Foods and Beverages to Reduce Your Cholesterol

Around 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year. If you have been diagnosed with heart disease, then you absolutely must manage the disease properly. Your doctor's orders likely include that you follow a diet low in cholesterol. High cholesterol causes plaque to build up on the walls of the arteries, and this blocks blood flow. It is best to stay away from red meat, animal fats, and fried foods. You also should think about adding foods and beverages to your diet that help to reduce cholesterol. Here are a few options to help you:

Drink Red Wine

If you have heart disease, then your doctor has likely advised you to limit the number of alcoholic beverages you drink each week. Alcohol can increase blood pressure and lead to an irregular heartbeat. It can also elevate the amount of triglyceride fats that travel through your bloodstream. Alcohol has also been linked to heart failure in cases when individuals consume an excessive amount of alcohol regularly. Heart failure is something you need to be concerned about if you already have heart disease. 

However, while high levels of alcohol consumption can be bad for the heart, moderate levels can be good for it. Alcohol can thin the blood and keep the blood moving through your blood vessels. This can greatly reduce the clots that are able to form in the arteries, and this reduces your heart attack and stroke risks. Alcohol can increase the good cholesterol in your body, too. Good cholesterol actually reduces the amount of bad cholesterol that forms in your arteries by carrying it away from the blood vessels.

There is some research that suggests that red wine is best when it comes to lowering cholesterol levels, since it contains an antioxidant called resveratrol. This antioxidant can be found in all purple, black, and red grapes, so you can gain the cholesterol-lowering benefits of any red wine that you choose. If you do want to drink wine, then try to limit your consumption to about 5 to 10 ounces a day. You can also eat grapes to gain the antioxidant benefits if you do not want to consume wine very often. 

Eat Walnuts

Many people understand that omega-3 fatty acids are good for the heart. They help to keep the heart beating at a steady rhythm, the fats are essential in helping the blood clot properly, and they assist with the flexibility of the artery walls. This flexibility helps to keep plaque formations from blocking the blood vessels. The oils also reduce cholesterol levels, and a great way to reduce cholesterol with omega-3 fatty acids is to eat walnuts. According to a research study completed by Loma Linda University, walnuts can reduce total cholesterol levels by around 9.3% if 1.5 ounces of walnuts are eaten daily.

You can eat walnuts plain to reduce cholesterol levels, or you can sprinkle them over healthy types of cooked fish like halibut and tuna. Since most varieties of fish also contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, this will help to boost the cholesterol-reducing power of your diet even more. Eating fish also helps to reduce the amount of fat that is carried through the blood, so it definitely has extra heart health benefits. 

Lowering your cholesterol is likely a goal of yours if you have been informed that you have heart disease. Cholesterol reduction can be possible if you watch your diet carefully, and you can naturally reduce the bad cholesterol in your bloodstream by drinking small amounts of red wine and by eating walnuts and fish. Contact a representative from the Van Wert County Hospital for further information about heart disease treatment.

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