Have you heard from the doctor that you suffer from high cholesterol? Then you probably also know that you now need to change your lifestyle and diet in order to lower your cholesterol and risk of developing heart disease. Even if you receive a prescription for a medication that helps to lower your cholesterol, you still need a change of diet and to become more active with your cardiovascular health. While it might not seem obvious, your Beaverton family dental provider also wants you to know that a heart-healthy diet can also help improve your oral health.
These easy to follow tips can help you keep your cholesterol levels in check.
The Good and the Bad
Not all types of cholesterol are bad, and, in fact, your body actually needs a small amount of cholesterol to properly function. However, when your diet includes too many saturated fats and cholesterol, it becomes easy to raise the levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, in the body.
What separates LDL from HDL, the “good” type of cholesterol, is its ability cause plaque to build up in the arteries, which leads to heart disease. HDL, however, actually helps to remove LDL from your blood, thereby lowering your risk of developing heart disease. Since you want to lower LDL levels while raising HDL levels, you need to start with your diet.
A Fist Full of Restraint
As a society, we have gotten out of control in the U.S. when it comes the size of the portions we eat at meals. In many cases, the portions severed at meals are twice the size of what a person should eat to maintain their health. Overeating during meals contributes directly to high cholesterol and weight gain. A simple way to manage the amount of food you eat during a meal is to use your hand as a measuring device.
One serving of fish or meat roughly equates to what would fit into the palm of your hand. Once serving of fresh fruit equates to roughly the size of your fist, and a serving of cooked vegetables, pasta, or rice should nestle in your hand if cupped.
Eat Heart Healthy Foods
Fill your plate with fruits and vegetables so you can enjoy five to nine servings a day will help to lower your LDL cholesterol levels. The antioxidants these types of foods contain also provide your body with an enormous benefit, as well. Filling up on fruits and vegetables is also a great way to prevent you from eating too many fatty foods that can raise your LDL levels and increase your weight and blood pressure.
Fish for Relief
When it comes to heart-healthy foods, few possess the type of all around benefits as fish. Fish contains very little saturated fat but has high levels of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which help to lower a type of fat found in your blood called triglycerides. Research also suggests that omega-3 can help to lower cholesterol, which in turn slows the growth of plaque in the arteries. For the fish that contain the highest levels of fatty acids, make sure to eat plenty of tuna, salmon, trout, and sardines. However, try to avoid eating fried fish or you’ll lose many of the healthy benefits.
Whole Grains for Breakfast
Eating a bowl of whole-grain cereal or oatmeal can offer you a number of benefits that can last the entire day. The fiber and complex carbohydrates these types of foods contain help to keep you feeling fuller for longer, which means you’ll be less tempted to snack prior to or overeat at lunch. Whole grains also reduce LDL levels and can play a vital role in any weight loss plans you have. Brown rice, barley, whole-wheat flour, and wild rice are just some examples of great whole grains.