If you're concerned about your cholesterol levels, Dr. Mehmet Oz has a message for you: By following a healthy diet, you can reduce your "bad" cholesterol levels and boost your "good" cholesterol while enhancing your overall health. On his September 18 talk show, Dr. Oz teamed up with Cedric the Entertainer to explore the link between food and cholesterol.
What you should know: Tests for cholesterol measure both HDL (good) and bad (LDL) levels. HDL helps your body remove LDL cholesterol from the arterial walls, after which it's returned to the liver and broken down. Ideal HDL cholesterol measurements are a minimum of 50 mg/dl, says Dr. Oz.
Although Cedric has lost weight, he still needs to improve his cholesterol readings. But the good news about weight loss: A 10-pound loss can reduce your LDL cholesterol by 10 percent.
Dr. Oz encouraged Cedric and viewers to choose foods that can make a difference in lowering your bad cholesterol and boosting your good cholesterol:
- Bananas contain soluble fiber.
- Salmon and sardines provide you with omega-3 fatty acids, which help to slow plaque buildup in your arteries while raising levels of HDL, the protective "good" cholesterol.
- Olive oil is high in antioxidants and monounsaturated fats, which have been shown to lower LDL, or "bad" cholesterol.
- Use whole garlic to help prevent oxidation of LDL, which aids in limiting cholesterol's damaging effects on our vessel walls.
- Spinach is high in lutein, a pigment that prevents cholesterol from accumulating in your arteries.
- Grapes have soluble fiber and contain antioxidants.
- Dark chocolate wins with its flavanols that can reduce blood pressure and increase blood flow.
- Avocado provides you with good fats to increase good cholesterol.
- Japanese eggplant may be new to your plate, but it's high in fiber and gives you LDL-reducing compounds. With only 20 calories per cup and multiple health benefits, it's worth the adventure!