When I was in my mid-twenties my cholesterol was through the roof. I was young and really had no idea just how much danger I was in until my doctor explained my dire state. I wasn't sold on the idea of spending the rest of my life dependant on prescription cholesterol medication. I mean, I was only 26. So instead, I looked into foods I could add to my diet that could help lower my cholesterol.
What is cholesterol?
It is a fat-like substance found in every cell of the body. The cholesterol in your cells is used to create structure for cell walls, help with digestion, and produce vitamin D. It also helps make hormones such as estrogen and testosterone.
HDL cholesterol is regarded as good cholesterol because it helps remove bad cholesterol from the arteries to the liver where is broken down and eventually leaves the body. So not all cholesterol is bad!
Then there is a type of cholesterol called LDL and it is regarded as bad cholesterol because high amounts of LDL can accelerate plaque growth in the walls of the blood vessels. This build up of plaque can cause blockages and cause a heart attack or blood clot.
Here are the three foods that I added to my diet to help reduce my cholesterol:
Adding hemp seeds to your meals can be extremely beneficial to help keep cholesterol in check. Hemp seeds are a great source of essential fatty acids (good fat), which our bodies do not produce, so it is important to eat foods that contain them. These essential fatty acids can help reduce levels of unhealthy fats and prevent build up of plaque in the arteries.
Coconut oil is full of saturated fats, which have gotten a lot of bad press in the past but many have changed their tune. We now know just how unhealthy a “fat-free” diet can actually be. The saturated fat in coconut oil can help raise the good cholesterol and lower the bad cholesterol. Plus, coconut oil is an amazing fuel source for keeping you energized throughout your day!
Walnuts are one of the most nutritious nuts around. They contain Omega-3 fatty acids, which can help increase your (HDL) good cholesterol by slowing down the growth of plaque into the arteries and can prevent blood clots that can lead to strokes or heart attacks.
Of course I always say adding a good amount of plant-based foods into your diet and regular exercise are the easiest ways to keep your overall health in check.
Here’s to your happy, healthy and balanced cholesterol.