Great Food Choices to Help Lower Cholesterol
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 20, 2013
Could you be making better food choices to maintain heart health? Including certain foods into your diet on a
regular basis can help keep cholesterol numbers in check. February is American Heart Health Month and a
healthy diet is one of the important lifestyle measures that affect cholesterol
numbers. Overall, a diet lower in total
fat, and particularly saturated fat and trans fat help promote heart
health. Saturated fat is found in full
fat dairy products, meat and some oil and solid fats, including butter and lard,
as well as foods made with these added fats. Trans fats found in stick
margarines and some commercially made cookies, cakes and crackers are
especially bad for raising our "bad" cholesterol (LDL). Eating a heart healthy diet should go hand
in hand with other healthy lifestyle measures such as avoiding tobacco
products, maintaining a healthy weight, reducing stress and getting regular physical
Think about adding these items to your grocery list to help boost your
intake of heart healthy foods:
especially almonds and walnuts. Eating a
handful of nuts (about 1 to 1.5 ounces) is a good way to replace unhealthy fats
with healthy fats found in nuts. Buy nuts that do not have added salt or sugar.
Nuts are packed with calories, so keep serving sizes small. Think about
replacing other less healthy fats such as meat or cheese on a salad with a
handful of nuts.
canola, and peanut oil - Like nuts, these oils are heart healthy and help
lower bad cholesterol without lowering good cholesterol. Substitute these oils in place of other
unhealthy fats in the diet such as stick margarine, butter and lard. Choose extra-virgin olive oil to get the most
cholesterol lowering effect.
Extra-virgin olive oil is less processed and contains antioxidants.
omega-3 fatty acids - Fatty fish
such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, lake trout, albacore tuna, halibut and
herring are high in omega-3 fatty acids These are essential fats that the body
needs but does not make, and must get through food. Certain omega-3 fatty acids have been shown
to beneficial to both healthy people and those who already have cardiovascular
disease. The American Heart Association recommends 2 servings per week of these
heart healthy fish.
fiber – Soluble fiber reduces "bad" cholesterol or LDL cholesterol. Oatmeal is a good source of soluble fiber and
if you prefer a cold cereal choose one made with oat bran or oatmeal. Good
sources of soluble fiber are oatmeal, oat bran, nuts, seeds, beans, dried peas,
legumes, lentils strawberries and blueberries. For a change try steel cut oats with
blueberries and walnuts.
with added plant sterols or stanols – A few foods on the market are
fortified with plant stanols or sterols.
These are substances occurring in plants that block the absorption of
cholesterol. Consuming 2 grams per day
of plant stanol or sterols from eating or drinking fortified food products may
reduce "bad" LDL cholesterol by 10 percent.
Soft tub margarines, orange juice, yogurt drinks and granola bars are
some of the products fortified with plant stanol or sterols. Foods in these categories that are fortified
with plant stanol or sterol esters will be labeled as containing this
cholesterol lowering substance.
and vegetables – Half of our plate should be filled with fruits and
vegetables. Fresh, frozen or low sodium
canned vegetables are the best choices. Fruit should be fresh or if frozen or
canned – without sugar added. Filling up
on fruits and vegetables helps decrease our intake of less healthy foods.
Visit the American Heart Association web site at http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/ to learn more about reducing the risk of
heart disease. The American Heart
Association web site has great recipes available to help get you started eating