Are you hesitant when opening the envelope that holds the lab results after your doctor visit? The cholesterol panel can be daunting and often times confusing to comprehend. When it comes to cholesterol, not all types are created equal. The good news? Changing these levels are up to you and the behaviors you put forth to do just that.
September is Cholesterol Education Month, so it’s the perfect time to find out what these numbers are, and more importantly, how to improve them. HDL is known as the healthy or good cholesterol because it can remove some of the bad, or LDL cholesterol which is known to clog arteries. To boost the good guy, things like exercise and quitting smoking can help tremendously. Your choices made at meals can make for significant changes, too. Let’s take a look at the foods that will aid in increasing the good cholesterol, for good – once and for all!
Avocados: Like we really need another reason for a second scoop of guac on taco night. Avocados scream heart health due to their abundance of monounsaturated fat, high fiber, and potassium profile. Monounsaturated fat has been shown to increase HDL cholesterol. Substitute these green guys for heart-harmful hydrogenated oils in baked goods. Avocado brownies anyone?
Whole Grain Pasta: You may think pasta and heart health can’t share the same sentence, yet with one small tweak, spaghetti can become a staple in lowering cholesterol. Forgo the white, refined noodles, and focus on their whole grain counterpart. With this darker option, you’ll find more fiber in each serving, which aids with cholesterol health.
Salmon: Eating seafood twice a week is a recipe for success to reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease. Fatty fish, like salmon, yields some of the greatest anti-inflammatory and heart healthy benefits.
Flaxseeds: Not a fan of fish? Flaxseeds are also full of heart healthy omega-3s! In order for the gut to fully absorb the benefits this seed provides, it must be ground down, or milled. Sprinkle on your morning oats for a double dose of cholesterol fighting power.
High Fiber Cereal: A high-fiber cereal is the way to go when keeping cholesterol in check. Look for an option with at least 3 grams of fiber and less than 10 grams of sugar per serving. It may seem like a difficult task to find amongst the boxes of options, but fear not, there’s plenty to pour – just check the nutrition facts.
Wishing you all happy, healthy fall season!
Paige Green is a community dietitian at the West Ames Hy-Vee. Paige is passionate about motivating and helping others achieve a happy, healthy lifestyle.
Public Policy Connection:
Evidence from a recent systematic review and meta-analysis demonstrates that multiple Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) sessions by an RD/RDN are clinically effective and cost beneficial in patients with dyslipidemia. Currently MNT for many nutrition-related conditions, including dyslipidemia, is not covered by Medicare or most commercial health insurance plans. The Medical Nutrition Therapy Act of 2020 was recently introduced in the House of Representatives. This Act would expand MNT coverage in Medicare to include dyslipidemia and many other conditions, and could start the conversation for other dietitian-related opportunities. RD/RDNs: Please visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Action Center
( https://www.eatrightpro.org/advocacy/take-action/action-center ) and urge your members of Congress to support the Medical Nutrition Therapy Act of 2020. Non-dietitians: Expanded MNT coverage in Medicare may eventually lead to expanded coverage in Medicaid and commercial insurance plans. If access to safe and effective nutrition therapy is important to you and those you serve, we encourage you to reach out to your Iowa Congress people and Representatives to let them know that you want expanded MNT coverage in Medicare.