Food choices are an important part of a healthy diet and may have a direct influence on certain health measures, such as your cholesterol level. UR Medicine Registered Dietitian April Miller shares three dietary choices you can make to lower your cholesterol.
1. Go for fiber. The No. 1 dietary change you can make to lower LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins or the “bad” type that can build up in your arteries) is to bump up the fiber in your diet. Aim for 25 grams per day. Good sources of fiber include whole fruits, veggies and grains. Eat the skin on your apple or pear and the stems of your broccoli, and choose whole-grain bread and rice. These foods offer lots of fiber bang for your buck:
- Beans – 8 grams per half-cup serving (that’s all the fiber you need for an entire meal!)
- Raspberries and blackberries – 8 grams per cup
- Popcorn – 5 grams per 3 cups
2. Go a little nuts. Just a quarter-cup of nuts a day can decrease your LDL by 10 percent. Walnuts, almonds and pecans have all been shown to have potent cholesterol-lowering effects.
3. Go fish. Two servings of fish per week can add enough healthy fat—in the form of Omega 3 fatty acids—to lower your cholesterol. If you’re not fond of fish, try adding flax seeds or chia seeds to oatmeal or yogurt to get 3 to 5 grams of fiber per serving.
April Miller is a registered dietitian and certified personal trainer with the Center for Community Health at URMC. You may have seen April at the Rochester Public Market doing nutrition and cooking demonstrations as part of Foodlink, Inc.’s Just Say Yes to Fruits and Vegetables program.