When I found out I had high cholesterol last year, I knew I needed to tweak my already healthy lifestyle. I focused on my diet because I knew there was room for improvement – I had let things slip a little while I was dealing with some other health issues.
The good news: I was able to lower my cholesterol levels with the changes I made. The bad news: the levels are still too high. Because I have a family history of heart disease, my doctor wants me to take a cholesterol lowering drug to help. I hope the medication is just temporary. In the meantime, I’m going to keep focusing on healthy eating because it is one of the best ways to fight cardiovascular disease.
Here are a few heart healthy diet recommendations from the American Heart Association:
Eat vegetables and fruits. Eating a variety of deeply colored fruits and veggies may help you control your weight and blood pressure.
Eat unrefined fiber-rich whole-grain foods. A diet rich in fiber can help you lose weight because it keeps you feeling fuller longer so you eat less. It can also help lower your cholesterol.
Eat fish at least twice a week. Eating two 3.5 ounce servings of oily fish per week containing omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, trout, and herring) may help lower your risk of dying from coronary artery disease.
Choose skinless lean meats and poultry and prepare them without adding saturated and trans fat.
Cut back on saturated and trans fats, cholesterol and added sugars. Slash foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans fat in your diet. Aim for less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol a day; eat less than 1500 milligrams of sodium per day; and to help you reduce added sugars, limit sugary drinks to no more than 36 ounces per week.