(AscendHealthy.com) – When visiting the doctor, one of the routine, recommended tests is a lipid panel. It will screen the blood for cholesterol and triglycerides to see where the patient stands on cardiovascular health. If your numbers came back a little high, it’s probably time to make a change. As you improve your diet, try incorporating these five foods to help bring cholesterol levels down.
1. Almonds and Walnuts
Throughout the day, you might reach for a snack to satisfy hunger and boost energy. Nuts can be a great option because they’re not only an excellent source of protein, but almonds and walnuts are exceptionally healthy. These nutrient-dense snacks are high in monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids to fight cholesterol. With all this nutrition and fiber too, nuts promote good heart health.
2. Dark Chocolate
Who doesn’t love hot cocoa or a candy bar? If dark chocolate is an ingredient, it may pack a heart-healthy benefit. Dark chocolate has been found to lower LDL or bad cholesterol and boost levels of HDL (the good kind). Dark cocoa beans also help reduce oxidation in the blood, reducing the risk of heart disease.
3. Fatty Fish
Mackerel, tuna, and salmon are good sources of long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids. They aid in reducing inflammation, which in turn minimizes our stroke risk. In addition, there are more heart-protective benefits of fish due to peptides.
The key is to avoid fried fish. Instead, smoke, broil, bake or grill fish without added oil. Incorporating fish into your diet is a great way to bring blood lipid levels into a healthy range.
4. Fruits and Veggies
We all know that fruits and vegetables are staples for an overall healthy diet. They are low in calories and sugar, and they’re packed with vitamins the body needs for optimal health.
Experts recommend at least five to nine servings of both every day. Not only that, they are part of a heart-healthy diet, making them some of the best foods for fighting heart disease and obesity.
5. Leafy Greens
A superfood group to target heart disease is leafy greens. These include spinach, chard and turnip greens, just to name a few. Consuming these daily may help reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation can lead to a myriad of health problems, including high blood lipid levels.
A recent study showed that pro-inflammatory diets high in fat increased cardiovascular disease by 46%. Adding leafy greens into your daily lunch or dinner, or even morning smoothie boosts good cholesterol levels.
Getting cholesterol levels in check starts by talking with your doctor. Based on your health history, he will make medically sound suggestions to follow. Diet, exercise, and sometimes medication are key recommendations for getting high cholesterol under control. Find a doable plan that works for you and watch your health improve.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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