How To Lower Cholesterol And Blood Sugar By Diet – If there was ever a magic word when it came to your diet, it would be “fiber”—and not just so you can poop better. Fiber has been shown to help lower and stabilize blood sugar and cholesterol. Here are diet tips and high-fiber foods that can help lower blood sugar and cholesterol.
Blood sugar – or glucose – is a critical fuel for both the body and the brain. But according to the Mayo Clinic, uncontrolled diabetes has the potential to send your glucose levels to dangerous heights. When this happens, all sorts of health complications can occur, including dramatically increasing the risk of heart disease.
Likewise, according to the Mayo Clinic, if you have high cholesterol, your arteries can narrow and harden, increasing your risk of blood clots that can cause a heart attack or stroke.
But your diet can do a lot to prevent heart disease by controlling blood sugar and cholesterol. Dallas-based Lona Sandon, PhD, RDN, a registered dietitian and associate professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, boils down her recommendation for a low-sugar, low-cholesterol diet to one word: fiber.
Experts at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) agree, noting that in addition to helping to promote regular bowel movements, a high-fiber diet actually reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes by reducing the absorption of sugar in the gut and preventing spikes in your blood sugar.
The NIH also emphasizes the heart-healthy properties of fiber, with research showing that a high-fiber diet can reduce concentrations of “bad” cholesterol, thereby reducing the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and coronary heart disease.
But not all fiber is created equal. The NIH notes two types that affect your health in different ways:
While experts ultimately want you to focus on getting enough fiber each day (38 grams for men, 25 grams for women), according to the NIH, soluble fiber helps lower blood sugar and cholesterol.
Sandon agrees: “Soluble fiber, in particular, helps lower cholesterol and blood sugar.” Fruit is a good source, she says, noting that you should “get your fiber from whole fruit — rather than juice — most of the time.”
She also advises eating “lots of vegetables, cooked or raw—however you like them best,” and recommends replacing saturated fats like butter with olive oil and spices for flavor. “And have lots of whole grains like oats, wild rice, brown rice, 100 percent whole grain bread, barley and quinoa,” she says, aiming to have “a whole grain at every meal.”
That starts with shopping smart, which, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), means choosing foods with the word “complete” in the first ingredient listed on the label. And for blood sugar, the ADA suggests packing your cart with such diabetes superfoods (many of which also contain heart-healthy fiber) like:
From there, the Mayo Clinic encourages you to break up your health shopping into three balanced meals a day—with the idea that sticking to a reliable eating routine gives your body the best chance to regulate and maintain safe glucose levels.
As for what to avoid to keep your blood sugar and cholesterol within healthy limits, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases advises avoiding cookies, cakes, ice cream and other sweets, as well as fried foods or high-quality foods. salt It also suggests that you should avoid drinks containing added sugar (juice, sodas or energy drinks) and keep alcohol consumption to a minimum. Cholesterol is a type of fat. Our body makes its own and we also eat foods that contain cholesterol. Cholesterol is not bad. It helps us digest food, produce hormones and gives structure to our cell walls. Our body has an optimal level of cholesterol.
When we disrupt this balance through things like poor diet, lack of activity, and chronic stress, we put our bodies and blood vessels at risk. When your doctor does the lipid blood panel, they usually look at four things: LDL, HDL, triglycerides, and total cholesterol. I’m a visual person (and let’s be real, none of us have time to read long paragraphs), so let’s break it down into images:
A statin is a type of medicine that works to lower your cholesterol by blocking the enzyme involved in your body’s own cholesterol production.
Like any drug, statins have some side effects. The most common symptom is muscle pain, which occurs in about 5 percent of people on statins (1). Other less common side effects include increased blood sugar, inflammation of the liver, and confusion (2). Unfortunately, statins are also known to decrease the body’s levels of coenzyme q10, which is involved in many nerve and muscle pathways (3).
Statins can improve some cholesterol levels and may reduce the risk of heart attack (4). Doctors may recommend a statin for reasons such as family history/risk, for example. For most of us, however, statins don’t address the most common root cause…an unhealthy lifestyle! Improving diet, exercise and stress can reduce the risk of heart attack by up to 80 percent (5)!
I mean, this is not for you who don’t want to stop your statins. Instead, it is SO IMPORTANT to understand that we cannot take a medicine and call it good. We need to make lifestyle changes our main focus to make a REAL change in our health!
It is important to address the MAIN cause of high cholesterol levels. For most people, this means improving your diet and lifestyle. These 7 interventions can get you up to speed on improving your cholesterol levels and more importantly…a healthier heart!!
Cold water fish have two fatty acids, abbreviated EPA and DHA. These are a type of omega-3 fat. EPA/DHA has extremely effective anti-inflammatory properties (6). and has been shown to significantly lower triglycerides in many large review studies (7).
The best types of fish to get EPA/DHA are salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and albacore tuna. Aim for 4 ounces of fish at least twice a week. If you don’t eat fish regularly, you might consider taking a fish oil pill. I usually recommend at least 1000 mg/day of total EPA + DHA to start, but you may need more if your triglycerides are too high. Talk to your doctor about it.
My favorite brand of fish oil is called OmegaGenics by Metagenics. This company ensures that their supplements are third-party verified, meaning you can trust that what’s on the label is actually in the product! Click here to get 10% off my online store!
Fiber can bind cholesterol and help remove it, effectively lowering total cholesterol and LDL (8). We need at least 30 grams of fiber a day. The average American eats only about 14 grams of fiber per day. All types of fiber are good for the heart and arteries, but soluble fiber is especially good for lowering cholesterol.
Sugar is a major driver of high cholesterol and inflammation (9). A great place to start cutting back on sugar is to limit sugary drinks. This includes soda, Kool-Aid, lemonade, energy drinks, and more. However, this ALSO includes pre-bottled juice and smoothie drinks.
Smoothies like Naked can contain as much sugar as a can of Coke. “BUT it’s natural sugar!”. True – the sources of sugar come from fruit. But excessive amounts of even natural sugar will still affect our blood sugar levels. A better option (besides sticking to water) is to make a smoothie at home. For your smoothie, keep fruit to 1 cup and include good sources of protein and healthy fats for a more balanced blend.
This is a low-fat diet. Low-carb diets with higher sources of healthy fats can help lower triglycerides while raising HDL (10, 11). Most of your fat should come from mono- and polyunsaturated fats: nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, etc. These fats can provide more satiety (fullness) and help balance blood sugar, which in turn reduces your tendency to snack on sugar. food Pay less attention to calorie levels and instead focus on eating REAL food (fewer ingredients and less processed).
Physical activity is the single biggest thing you can do to raise your HDL (the good). This doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym! Walking is an extremely effective method of losing weight and improving cholesterol. Do you have a spouse, friend, or furry companion who can hold you accountable? This will keep you motivated. Setting small goals is also helpful in this scenario. If walking doesn’t excite you, find something you enjoy (biking, swimming, rock climbing, etc.). Exercise is about honoring your body, not punishing it.
Only 50% of Americans eat enough magnesium (12). This powerful mineral has many benefits for the body. Specifically, magnesium has been shown to lower CRP, a protein that increases when your body is inflamed (13). Since high cholesterol and heart health are closely related to inflammation – this will only help.
Dark leafy greens, organic dark chocolate, almonds, toasted sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, black beans, avocado, bananas.
When people think of vitamin K, many people go
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