Taking Care of Your Heart

By Michelle Slowey, MA, RDN, CDCES


Cholesterol is a waxy fat-like substance that your body produces. It makes new cells, hormones and produces bile, which helps you to digest food. There are 2 types of cholesterol:

HDL- (good cholesterol) Helps to carry the “bad” cholesterol to the liver where it’s broken down and exits the body.

LDL- (bad cholesterol) Contributes to a fatty buildup in the arteries and forms plaque, thereby reducing blood flow.

Triglyceride is a type of fat that comes from the food in your diet.

Desirable Blood Lipid Levels are:

Chol- <200 mg/dl

HDL 60 or higher

LDL <100 mg/dl

Triglyceride <149 mg/dl

Nutrition Tips for a Healthy Heart:

  • Soluble fiber can help lower blood cholesterol levels.

To get more soluble fiber in your diet eat more: oatmeal, oat bran, barley, beans, asparagus, Brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, apples, pears, mangoes, prunes, apricots, oranges.

  • Include foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Eat more: mackerel, halibut, salmon, and sardines.

  • Choose unsaturated oils like olive or avocado oil.

  • Include flax seeds, walnuts, chia seeds, leafy green vegetables in your diet.

  • Avoid hydrogenated oils in baked goods, coffee creamers, packaged snacks, margarine.

  • Avoid high sodium foods such as processed meats, cheeses, fast food, convenience foods.

  • Limit alcohol.

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