As we age, it’s important to monitor our cholesterol levels with simple blood tests. High cholesterol levels, left unchecked, can result in heart disease and, maybe worse, stroke. Luckily, if you get screened annually, any rises in your cholesterol levels will be discovered early enough for you to be able to control them in a more natural way. If your doctor has suggested that you start watching what you eat, here’s how to do it in five easy steps:
Every great day starts with a good breakfast. People who eat breakfast are more energetic throughout the day and just feel better overall. If you have high cholesterol, the start of your day should include a healthy bowl of oatmeal. Keep in mind that “oatmeal” doesn’t mean the sugary, for-kids variety, but good, old-fashioned oats. If you want to add treats to your breakfast, add chopped banana, a few apple chunks, or even prunes. All of these foods are high in fiber and will absorb cholesterol before your intestines do.
The more often you eat, the lower your cholesterol levels. Clearly, this doesn’t mean eating six, small meals filled with fatty foods each day. Instead, consider healthier alternatives and consume them frequently. Foods like fruits and vegetables make great, small meals. Add a handful of nuts or seeds and you’ve not only turned your diet onto its healthy head, but you’ll be speeding up your metabolism while you lower your cholesterol.
3.Skip the Dressing
Salads are great for you in their bare-naked state. It’s when we add cheese, bacon bits, and fatty dressings that these healthy meals become disasters. Instead of adding a fatty, pre-made dressing to your salad, make your own dressing with olive oil and seasonings. Olive oil contains high amounts of antioxidants and monounsaturated fat. Consuming just two tablespoons of olive oil each day, according to the FDA, can reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
4.Get Your Omegas
If you want to lower your cholesterol, look for foods that are high in omega-3s. These foods are healthy sources of unsaturated fats which will help to lower your cholesterol levels. Be careful not to overdo it; a serving of salmon, tuna, halibut, or mackerel two nights per week is just the right amount. On other days, eat six or seven walnuts as a snack. Paying attention to your omegas will help you lower your cholesterol naturally.
5.The Right Spread
If you like butter and margarine, it’s time to pay attention to what you’re buying. You can no longer buy the first tub that’s on sale. Instead, look for margarine that contains phytosterols. You can easily find margarine that is fortified with phytosterols in the dairy aisle of your local grocery store. Use the margarine to coat your bagel or multi-grain toast in the morning.
If you catch your cholesterol before it gets out of hand, it’s easy to control with the right changes in your diet. If you make the five changes listed above, you’ll find that the next time your doctor tests your cholesterol levels; they’ll be closer to normal. If you have to take medication to control your cholesterol levels, making these changes will still help you in the long run.