Understanding the Role of Diet in Managing Cholesterol Levels and Health
Having healthy cholesterol levels is essential to achieving optimal overall health. Diet plays an important role in managing cholesterol levels, as certain foods can improve them and reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease.
The Benefits of Eating Healthy Fats
Your body needs fat to survive and it’s important to get the right type of dietary fat. Eating trans fat and saturated fat can increase your cholesterol levels and contribute to heart disease risk. Replacing these unhealthy fats with healthy fats such as monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats can be beneficial for your cholesterol levels and for your overall health. Foods such as olives, avocados, non-deep-fried fish, peanut butter, and sunflower seeds are good sources of healthy fats.
Fiber-Rich Foods and Cholesterol Management
Fiber is a type of carb that helps your body remove excess cholesterol. Eating fiber-rich foods like oatmeal, beans, peas, and oft-maligned vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts can help improve cholesterol levels. Research shows that soluble fiber in particular can help reduce LDL cholesterol, so make sure to incorporate plenty of soluble fiber-rich foods in your diet.
The Role of Plant Sterols and Stanols
Plant sterols and stanols are substances found naturally in certain plants that can help block the absorption of cholesterol in your gut. They are also found in certain juices and margarines. Eating them can reduce cholesterol levels and help reduce cardiovascular risk.
The Bottom Line
Making changes to your diet can help improve your cholesterol and heart health. Look for foods that are high in healthy fats, fiber, and plant sterols and stanols to improve cholesterol levels and support your overall health. These dietary changes combined with regular physical activity can have a powerful effect on your health.