Snack Of Nuts
It seems backward, since nuts are fatty, but they really are good for your cholesterol, thanks in part to the cholesterol-lowering monounsaturated fats they contain. Choosing almonds instead of doughnut, chips, or pretzels for your afternoon snack every day could cut “bad” cholesterol by nearly 10 percent. A bonus: Vitamin E in the almond’s “meat” the first step in the development of artery-clogging plaque.
Want to raise your HDL at the same time? Choose walnuts. Bad cholesterol fell 10 percent and good cholesterol rose 18 percent when 58 women and men in one study snacked on about 14 walnuts haves a day for six months.
Nuts are high in calories, so be smart about portions. A 0.5 ounce, 90-calorie serving is about 12 almonds, 8 whole cashews, 8 pecans, 26 pistachios, or 7 walnut halves. Double that for a 180-calorie serving. One great portion-control trick: Stash 22 almonds in a metal breath-mint box and munch them instead of a candy bar at work.
Feast On Fruit, Double Your Vegetables
Filling up on produce by aiming for nine servings of fruit and vegetables a day can reduce your LDL by as much as 7 percent. Researchers aren’t sure why, but it could be because of soluble fiber, which blocks the re-absorption of cholesterol found in the bile acids (digestive juices) that make their way into your intestines. This effectively lowers your LDL levels. Apples, pears, and prunes are all good sources of soluble fiber. Or it could be even simpler: people who eat more produce probably eat fewer fatty meats, snacks, and desserts.
Get Moving To Boost Good Cholesterol
Recently, doctors have discovered that having high levels of good cholesterol is every bit as important as having low levels of the bad stuff. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of effective ways to increase your HDL – but exercise is one of them! Aerobic exercise, whether it’s walking, swimming, biking, or even working hard in your garden, can raise HDL by 5 to 10 percent. If you’re also following a healthy diet, adding exercise can nudge LDL down 3 to 16 point, other studies suggest. A recent Japanese study of 1,400 people found that those who got 40 minutes of brisk walking four times a week raised their HDL by 2 points – enough to lower heart disease risk by about 6 percent. For raising HDL, longer workouts are better than several short ones.
Women: Lift One Glass. Men: Have Up To Two
Studies suggest that people who drink alcohol in moderation (one drink per day for women and up to two for men) get double cholesterol benefit. In one study, a glass a day lowered LDL nearly 8 points. Drinking moderately also increases HDL; in one Dutch study, HDL rose b y a respectable 7 percent.
Trim Your Personal Fat Zones
Losing about 6 percent of your body weight (about 11 pounds it you now weight 180) could lower your LDL by 12 percent and raise your HDL by 18 percent, researchers say. The best pounds-off strategy for making your cholesterol numbers healthier? A moderate-fat diet with lots of fruit, vegetables and unsaturated fat from fish, nuts, and olive and canola oils. Skip extremely low-fat diets. While research shows that they can make plaque in arteries shrink, they’re impossibly difficult for most people to follow. And plenty of studies show that a moderate-fat diet not only protects your thicker well but is also much more pleasurable.
Nudge Your LDL Lower With Sterols And Stanols
These natural compounds, found in many cholesterol-lowering fortified foods like margarines and orange juice, block the absorption of some cholesterol in your intestines. In one study, people with normal cholesterol in your intestines. In one study, people with normal cholesterol levels who used margarines fortified with sterols and stanols saw their bad cholesterol decrease 7 to 11 percent after three months. Experts recommend getting up to two grams of sterols and stanols a day, about the amount in 2 /12 tablespoons of fortified orange juice. Eat an extra serving g of red, yellow, or orange fruit or vegetables a day if you use these cholesterol-lowering products; they can reduce absorption of heart-friendly compounds called carotenoids from the foods you eat.
Don’t worry (too much) about cholesterol in food. Studies show that most people, foods like whole eggs and even shrimp won’t raise bad cholesterol. Harvard researchers have found, for example, that eating up to seven eggs a week doesn’t raise LDL levels. And despite the fact that 12 large shrimp deliver 200 milligrams of cholesterol, a Rockefeller University study found that people who ate shrimp did raise their LDL slightly, but their cholesterol ratios improved because HDL rose even higher and triglycerides fell.