High cholesterol is one of the leading contributors to high blood pressure and heart disease. The problem is that people don’t seem to understand it.
There are two types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, and high-density lipoprotein, or HDL. LDL is considered “bad” cholesterol, whereas HDL is “good.”
The difference is that one type of LDL cholesterol – and there are a few types – can accumulate along arterial walls, stiffening blood vessels and impairing blood flow. That’s how it boosts blood pressure and poses a risk to heart health.
HDL, on the other hand, helps remove LDL and is a negative risk factor for heart disease (which means it’s good for your heart).
Although your body produces cholesterol naturally – you need it to survive – too much LDL can be dangerous.
Your diet only makes up about 20 percent of your body’s cholesterol, but it can play a major role in cholesterol production. Nutrition is a key element in managing cholesterol levels.
A brief rule to consider is that high-sugar foods do disastrous things to cholesterol levels. Sugar prompts your liver to manufacture “bad” LDL and pump it through your bloodstream, where it can accumulate to form plaques along your arteries.
Here are some foods that can help fight high cholesterol, promote healthy cholesterol levels, and even clean LDL deposits from your blood vessels.
Oats: Whole grains, like oats, are great for cholesterol management. They are high in fiber, which can remove LDL, and other nutrients that promote heart health.
Eggs: Although eggs themselves are rather high in cholesterol, they do not boost cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. They are highly nutritious and are considered nature’s multivitamin.
Olive Oil: Unsaturated fat, like olive oil, is another tool to help you lower cholesterol. It is a primary food in the Mediterranean diet and can be used on salad dressings, as a dip, or to cook.
Spinach: Dark leafy greens are packed with nutrients and fiber that can contribute to improved cholesterol levels.
Walnuts: Nuts are a great snack for people concerned about cholesterol levels. Walnuts, however, might be the absolute best option because they feature omega-3 fatty acids, which can boost “good” HDL levels.
Avocado: Avocado is high in monounsaturated fats (good), fiber, and fat-soluble vitamins that can help regulate cholesterol.
Blueberries: All berries are a good fiber-rich and nutrient-dense snack that can have a positive impact on cholesterol and heart health