Eating vegetables is a healthy part of any diet, but are there specific veggies that can improve your cholesterol? Can purple produce help your cholesterol? Keep reading to find out.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance in your system that helps carry out various functions, but too much bad cholesterol can hurt you. LDL cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol, leads to plaque formation in your arteries while HDL cholesterol (the “good” type) helps remove excess LDL cholesterol.
“When you have excess [LDL] cholesterol, this creates a buildup of fatty deposits called plaques. And that sticks to the walls of your arteries and impedes blood flow,” explains Dr. Jason Singh, a board-certified physician in primary care with Kaiser Permanente in Manassas.
Cholesterol and You
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you should start checking your cholesterol early in life. While some people have a genetic condition that increases their cholesterol, most high cholesterol comes from dietary choices.
Therefore, if you want to reduce your LDL levels, you need to cut back on certain foods like red meats, lamb, pork, butter, and full-fat dairy products. You also need to avoid fried foods, fast foods, and red meats. However, reducing your cholesterol also means eating more of certain foods – specifically purple produce.
“The purple stuff is great for increasing your HDL and actually lowering your LDL and triglycerides and that lowers your overall ASCVD [atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease] risk for having any kind of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease,” says Singh. Purple produce includes eggplant, red cabbage, blueberries, and blackberries.
Lowering Your Cholesterol
Your treatment options will depend on your individual circumstances and the severity of your high cholesterol. “Do we want to go with a low carb Mediterranean diet and increase aerobic exercises, which is the overarching lifestyle change goal?” says Singh. “Or is your risk so, so high that we need to start thinking of medication management which is usually with a statin and the statins typically target your LDL and triglycerides?”
The Mediterranean Diet focuses on consuming chicken, fish, nuts legumes, olive oil, fruits, and vegetables while reducing red meat. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends it for lowering cholesterol and also recommends doing at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week. “And you can divide that however you want 10 minutes, one day, 20 minutes another day, as long as you get to 150 minutes per week, you’re golden,” notes Singh.
If you want to keep your heart healthy, then focusing on your diet and exercise habits is a good idea. In addition, you can give your health an extra boost by taking L-arginine Plus. Its ingredients promote cholesterol health, circulation, and more. Give your health the support it deserves by eating more purple produce, exercising regularly, and taking L-arginine Plus.