It's not difficult to eat heart healthfully and maintain healthy cholesterol levels. When you plan your menus, use heart-healthy foods that are delicious and easy to prepare.
High cholesterol contributes to heart attacks and stroke. Plaque accumulates in the arteries, blocking the flow of blood to the brain and heart. As "bad," or low-density lipoprotein (LDL), cholesterol drops and "good" (high-density lipoprotein, HDL) cholesterol rises, your risk for stroke and heart disease drops.
A low-cholesterol diet is also low in fat. According to the Low Cholesterol Meal Plan, egg yolks, red meat and dairy products contain high levels of cholesterol. Include in your diet foods such as lean beef, skinless poultry (preferably breast meat), wild oily fish, and complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs include whole-grain breads, fresh fruits and vegetables, especially broccoli and leafy greens. Dr. Andrew Weil, a clinical professor and director of the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona who has written books about healthy living, recommends wild salmon and halibut as rich sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. He advises that Omega-3 fatty acids prevent life-threatening conditions, including cardiovascular disease.
Weil's anti-inflammatory diet is low in cholesterol and fat, and high in fibre, which helps lower LDL levels. His anti-inflammatory food pyramid includes nearly the same foods and servings recommended by the American Heart Association for healthy cholesterol levels.
He suggests eating four to five servings a day of nutrient-rich multicoloured vegetables; three to four servings of fresh or frozen fruit; three to five servings of whole or cracked grains; one to two servings of legumes and beans; five to seven servings of healthy fat (extra-virgin olive oil, walnuts, avocado, seeds). He also suggests two to six servings a week of Alaskan salmon or black cod. His pyramid also includes soy, Asian mushrooms, low-fat dairy, herbs and chocolate.
To help stay on track, prepare a low-cholesterol menu plan in advance. A daily menu may include:
A poached Omega-3 egg with one slice of seven-grain toast and fresh strawberries for breakfast.
Two walnuts and a banana for a midmorning snack.
A salad of romaine lettuce, fresh tomato, avocado, and grated carrots dressed with a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of ground flaxseed for lunch.
A nectarine or a half-cup of fresh blueberries for an afternoon snack.
A grilled 170gr salmon steak basted with extra-virgin olive oil and crushed garlic, served with black beans and cilantro and a half-cup of brown rice with steamed broccoli for dinner.