It’s not news that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial as you age. Keeping your blood pressure, cholesterol, and other markers of good health in check is especially important as you get older. That’s why it’s no surprise that high blood cholesterol is often referred to as the “silver bullet” of aging. Even though it’s generally accepted that elevated levels of LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol are a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, most people don’t which high cholesterol foods to consume less of.
What is High Cholesterol?
High cholesterol levels are commonly referred to as “hyperlipidemia,” and they occur when the body produces too much “bad” cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is responsible for plaque build-up in arteries, which is why high LDL is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol. As you get older, LDL cholesterol tends to increase as your body changes in order to protect your heart. LDL cholesterol is an essential part of the body’s immune system and is actually necessary for keeping your immune system healthy too.
Foods That Raise Blood Cholesterol
Fried foods are a no-no when it comes to lowering your cholesterol. Fried foods contain trans-fat, which has been linked to a significantly increased risk for heart disease. Red meat and particularly processed meats such as bacon, sausage, and steak, is one of the most significant sources of LDL cholesterol. Butter contains saturated fat, which is linked to high blood cholesterol. While it’s often recommended to replace butter with ghee or olive oil, you should be careful because these are also high in calories.
Foods That Lower Blood Cholesterol
Salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help lower your cholesterol. One study found that participants who ate 1.5 ounces of walnuts every day for 6 weeks experienced significant reductions in their cholesterol levels. Similarly, in another study eating 2 eggs a day for 6 weeks resulted in a 17% increase in LDL cholesterol and a 25% decrease in HDL cholesterol. Thus, walnuts and eggs may be good additions to your diet.
Tips for Reducing Your Blood Cholesterol
The best way to reduce your LDL cholesterol is by eating whole grains like brown rice, barley, and whole wheat bread and by adding more fiber to your diet as it can bind with and eliminate LDL cholesterol. It’s a good practice to avoid excess sugar as it not only raises your blood cholesterol but also messes with your insulin levels. Finally, do remember that herbs and spices don’t just add flavor! Garlic, turmeric, and cinnamon have been linked to helping with cholesterol and blood pressure regulation.
Your arteries are like a garden, and bad cholesterol is akin to a weed. If you want to keep your garden clean and healthy, you need to take care of the weeds, and that means lowering your LDL cholesterol. Fortunately, there are plenty of foods you can eat to reduce your LDL cholesterol and improve your health. Nutritious meal plans by professionals are recommended for best results.