Since unwanted cholesterol can pave the way towards heart disease, this Father’s Day I put together a simple checklist of foods to eat more of as well as some foods to avoid in order to stay healthy. Diet plays a key role in balancing cholesterol levels, so this guide is a great way to help your dad stay on track!
If you encourage your dad to follow this smart food guide, it’ll help him keep his cholesterol levels healthy and balanced. And hey, you may even have some fun together in the kitchen making heart healthy recipes while you’re at it. So this year for Father’s Day, go ahead and give your dad the gift of good health!
The following list contains cholesterol-busting foods that will help to keep dad’s arteries free and clear of dangerous plaque build-up.
Cholesterol Fighting Foods:
–Apples– the pectin in apples lowers cholesterol levels by binding fats and heavy metals
-Grapefruit- similar to apples, grapefruit contains the soluble fiber pectin, which lowers LDL cholesterol.
–Bananas– the dietary fiber and potassium in bananas help to lower blood pressure, which is connected to lowering LDL cholesterol.
–Strawberries in particular were shown to reduce damage from oxidation due to the “bad” LDL cholesterol thereby lowering the risk of heart disease
–Carrots: carrot juice in particular helps to flush out fat from the bile in the liver and this helps lower cholesterol.
-Seaweeds reduce the amount of blood cholesterol. Sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons daily over salads or enjoy it in a miso soup!
-Raw walnuts and almonds are best. Almonds are rich in the amino acid arginine and were found in one study to cut cholesterol levels by sixteen points over a four-week period.
Make sure to take in plenty of fiber in the form of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Water-soluble dietary fiber is important in reducing serum cholesterol. It is found in a variety of plant foods, including barley, beans, and brown rice.
–Oats, oat bran and brown rice bran are the best fiber-rich foods for lowering cholesterol. Whole grain cereals and brown rice in moderation are beneficial as well.
-Cold water fish– the Omega-3 fatty acids in cold water fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are good for your heart as they raise the HDL cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
-Olive oil- the antioxidants in olive oil lower LDL cholesterol, but leave HDL cholesterol untouched, helping to restore the balance between LDL and HDL.
-Cinnamon has been shown by studies to lower cholesterol. Enjoy 1 teaspoon daily over that bowl of oats!
Any foods to avoid? To keep dad healthy, it’s best to reduce the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in his diet.
-All fats of animal origin (excluding fish)
-Coconut oil-the jury is still out on the effects of coconut oil on cholesterol, but since it’s a saturated fat, best to stay clear for now.
-Palm oils- often present in overly processed foods, palm oils get “stuck” in the body, and promote inflammation.
-Hydrogenated fats- eliminate all hardened fats such as margarine, lard, and butter– they even look like plaque before they enter the system!
-Avoid animal products, especially pork and pork products and fried or fatty foods.
-Consume sugar in moderation- as with any diet!
To learn more about cholesterol and diet, take a look at “What’s Cholesterol Got to Do With a Healthy Heart? More Than You Might Think.”
Also check out these other heart-healthy recipes!
Note: PLEASE consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.