Posted on : April 18th, 2018
Did your doctor tell you your cholesterol was getting a bit high at your last doctor’s visit? More than 102 million Americans over the age of 20 have total cholesterol levels higher than what is considered healthy. That’s about a third of the population! And given that high cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease and heart attacks, this is a serious problem. But luckily there are many things you can do to help lower your cholesterol, and nuts are part of the solution!
If your cholesterol levels aren’t already so high that medication seems like the first line of attack, there are several lifestyle changes that can help. If you already take medications, these ideas can improve their cholesterol-lowering effect.
A certain amount of fat is essential to include in a healthy diet. But the type of fat you eat can make a big difference! Saturated fats, such as those found in red meat and dairy products, raise your total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. LDL is the cholesterol that is considered the worst for your health and well-being. Try to limit the amount of saturated fat you eat to less than 7% of your daily diet and eliminate as much trans fat as possible. Fried foods and most commercial cookies, crackers and snack cakes are the biggest culprits. Reduce or eliminate red meat and dairy or switch to low-fat cuts of meat and low fat dairy.
You could also replace some of the protein you eat with tree nuts! Walnuts, almonds, pistachios, macadamias, pecans, cashews, hazelnuts and Brazil nuts all contain significant amounts of protein. And while you can overdo it, the fat in these nuts tend to be the monounsaturated variety that raises good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein or HDL) and reduces the unhealthy kind. About one handful of nuts a day is the right amount to eat for added nutrition without too many calories or fat.
Omega-3 fatty acids can help you increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good”) cholesterol, reduce triglycerides (a type of fat in your blood), and reduce your blood pressure. Great sources for omega-3 fatty acids are certain kinds of fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines and herring), firm tofu, chia seeds, flaxseeds and nuts! Walnuts and almonds are your best choices.
There are two types of fiber — soluble and insoluble. Both are helpful to a healthy diet, but soluble fiber also helps lower your LDL levels. Add soluble fiber to your diet by eating oats and oat bran, fruits, beans, lentils, and vegetables. Oh, and guess what? There is also soluble fiber in nuts! Add a little almond butter to your morning oatmeal and fruit! Yum, yum, yum!
Studies show that stress increases cholesterol levels not only in the short-term but for several years down the road. How you handle your stress is the most significant factor. Chronic anger and frustration is especially harmful. If you can change or leave the situations that cause you the most grief and pain, do it! And while you’re in the process of figuring out how to do that, try to let go of your excess stress every day. Exercise, meditation and getting a good night’s sleep can work wonders. So can indulging in things that make you happier like a favorite hobby and enjoying time with friends.
Oh yeah, and nuts! Seriously? Yup! Your body uses more magnesium when stressed and nuts such as almonds and cashews contain significant levels of it. Magnesium can help you relax and sleep better, it reduces the effect of stress hormones in your body, and can significantly improve your mood.
Maisie Jane’s California Sunshine Products, Inc. was founded on strong beliefs and passion for offering unique, flavorful, top-quality, nut products. We strongly believe in earth-friendly practices that start on our family owned and operated orchards. We use Organic farming practices and continue in the process by using all-natural ingredients with no preservatives or GMOs. We believe in honest, friendly and helpful customer relations at all levels. We take pride in every task, every day, with every person.