found in everyday foods, few really take full advantage of the potency that can come from putting them all together. For instance, instead of focusing on low cholesterol recipes that are merely designed to lower fat intake, instead look to creative ways to combine foods that have been shown to lower cholesterol. Pairing spinach with avocado or add cinnamon to homemade oatmeal for even more positive LDL lowering results. Many low cholesterol recipes focus solely on what you do not eat, instead of emphasizing what you should eat instead.
4. DON’T: Forget to Exercise
A low cholesterol diet plan is incredibly important, there is no debating that. However, it is abundantly more effective when paired with lifestyle changes like adding in exercise. Regular physical activity can supercharge dietary efforts and make the sacrificial dietary eliminations even more worthwhile. WebMD explains that regular exercise may reduce LDL levels by over ten percent, and can provide a boost to HDL (good cholesterol) levels by as much as twenty percent.
5. DON’T: Over Consume Sugars and Refined Simple Carbs
The cholesterol in meat has been a sore subject for protein loving peoples with high cholesterol. However, studies are pointing to other sources of elevated LDL that may have nothing to do with animal products at all. WebMD explains that the risk of decreased HDL levels can increase three fold in people with high sugar diets. And, this risk is further compounded when high sugar and high carb diets lead to increased weight, another important precursor for high cholesterol. The bottom line? Make sensible, lean protein decisions and do not negate them with a sugar loaded soda or bagels. Basically, limit sugar consumption in your low cholesterol diet plan.
6. DON’T: Skip Good Fats Trying to Avoid Bad Fats
One of the biggest parts of a low cholesterol diet plan is avoiding fat, which can be challenging. An unfortunate consequence of this however, is that by avoiding all fat without considering the different types can lead to a lack of good fats that the body needs. Monounsaturated fats, such as those found in nuts, are very beneficial and may be overlooked if the total grams of fat are all that is accounted for as part of a cholesterol diet, according to the Sun Sentinel. Consider avocados, both an excellent source of good fat and a natural choice for cholesterol reduction.