It’s no secret that fried and fatty foods can contribute to high cholesterol levels, but did you know that some foods can actually lower cholesterol? The National Institute of Health presented data showing that 75 percent of cholesterol is produced by your body, while the other 25 percent comes from the food you eat. Dr. James Fondriest, a cosmetic dentist in Lake Forest, IL, is concerned not only with your dental health, but with your overall health as well.
Foods That Can Raise Cholesterol
If you are worried about your cholesterol levels (or if your doctor has told you that they are too high, even if it doesn’t worry you), you should reduce or cut your consumption of:
Bad Fats: Stop or cut back on eating fatty red meat and food containing saturated or trans fats (hydrogenated oils)
Salty and High-Sodium Foods: When you season your food, add variety and do not use too much salt. Check the sodium levels of pre-made foods.
Sugary Foods and Drinks: Sodas, sweetened fruit juices, and snacks that are high in sugar can all increase cholesterol levels. (They can also harm your teeth!)
Foods That Can Lower Cholesterol
While the foods listed above can raise your cholesterol levels, the five foods below can actually lower them:
Fruits and Vegetables: Fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals (a variety of chemicals found in plants), and antioxidants are all found in fruits and vegetables, all of which can help lower levels of bad cholesterol, called low-dentisty lipoprotein (LDL). Be sure to eat a diverse array of vegetables and fruits to reap the benefits they all offer.
Healthy Fats: Not all fats are unhealthy. Good fats are essential for decreasing inflammation and bad cholesterol levels, boosting the immune system, and keeping your brain and nervous system healthy.
Fiber: Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains contain soluble fiber that binds cholesterol in the digestive tract and helps remove it from the body.
Nuts: Certain nuts, including walnuts, almonds, and peanuts can all help lower bad cholesterol. Nuts contain healthy fats that are good for your heart. Include three to five servings of nuts in your diet every week.
Beans: Every type of bean, including chick peas (garbanzo beans), lentils, black-eyed peas, kidneys beans, and black beans, contains high levels of fiber and antioxidants. (Bonus: Combine beans with a whole grain to get a complete protein!)
If your cholesterol levels are high, it is important that you consult with your doctor and maintain regular checkups. But the tips above can help you stay on a healthy track to lower cholesterol levels.
Dr. Fondriest cares about his patients and their health. He offers general, restorative, and cosmetic dental procedures to patients in the North Shore and greater Chicago areas. Call our Lake Forest, IL, dental practice today for your appointment.