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Better Living Author March 26, 2019

Foods That Help Lower Your Cholesterol Level: Meal Preparation as Part of Home Care Services


What is cholesterol?

It is a lipid that is found in all cells of the body. Cholesterol is actually something your body needs. It is needed to produce certain hormones, Vitamin D and substances that help in the digestion of our food. This in itself shows, contrary to popular belief, that cholesterol is not evil.

Although it is present in many of the foods we eat, wedo not really need any additional cholesterol as our liver produces all the cholesterol our body requires on a daily basis. Cholesterol is a substance that cannot dissolve in blood and must be transported throughout our body. It is transported by “carriers” known as lipoproteins. Our body contains two primary types of lipoproteins: High-density lipoprotein (HDL) and Low-density lipoprotein (LDL).Numerous people refer to LDL cholesterol as “bad cholesterol”, while HDL is the “good cholesterol”.

Do you know your blood cholesterol level? If you don’t, ask your family doctor to check it.

What is the difference between LDL and HDL?

LDL cholesterol is a kind of cholesterol that contributes to the formation of plaque (thick, hard deposits) in artery walls. These deposits make the arteries less flexible, causing atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis can restrict blood flow and lead to more serious problems such as heart attack or stroke. An LDL cholesterol level of 190 mg/dL or more is considered extremely high. The higher your bad cholesterol level is, the greater your risk for heart disease.

HDL cholesterol is the “good cholesterol” because it removes other forms of cholesterol from the arteries and returns it to our liver, where it can be used or excreted from our body.

One of the ways to reduce the risk of having coronary artery disease is by treating abnormal cholesterol levels in the blood. This can be accomplished by doing lifestyle modifications, participating in regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and most importantly, consuming a heart-healthy diet.

Here are some healthy foods that you can add to your diet to lower your LDL levels naturally:

  • Oats – Oats are a top source of soluble fiber. The roughage is not well absorbed by our intestine, so it binds to cholesterol in the blood and helps remove it from our body.
  • Fatty Fish - Aim to eat at least two 3.5-ounce servings of fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, trout, or herring per week. The omega-3 fatty acids found in these fishes can help improve your triglycerides—a type of cholesterol-like fat found in the blood that can cause your arteries to become hard or thick.
  • Nuts - Nuts not only contain fiber, but also contain the good fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, which help lower triglyceride levels, increase HDL (good) cholesterol, and help lower LDL.
  • Dark chocolate – It contains flavonoids and antioxidants, which help reduce the toxicity of any LDL that is around. For LDL to be incorporated into blood vessel walls, it has to be oxidized first.
  • Kale - This leafy vegetable has been shown to bind to bile acid. That helps the liver burn more fat, which in turn lowers cholesterol.
  • Apples- This fruit is one of the best sources of pectin, a type of fiber that’s been shown to lower levels of LDL cholesterol. They are also full of antioxidants which can help keep LDL cholesterol from oxidizing, which can cause arteries to become inflamed and clogged.
  • Beans - Beans contain soluble fibre that helps to optimize digestion and keep weight and cholesterol down.

Better Living Home Care Services' caregivers can help you with preparing heart-healthy meals and making smart food choices to decrease your cholesterol number. If you are finding yourself having trouble managing your nutritional needs on your own, we would love to help you explore your options regarding home care assistance. We provide home care services ranging from personal care, respite care, nursing care to end-of-life care. Call our Client Care Coordinator at (604) 765-1827 to find more information.

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