Eating this particular type of fish could lower your cholesterol

Scientists found that eating this particular type of fish could lower your cholesterol. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in the cells of the body. It is essential for building healthy cells, but high levels of cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease. About 71 million Americans have high cholesterol, and almost 2 in 5 adults in the United States have high cholesterol (total blood cholesterol ≥ 200 mg/dL).

High cholesterol has no signs or symptoms, so the only way to know whether you have it is to get your cholesterol checked. Raised cholesterol is estimated to cause 2.6 million deaths (4.5% of total) and 29.7 million DALYS, or 2% of total DALYS globally. A healthy LDL range for adults is 100 mg/dL or lower, and a healthy HDL range for adult males is 40 mg/dL, and for adult females is 50 mg/dL.

There are several things you can do to lower cholesterol but experts specify that eating fish, particularly salmon, can help lower cholesterol due to its omega-3 fatty acids [1, 2].

Eating this particular type of fish could lower your cholesterol
Eating this particular type of fish could lower your cholesterol. Image credit: Woman eating salmon steak with roasted vegetables. Shebeko/Depositphotos

Findings by experts: Eating two portions of salmon a week could help keep high cholesterol in check. Fish, in general, is a good option for people watching their cholesterol as most fish are generally low in cholesterol and trans fats. Although fish contain small amounts of cholesterol, they are low in saturated fats and are usually suitable to eat if someone is watching their cholesterol levels. The beneficial omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish can help prevent cardiovascular diseases and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. Therefore, it is recommended to eat a varied, balanced diet that includes fish regularly for heart health.

The study: Researchers from the University of Colorado studied 41 overweight/obese adults.

Participants followed two five-week diets: one standard, one Mediterranean with two weekly salmon servings. Scientists analyzed participants’ “metabolites,” chemicals produced during digestion. Of the 1,518 metabolites found, 500 were unique to salmon. Two salmon-specific compounds and two other metabolites linked to lower cholesterol and “bad” fats.

Adding salmon to your Mediterranean diet might be good for your heart health.
More research is needed, but this study offers promising results.

Lifestyle change tips that can help lower cholesterol

1. Diet

  • Limit saturated and trans fats: Focus on healthy fats like olive oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds. Avoid processed foods, fried foods, and foods high in saturated fat like red meat and full-fat dairy products.
  • Increase fiber intake: Fiber helps absorb cholesterol and remove it from your body. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
  • Choose lean protein sources: Opt for fish, poultry without skin, beans, lentils, and tofu instead of red meat and processed meats.
  • Limit added sugar and refined carbohydrates: Sugary drinks, pastries, and white bread can contribute to unhealthy cholesterol levels. Opt for water, unsweetened tea, and whole-wheat bread instead.
  • Consider plant sterols: Plant sterols are naturally occurring compounds found in some foods and supplements that can help lower cholesterol.

2. Exercise

  • Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week. Aim for activities you enjoy like brisk walking, running, swimming, or biking.
  • Strength training can also help improve cholesterol levels. Aim for two to three sessions per week.

3. Other lifestyle changes

  • Maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight can contribute to high cholesterol. Losing even a small amount of weight can make a difference.
  • Quit smoking: Smoking damages blood vessels and increases cholesterol levels.
  • Limit alcohol intake: Excessive alcohol intake can raise cholesterol levels.
  • Manage stress: Chronic stress can contribute to unhealthy cholesterol levels.
  • Practice relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing.
  • Get enough sleep: Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night. When you’re sleep-deprived, your body produces more stress hormones, which can contribute to high cholesterol.

ALSO READ: 5 low fat protein foods to add to your diet menu

Last Updated on February 9, 2024 by shalw

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