5 easy ways to lower your cholesterol
By Brittany Anas
You may have marked Labor Day and Grandparent’s Day on your September calendar. But did you know it’s also National Cholesterol Awareness Month? More than 65 million Americans are affected by high cholesterol.
First, the good about cholesterol (because it’s got a pretty bad reputation). You need it to build healthy cells, help your body digest food and absorb fat. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics tells us cholesterol can even aid in bone building.
But, too much cholesterol can lead to the build up of fatty deposits in your blood vessels that limit blood flow to the arteries. Blocked arteries can lead to a heart attack.
The best way to celebrate National Cholesterol Awareness Month is to get your cholesterol levels checked.
Here are a few other ways you can work to make sure you have healthy cholesterol levels — not just in September, but year round.
- Take a daily vitamin. The Only Natural Grapefruit Cholesterol Fighter helps reduce cholesterol. The vitamin was formulated after research found grapefruit pectin and grapefruit rinds combined with water soluble fiber could reduce cholesterol levels. Get 100 tablets for $9 at Drugstore.com and get an extra 5 percent Cash Back from ShopAtHome.com.
- When you’re grocery shopping, choose leaner meats, poultry and fish. When you’re in the dairy section, opt for low-fat and fat-free dairy products to trim fat grams from your diet.
- Eat egg whites. Try to avoid the yolk because it contains all of the egg’s cholesterol — which equates to about 185 milligrams in a large egg, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. When you’re baking cakes or pancakes or a recipe calls for eggs in a batter, substitute two egg whites for one whole egg.
- Eat a fiber-rich diet. Start your day with steel-cut oats. Eat fruits or veggies with every meal and go for the crisper when you’re looking for a snack. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain antioxidants that are good for your heart and a fiber-rich diet can help lower your cholesterol.
- Eat fish at least a couple of times a week. The omega-3 fatty acids are good for your heart and can help drive down your blood pressure. Fish that have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, halibut, trout, mackerel, sardines, herring and Albacore tuna.
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