Health And Wellness

3 Best Foods To Combat High Cholesterol

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3 Best Foods To Combat High Cholesterol

Does an apple a day keep the doctor away? Has it ever?

Several decades ago, a war was waged on high cholesterol and on dietary fat. Strong drugs have been developed to lower cholesterol, fueled by drug company-sponsored clinical trials documenting drug effectiveness.

Meanwhile, food and lifestyle have been greatly ignored — including those high-cholesterol foods that people still consume.

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The truth is, dietary fats are necessary for health.

Prescribed dietary and supplemental fats, like omega-3 fatty acids, are common ways to treat coronary vascular disease.

Science demonstrates both damaged cholesterol and excess of dietary sugars promotes heart-vascular disease. So rather than asking, "What are the best foods for high cholesterol?" the better question is, "What foods promote health and prevent heart attacks?"

Heart disease is the true enemy. 

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States — but it wasn't that way until very recently in human history.

Until the last few generations, blocked arteries were not generally a problem for people fortunate enough to survive infant mortality, accidents, and common infections like pneumonia. These groups did not generally develop heart-artery disease.

Excess and modern living. 

Coronary arteries becoming blocked is a relatively new problem; a condition of modern living. Modern living brings forth new excesses (and new lacks). There is overly abundant food, excessive calories, and man-made environmental toxins.

Many people's diets lack nutrient-dense food and fiber. Modern farming practices don't focus on soil quality and diversity. The water, air, and food supply is contaminated with environmental toxins, and variety and excessive load is new to our biology.

The truth is, we need cholestorol. 

Cholesterol is often sorted as the "good" or "bad" type, but it's neither. As a human being, you need cholesterol to be alive and thrive. 

Cholesterol has been one important building block of animal biology, perhaps dating back 2.5 billion years ago. This is thought as part of the evolution for cells to develop in an oxygen-rich environment.

Cholesterol proteins are diverse and essential as cell wall reinforcers, cell signaling via lipid rafts in cell walls. They're a precursor to many hormones, vitamin D, and digestive acids.

HDL and LDL cholesterol are first responders to injury. Cholesterol shows up to take away toxic inflammation, but with stress, cholesterol gets diverted to become stress hormones. Cholesterol chemistry has no evolutionary purpose to cause heart attacks.

Accumulation of damaged cholesterol promotes heart disease.

Inside healthy cells, there isn't much room, and they're already packed. Excess glucose (blood sugar) enters cells and is metabolized into fats. As sugar and fat accumulate in packs of cells, the cells become sick. This type of damage occurs after eating.

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To prevent heart attacks, the best foods will need to be nutrient dense and calorie poor without dumping a bunch of sugar into your bloodstream.

Your cells need diverse micronutrients to thrive, so you need to get outside more. And you need food that's not pro-inflammatory. The "S.A.D." ("Standard American Diet") is pro-inflammatory.

So, what can you eat to battle high cholesterol?

Here are 3 of the best foods to help promote healthy cholesterol levels in your body.

1. Eat plenty of fiber.

Your ancestors consumed perhaps 100 grams daily, while the standard American diet is maybe 15 grams a day. An initial goal of 35 to 50 grams daily is beneficial.

Fiber comes in two varieties: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber feeds your gut bacteria and constipates, while insoluble fiber loosens the stools. Human beings need to get rid of waste excrement at least once a day, and a healthy diet of fiber will make sure that happens.

Having fiber may help slow down sugar surges in your bloodstream. Toxins, including excess sugar, cause inflammation, leading to oxidized cholesterol.

2. Eat colorful foods.

The colors in your food have specific plant nutrients, so getting all the colors in your diet promotes healthy cells.

Your body requires diversity to thrive, and your diet most likely lacks certain colors, like purple. Same goes for fats — you need diversity in your diet.

Humans have four macronutrients: water, carbs, fats, and proteins. The more diversity and quality the better. There are also "essential" fatty acids. They are called essential because they are!

Utilize all five tastebuds every day — sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and savory — to make sure you're getting a wide range of healthy foods. These tastes have been biologically hardwired in the animal kingdom for necessary nutrients.

Manufactured and processed foods are designed to short-circuit your innate wisdom, so it's best to avoid them.

3. Get organic, clean foods.

Food tastes better from nutrient-dense soil filled with life and diversity. Food sitting in a market has probably been sprayed with chemicals and lacks life and flavor, since it's grown for the masses with mono-farming.

You get what you pay for. Remember, you can buy high-quality food affordably, or even grow your own.

And make sure to cook it properly! Don't destroy good foods with high heat.

Foods to lower cholesterol go beyond just changing your diet. You should also change the quality of the food that you're eating, as well. Eat organic, whole, nutrient-dense, foods that are diverse, non-processed, non-GMO, full of life, and clean with all the colors and flavors.

And remember: Eat lots of fiber.

RELATED: Is Eating Cheese Bad For You? How It Affects Your Cholesterol, Weight & Health

Dr. Daniel Rieders is a cardiologist who is certified in Functional Medicine with a focus on natural health and wellness. To find out more, visit his website.