I haven’t written a post about a specific topic in awhile, so I thought maybe today I’d talk about cholesterol. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am NOT a doctor nor do I have any sort of medical background, and everything you read here is what I gather from research and/or based on my opinions and or experiences.
Many Americans have high cholesterol. Sometimes it’s based on genetics, and other times it’s something that can be fixed with lifestyle and diet changes. I think that Paleo is a good diet to follow if you have high cholesterol. I will start with some quick facts…
Cholesterol is something we need, but when there’s too much in our blood – it’s bad. It can lead to heart disease, and the heart is the last muscle we want to stress out. There usually aren’t many symptoms, so it’s important to get your check-ups! Some simple things you can change to make sure your cholesterol levels stay healthy, is to stop smoking, limit alcohol, add more physical activity to your day, and maintain a healthy weight. You shouldn’t eat a lot of saturated fats and you should avoid trans fat. Diet and exercise alone can lower bad cholesterol by a significant amount. Our liver naturally makes cholesterol, so we don’t necessarily need to eat a lot of it. Foods like red meat and eggs add cholesterol to our diets, but some of us can’t get rid of the extra stuff and that’s when it causes some concern. Although, recent studies have said that an egg a day is okay, you have to remember that eggs are in other foods that we may eat throughout the day.
I would say that you should reevaluate your situation, you may not be at a high risk, but changing a few things will keep you on track. Losing a few extra pounds and increasing your physical activity may be all you need. You can try to lose 5-10 lbs. and add at least 20 minutes of activities to your day to keep yourself healthy – brisk walks are very good! Another thing I read is that you can do heavy lifting twice a week, at least, and that will help keep your bad cholesterols in check. If you’re paleo you already cut out dairy, so make sure you’re taking a calcium supplement. There are many foods and snacks you can enjoy that will help you keep your cholesterol down – eat walnuts, sip red wine, snack on almonds, ditch the butter, use extra virgin olive oil, and instead of ground beef – eat ground turkey. Be sure to eat more fish – salmon, white albacore canned tuna in water (my favorite), anchovies, and sardines – keep your omega 3 fatty acid intake high! No dairy, but if you must, choose low fat cheese. Leaner cuts of meat are good and also, a diet high in fiber. Seafood is good – lobster is not (high cholesterol)! When you eat chicken – opt for skinless, skip the dark meat, and don’t fry it! Pass on the liver (I’m not into anyway) – because that’s where cholesterol is made and stored…oh, and that side of fries – don’t do it! Avocado is really good, too…but it’s a high calorie food, so it makes a good substitute in meals.
Everything you heard about garlic is true. Not only does it lower cholesterol by preventing the particles from sticking to artery walls, but it prevents blood clots, reduces blood pressure, and it will help fight infections. Spinach is also something you should try to include in your diet – and not just for cholesterol reasons. Restrict your salt intake. And hey, if you’re a tea drinker…keep on, keeping on. At least one glass a day is good. Black and Oolong teas are good, but green is best (it’s not as processed as other teas). Tea is packed with antioxidants, so tea away! And for the chocolate lovers – you don’t have to give it up. You can have an ounce a day of dark or bittersweet chocolate. *winks* You’re welcome!
“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”