Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects more than 100 million people in the United States! Managing diabetes or prediabetes is difficult on its own but these conditions also increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. November is National Diabetes Month, an annual observance dedicated to raising awareness about diabetes. This month, make
5 Foods that Help Lower Your Cholesterol
When your cholesterol levels aren’t healthy, your risk for heart disease and other chronic health complications increases significantly.
In addition to routine, in-office cholesterol checks, the team customizes a treatment plan that focuses on the lifestyle and dietary changes you need to make to keep your heart healthy and your body strong.
Here’s what you need to know about good and bad cholesterol and which foods can help lower your cholesterol.
What you should know about cholesterol
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that travels through your blood and plays a role in the building of healthy cells and the production of hormones. Your liver produces the cholesterol your body needs to function, but you also get cholesterol from the foods you eat.
There are both “good” and “bad” types of cholesterol. The primary difference between the two involves the types of proteins that attach to the cholesterol as it moves through your bloodstream. This combination of cholesterol and the attached protein forms a lipoprotein.
Good cholesterol is a high-density lipoprotein (HDL) that picks up bad cholesterol from your blood and takes it back to your liver.
Bad cholesterol is a low-density lipoprotein (LDL) that can build up in your blood vessels. This buildup causes the vessels to become narrow and hard, which makes it difficult for blood to circulate to and from your heart.
Because there are no symptoms associated with high blood cholesterol, the only way you can know if you have the condition is through a blood test.
At HeartCare Associates of Connecticut, LLC, we offer the convenience of on-site testing, so you can find out your cholesterol levels quickly.
Eating for heart health
For some people with chronically high cholesterol levels, medication is needed to keep cholesterol levels under control.
However, you may be able to lower your cholesterol levels naturally by quitting smoking, exercising daily, and eating a healthy diet.
Dietary changes can be crucial in controlling cholesterol without medications. Here are five foods that can effectively lower your cholesterol levels:
Avocados provide a good source of fiber and monounsaturated fats, both of which raise your good cholesterol while lowering your bad cholesterol levels.
Several types of nuts are beneficial to cholesterol control, including walnuts and almonds. Nuts contain phytosterols, plant compounds that are structurally similar to cholesterol in your body. The phytosterols help block the absorption of bad cholesterol into your intestines.
Many nuts also contain essential minerals, like calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which protect your heart health by lowering your blood pressure.
Salmon and other fatty fishes contain omega-3 fatty acids that increase your good cholesterol levels. These fatty acids also protect your heart by reducing inflammation in your body to prevent heart disease and the risk for stroke.
Fresh vegetables are important in your overall diet. They are high in antioxidants and fiber but low in calories to help you maintain a healthy body weight.
Carrots, potatoes, and eggplants are rich in pectin, a soluble fiber that can lower bad cholesterol and protect the health and function of your heart. Dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale can also lower your cholesterol levels.
5. Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate and the cocoa used to make it are both effective at lowering bad cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.
Because many chocolate bars are high in sugar, which isn’t good for your heart health, you should only indulge in a few pieces of dark chocolate that has a cocoa content of 75% or higher.
It’s time to take care of your heart
If you’ve never had your cholesterol levels checked, it’s time to schedule an appointment with the team at HeartCare Associates of Connecticut, LLC.
We can do a cholesterol test in the office and give you results on the spot. You can make an appointment today by calling the office nearest you.
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