Which foods can raise good cholesterol levels and at the same time be healthy for your heart? These days we have enough warnings telling us that no matter how delicious the food is, resist temptation and avoid that cheese burger, sausage or french fries. Also think twice about picking up that pie or having an extra scoop of ice cream. All these foods have a high content of saturated fat which can raise your cholesterol level to unhealthy which could lead to some health issues.
We know that the extensive research done world-wide proves that a healthy diet is most definitely the best line of defense against high cholesterol levels. The American Dietetic Association recommends eating a predominantly a plant-based diet which should include plenty of fruits and vegetables and some fish. Following this simple diet should keep your cholesterol levels in check. The good news is that there are some foods that can raise your good cholesterol level. These foods can raise good cholesterol levels and lower the bad cholesterol in the blood. Usually a total cholesterol below 200 is ideal. Medical doctors recommend that the bad cholesterol or LDL be below 110 and the good one or HDL be greater than 35.
So what foods are good to eat and get those numbers in check? Foods high in fiber are a must. There are two kinds of fiber soluble and insoluble. The soluble fiber helps lower cholesterol and the insoluble fiber aids in keeping the digestive system regular. An apple is a good source of fiber since it has both types. The soluble fiber is found in the pulp and the insoluble one is found in the skin.
So what other foods are there that can raise cholesterol? Eating products made of grain is very beneficial to heart health. The goal is to eat six or more servings daily. Grain products include oatmeal, bread, rice bran, barley and pasta. There is no doubt that you have seen many advertisements about how people have been able to improve on their cholesterol numbers by eating oatmeal. This is because oatmeal is rich in soluble fiber. The soluble fiber binds to bile acid which forms just before any cholesterol is manufactured in the body and then flushes it out. The instant cholesterol or the traditional version work equally well.
Grandma and mum were not wrong when they insisted you finish your vegetables. A variety of fruit and vegetables to include five or more serving will yield optimal results for cholesterol. Beans and peas are high in soluble fiber and can also help raise cholesterol levels. Soybeans, soy nuts and edamame is especially beneficial in reducing LDL numbers. Products like tofu and soy milk made from soy must be consumed as well. Be sure to aim for about 25 grams of soy protein daily. However, those people who are at a high risk of breast or prostate cancer should not consume soy. Soy has a chemical called phyto-estrogen and which can easily mimic estrogen in the human body, which can in some instances provide nourishment to hormone dependent tumors.
Nuts and seeds are some foods that can raise cholesterol levels. The key to remember is to consume it in limited amounts. Many studies have found that eating just one-quarter cup of almonds daily can lower your LDL by as much as 4.5 percent. Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats and is a better choice compared to pretzels. Almonds however, are high in calories so should only be eaten in small portions. The best kind is the dry roasted one that has no oil.
Eat limited amount of meat and choose lean meats. When consuming poultry make sure it is and limit quantities to no more than six ounces per day. Fatty fish is good to eat as it is low in saturated fat. Fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel also have high amounts of healthy omega 3 fatty acids. This fatty acid is one of the good fats and is found in tuna, salmon and halibut. Surprisingly, crawfish and shrimp which have high cholesterol compared to most seafood, have less fat than red meat and poultry. Most dietician recommend eating fish twice a week either grilled or baked. Walnuts and flaxseed also contain omega 3 fatty acids. Fish oil supplements will also give the same benefit as eating a 4 ounce piece of salmon.
Furthermore use unsaturated vegetable oils such as canola, corn or olive oil. Sunflower and soybean oils can also be used.
Plants contain two chemicals called stanols and sterols. These are very similar to soluble fiber as they absorb cholesterol from the digestive system. The chemicals are found in soybean and pine tree oils. These days it is found in some margarines and some orange juice.
Believe it or not a glass of red wine can help lower LDL cholesterol. The red wine has flavanols which has anti inflammatory properties and ward off heart disease. Be cautious here though, more is most definitely not better. Women can drink one glass for optimal results and men two. The flavanols are found in grape juice and dark cocoa.
Now that you know which foods that can raise good cholesterol, begin your new diet and see the results to a better happy heart health.