If your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is high, one surefire way to lower it is by altering your lifestyle by increasing exercise and changing your diet.
Eating more healthily can not only improve your cholesterol levels but it can also lower your chance of developing type 2 diabetes, a range of cancers and vascular dementia.
If you don’t know your LDL result, you can check it with DocHQ’s Cholesterol Check.
But how do you eat a diet that helps lower your LDL? DocHQ can help you write a new menu plan:
1. Eat more ‘good’ fats
Aim for healthy fats from fish, and plant-based fats from nuts, avocadoes and vegetable oils. Plants’ monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are healthy due to the fact that they lower LDL and total cholesterol, and are possibly associated with lowering chronic, low-grade inflammation that can be associated with heart disease.
2. Increase your fibre-rich food intake
Both types of fibre – soluable and insoluble – help cholesterol. Soluble fibre dissolves in water – think oats, nuts, flaxseed, beans and barley, and fruits like apples, pears and citrus fruits. This type of fibre is good in regards to cholesterol as it binds to dietary cholesterol and moves it into the large intestine to be removed.
Insoluble fibre does not dissolve in water, and also helps with cholesterol in terms of making you feel full so you aren’t tempted to eat more foods that might raise your LDL. You’ll find it in wholegrain, wheat cereals and vegetables including carrots, celery and tomatoes.
3. Cut your sugar
A diet high in sugar has been shown to trigger the liver to deposit more triglycerides into the bloodstream. If triglycerides are high, it results in the LDL particles becoming smaller and sticking to artery walls more easily. The American Heart Association recommends that women should eat no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar a day, and men 9 teaspoons.
4. Alcohol should be drunk in moderation or not at all
Studies claiming that alcohol in moderation is good for the heart should be viewed with caution. Some studies that have examined moderate drinking on health found no benefit at all, so if you regularly drink alcohol you should aim for the NHS recommend guidelines (no more than 14 units a week). If in doubt, cut it out completely to ensure your LDL is as healthy as possible.