High Cholesterol Levels

Managing High Cholesterol Levels with Diet and Nutrients

Managing High Cholesterol Levels with Diet and Nutrients

What is High Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in your blood. While your body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells, having high levels of cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Vitamins and Minerals that Can Help:

  • Fiber: Soluble fiber helps lower LDL cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol). Good sources of fiber include oats, barley, beans, lentils, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3): Niacin can lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides while raising HDL cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol). It can be found in fish, poultry, nuts, and whole grains.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These healthy fats can lower triglycerides and reduce inflammation. Sources include fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines), walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds.
  • Plant Sterols and Stanols: These compounds block the absorption of cholesterol from food. They are found in fortified foods and supplements.
  • Garlic: Contains allicin, which may lower cholesterol levels. It can be added to various dishes or taken as a supplement.

Foods to Include in Your Diet:

  • Fruits: Berries, oranges, apples
  • Vegetables: Spinach, kale, broccoli, carrots
  • Whole grains: Oats, barley, quinoa, whole wheat bread
  • Lean proteins: Fish, skinless poultry, tofu
  • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds
  • Legumes: Beans, lentils, chickpeas

Foods to Avoid or Limit:

  • Saturated and trans fats: Butter, cheese, red meat, fried foods
  • Processed foods: Chips, cookies, pastries
  • High-cholesterol foods: Egg yolks, organ meats (liver, kidney)
  • Added sugars: Soda, candy, desserts
  • Excessive alcohol: Limit alcohol consumption to moderate levels

Note: Always consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet, especially if you have existing health conditions or are taking medications.