Maintaining good health requires proper cholesterol management, especially for those with high levels. According to nutritionist Nikita Kapur, five simple and healthy dietary changes can significantly lower blood cholesterol levels.
The high levels of cholesterol can increase the risk of developing cardio-metabolic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in and on the walls of arteries). A high level of LDL cholesterol may put the body at risk for complications, which are often genetically determined but can also be influenced by diet and other factors.
You can lower your cholesterol by eating fish, seeds, and oils rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and there are five more changes you can make today to lower your cholesterol.
Replace sugary cereals with a fiber-rich alternative
Instead of reaching for colorful cereals full of sugar, try breakfast alternatives, which contain more fiber and less sugar.
"Plain, old-school Cheerios we know have very high concentrations of oats," she said. "And then oats have a lot of beta-glucan and fiber that can be beneficial for reducing cholesterol."
Replace white rice with brown rice
Those who eat white rice should switch to brown or alternatives that have higher nutritional value, such as farro, barley or quinoa.
"Bean-based pastas and whole grain-based pastas do have more protein," she said.
Include at least one plant-based meal a day
Plant-based nutrition is a new trend, which is positive for those who want to watch their diet.
Bean and tofu products should be the focus of consumers, Kapur says, and advises eating one plant-based meal a day to lower cholesterol. "You can still eat animal protein, but make room for plant-based nutrients," he says.
Try the seeds if you don't like fish
Although fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which is great for cholesterol management, not everyone likes it. Kapur, therefore, suggests replacing fish with a variety of nuts and seeds such as flax, chia, hemp, sesame, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds, as well as almonds and walnuts.
And for those who don't want to spend a fortune on fish, he advises sardines and mackerel, which are more affordable and available in most stores.
Replace regular peanut butter with unsalted nut butter
It would be good to replace the peanut butter with any type of nut butter - from peanut, almond, sunflower, and others, or unsalted nut butter without added sugar.
"An easier way to organically focus on making sure that quantity is not an issue is by eating a wide variety of foods, making sure that you are eating consistently and balancing your meals." she emphasised.