Keeping your heart healthy and eating delicious things should not be mutually exclusive.
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• Eat whole grains and beans. They're high in soluble fiber, which basically binds to the cholesterol you eat so that it passes out of your body instead of sticking around to clog up your arteries.
• Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables: Some fruits and veggies contain lots of soluble fiber, others contains more insoluble fiber (which is also good for you but doesn't affect cholesterol). Eat a variety of fruits and veggies so you get plenty of both kinds of fiber.
• Eat vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds. The monounsaturated fats in these foods can lower your LDL cholesterol, a.k.a. your bad cholesterol. Walnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and flax seeds are all good choices.
• Eat fatty fish, nuts, and avocado. "Omega-3 fatty acids help raise HDL cholesterol, which is your good cholesterol," says Keri Gans, a New York-based registered dietician and the author of The Small Change Diet . Salmon is great for Omega-3s, but so are lots of other fish like trout, mackerel, and sardines.
• Limit fatty animal products, like whole milk, processed meats, and high-fat cuts of red meat. Saturated fat, present in all those foods, has long been considered a major threat to heart health because it can raise the amount of cholesterol in your blood. Recent research questions that wisdom, but Gans says she still follows American Heart Association guidelines. "I still advise my patients to limit saturated fats," she told BuzzFeed. Play it safe by keeping plenty of variety in your diet and not relying solely on animal-based foods for your protein.
Apple Pie Oatmeal
Oats are an excellent source of soluble fiber, and adding apples means you get even more. Recipe here.
Apple and Chicken Egg White Omelet
When you're looking for a savory breakfast, make an egg white omelet. (All of the cholesterol in eggs is found in the yolk.) This one is full heart-healthy nuts, apples, and collard greens, so you won't miss the cheese. Just swap out the coconut oil for olive oil — coconut oil is high in saturated fat and "the verdict is still out" on its health impact, says Gans. Recipe here.