There are different kinds of fats called lipids in your blood and when the levels of these lipids are too high, you can develop a condition called hyperlipidemia or high cholesterol.
Hyperlipidemia or high cholesterol is serious. Hyperlipidemia puts you at higher risk for developing atherosclerosis – hardening of the arteries, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. The higher your blood cholesterol level, the higher your risk. Hyperlipidemia is very common and is associated with a high-fat diet, sedentary lifestyle, obesity and diabetes. There are also some genetic causes.
Your lipid profile will show your doctor your levels of “bad” cholesterol – LDL and very low density lipoproteins, your levels of “good” cholesterol – HDL, your triglycerides level, and your total cholesterol.
Treatment includes weight-loss, exercise and a low-fat diet. It may also involve diabetes management and taking a statin medication.
Top Foods to improve Hyperlipidemia
Diet can play and important role in lowering the level of fats in your blood. A few simple tweaks along with exercise, might help you! In general, following a diet that replaces saturated fats such as those found in meats and including more fresh vegetables, fruits and healthier proteins and oils will both help with weight loss and improving lipid levels. Skip the salt and add more spices.
- Oatmeal, oat bran and high-fiber foods. Soluble fiber food in foods like oatmeal, kidney beans, apples, pears, barley and prunes reduce levels of your “bad” cholesterol, LDL and can help reduce your total cholesterol. Aim for eating 5-10 grams of fiber a day. That’s about 1 ½ cups of cooked oatmeal as one example. Soluble fiber is also found in plants – so add more vegetables such as broccoli, Brussel sprouts or carrots to your plate!
- Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids.Omega-3 fatty acids are very heart healthy. They naturally reduce your blood pressure and risk for developing blood clots. Try to get 2-3 servings a week of salmon, albacore tuna, halibut, mackeral, lake trout, herring or sardines. You can also get omega- 3 fatty acids from canola oil and ground flaxseed. Or your doctor may recommend a supplement.
- Nuts. Walnuts and almonds can help improve lipid levels. They are rich in mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids and help keep your blood vessels healthy. You can also try hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans and pistachios – just make sure they are not coated in salt or sugar, and don’t overeat them as nuts are high in calories.
- Avocados. This fruit is full of nutrients and monounsaturated fatty acids. Research has shown they improve LDL levels in people who are overweight or obese.
- Spinach is rick in a nutrient called lutein that helps prevent heart attacks by helping artery walls guard against cholesterol invaders that cause clogging.
- Tea has become known for its cancer-fighting antioxidants, but it is also good for fighting against LDL “bad” cholesterol.
- Olive Oil and Garlic. Cooking with heart healthy monounsaturated fatty acids help lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol, and garlic helps prevent blood clots, reduces blood pressure and protects against infections. It may also stop artery-clogging plaque at its earliest stage.
- Chocolate.Researchers have concluded from studies that dark bittersweet chocolate full of cocoa powder is full of antioxidants that prevent blood platelets from sticking together and may help keep arteries unclogged. 2
- National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Lowering Your Cholesterol with Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/public/heart/chol_tlc.pdf. Accessed on January 10, 2018.
- Prevention Magazine. Here’s How to Lower Your Cholesterol Naturally with Food. December 2017. https://www.prevention.com/health/how-to-lower-cholesterol-naturally. Accessed January 10, 2018.