If your doctor says you need to lower your cholesterol and lose weight, you might be wondering where to begin. But it’s crucial to get started, because high cholesterol can have serious health implications. High cholesterol is associated with heart disease, which is the number one killer of men and women in America.
We’ve put together some ways you can ease into lowering your cholesterol without turning your whole world upside down, so you can get a better understanding of the risks and enjoy what you’re eating at the same time. Of course, this is just for informational purposes. It’s important to work closely with your doctor and carefully monitor your progress if you make any changes to your diet!
Here are our 3 most powerful cholesterol-slashing tactics:
1. Add more fiber to your diet
200 mg/dL of total cholesterol or less is the desirable level to shoot for to keep your heart out of harm’s way from high cholesterol. If your cholesterol is above this and anywhere close to 240 mg/dL and above, increased fiber intake is associated with lower cholesterol.
With most people eating only half of the fiber they need in a day, there’s most likely room in your diet to improve. The recommended fiber intake is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. You can easily get your intake up and speed up your weight loss by adding in some healthy and satisfying high-fiber foods to your weekly meal planning.
Next time you go grocery shopping, stock up on fruits and veggies like pears, strawberries, apples, avocados, bananas, broccoli, and beets from the produce aisle. You can also stock up on a variety of lentils, split peas, kidney beans, and other legumes to incorporate into your lunches and dinners. Hummus, quinoa, chia seeds, and dark chocolate are also rich in fiber. Here’s a long list of high-fiber foods for reference.
2. Eat plant-based meals (that even meat lovers love)
Replacing some foods in your diet that come from animals, with hearty, flavorful, plant-based meals, is associated with lower LDL (or “bad” cholesterol) levels, and is a change that may not feel like a big sacrifice.
In addition to the permanent weight loss you can experience by incorporating plant-based meal planning with programs like Noom, try swapping out the eggs and bacon with fruits and grains for breakfasts. Things like dippable veggies and hummus and raw almonds and walnuts make perfect snacks. And you can mix up dinner planning with high-fiber veggie tofu stir-fry and brown rice, just to test out new ideas that work for you and your lifestyle.
3. Lose the cigarettes
Obviously, quitting smoking is no easy task. It’s one of the hardest addictions to break. But from a cholesterol perspective, it’s worth the effort.
If you smoke cigarettes, even casually, it exacerbates the detrimental effects LDL has on your body. In addition to decreasing a number of other scary health risks, stopping smoking cigarettes will help lower your chances of high cholesterol and benefit nutrient absorption of all the new, good foods you’re adding into your diet. Smoking also raises your blood pressure which is linked to high cholesterol.
The best way to lower your cholesterol
If you’re overweight, losing weight in a healthy way is the best strategy to achieve your cholesterol goals, develop genuine behavioral change with food and exercise, and maintain a lifestyle that is productive for your health but also enjoyable. Noom has innovative tools and unique support methods to help you get your weight and cholesterol under control.
The best part? Noom isn’t a diet. It’s a holistic program designed by nutritionists and psychologists who can help you create lasting results. Take the free, 30-second evaluation and participate in a free trial period to quickly see how your cholesterol levels would fall in line with Noom. We’re here to help, and we’ve got answers to any question you can imagine.