Five Fast Ways to Move Cholesterol Numbers in the Right Direction
Straightforward lifestyle changes can make big differences. Here’s a look at some that can help if your cholesterol numbers are heading the wrong way.
Focus on fruits and vegetables. Aim for three cups of vegetables and two cups of fruit every day. Why: They are loaded with antioxidants that can reduce the risk of cholesterol sticking inside your arteries.
Go with whole grains. Choose whole grains like 100-percent whole-wheat breads and pasta, brown rice, quinoa and oats. But still be mindful of serving size. Why: Whole grains along with beans and lentils are a great source of soluble fiber which can help bind and remove the cholesterol your body makes naturally.
Stick with lean meats. Incorporate more plant based protein (quinoa, soy, beans, lentils, and nuts/seeds), skinless turkey and chicken, fish, and some lean cuts of pork and beef. Why: Limiting the saturated fat from animal products can help reduce inflammation and lower LDL cholesterol.
Be picky with fats. Stick to unsaturated fats like those in olive oil, canola oil, nuts/seeds, avocados, fatty fish (tuna, salmon, herring), and flaxseed. Why: Manipulating the types of fat you bring into the body can help change the types of fat in your body (lowering LDL and raising HDL).
Add more movement, more often. Move more than you are now (follow all precautions and restrictions given by your physician). Why: Exercise is not only good for the heart muscle itself, but can also help to raise HDL cholesterol.
Try this healthy recipe created with these tips in mind.
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
- 2 cups water
- 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas (garbanzo beans) rinsed and drained
- 1 medium cucumber, seeded and chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 1 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup lemon juice (from 2-3 lemons)
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Bring water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add quinoa. Cover and reduce heat, simmering for 15 minutes or water has absorbed. Let rest 5 minutes.
- In a large serving bowl, combine chickpeas, cucumber, bell pepper, onion, and parsley. Set aside.
- In a small bowl combine olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic and salt and pepper. Whisk until blended, then set aside.
- Once quinoa is mostly cool, add to serving bowl and drizzle the dressing on top. Toss until the mixtures are thoroughly combined.
Note: This salad will last up to four days tightly covered in the refrigerator.