High cholesterol and overweight are two health problems that affect millions of people around the world. Keep in mind that high cholesterol and overweight are two conditions that can increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and other complications. In these cases, the first thing doctors recommend is to change dietary patterns. However, designing healthy menus to lower cholesterol and lose weight can be a challenge, but it is essential for our health and well-being. Here’s what to consider when designing and planning your cholesterol-lowering and weight-loss meals.
When designing menus to lower cholesterol and weight, it is important to keep several guidelines in mind. These include incorporating fibre-rich foods, limiting saturated fat intake as much as possible while including healthy fats and increasing consumption of omega-3 fatty acids. We look at these in more detail below
One of the keys when designing menus to lower cholesterol and lose weight is to incorporate foods rich in fibre. The reason is simple. Fibre has numerous cholesterol-lowering benefits, as it helps to eliminate excess cholesterol in the body. In addition, fibre helps to improve intestinal transit and maintain stable blood sugar levels, which can be beneficial for weight loss.
Some examples of fibre-rich foods that can be included in the menu are:
- fresh fruit, such as apples, pears and berries
- green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli
- pulses, such as chickpeas and lentils
- whole grains, such as oats and quinoa.
In addition, it is highly recommended to eat wholegrain foods rather than refined foods, as wholegrain foods retain more fibre.
Another key to designing effective cholesterol-lowering and weight-loss menus is to limit consumption of saturated and trans fats. These types of fats can have negative effects on blood cholesterol levels, increasing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and decreasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
To reduce the intake of saturated and trans fats, foods such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, butter, margarine, fried foods and processed foods should be avoided. Instead, choose healthy alternatives for cooking, as we will see below.
Including healthy fats in your diet is another point to consider if you want to lower your cholesterol and weight. These fats benefit your lipid profile by increasing HDL cholesterol levels and lowering LDL cholesterol levels. Examples of foods rich in healthy fats include avocados, nuts, chia seeds and salmon. You can add avocado to your salads, eat a handful of nuts as a snack or incorporate chia seeds into your smoothies or yoghurts.
Salmon, besides being an excellent source of healthy fats, also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory effects and can be beneficial for your heart.
Finally, portion size control is a must for those seeking to effectively lower cholesterol and lose weight. It is important to understand that excess calories can lead to weight gain and increased cholesterol levels. Therefore, it is essential to practice portion control at every meal.
To achieve this you can use smaller plates, read food labels for recommended serving sizes and use measuring tools, such as cups and spoons, to serve food properly. In addition, it is advisable to keep a food diary to record the portions consumed and get a better idea of the amount of calories and fat being eaten.
Here is a sample menu to lower your cholesterol and weight without going hungry and eating well:
- Oatmeal cooked with almond milk and a chopped apple. You can add a little cinnamon for flavour without adding sugar.
- Green tea or coffee without sugar.
- A handful of almonds or walnuts (rich in omega-3 fatty acids).
- Carrot and celery sticks with hummus.
- Low-fat plain yoghurt with berries.
- Large salad with spinach, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and grilled chicken breast. Homemade dressing with extra virgin olive oil, vinegar and mustard.
- A slice of wholemeal bread.
- Apple slices with almond butter (one tablespoon).
- Green tea or herbal teas without sugar.
- Baked salmon with fresh herbs and lemon. Served with steamed broccoli and quinoa.
- Mixed greens salad with lemon and olive oil dressing.
Taking care of our diet is a fundamental tool to prevent cardiovascular diseases and maintain a good quality of life. We each have the power to make choices about our diet and change eating patterns. It is not just a one-off action, but a daily commitment that brings invaluable health benefits.
Understanding this is vital when it comes to organising menus to lower cholesterol and weight and carefully selecting the foods we eat. This ensures that they are balanced and provide the nutrients we need to stay healthy. Also, remembering to plan our menus helps us avoid the temptation to eat unhealthy foods and allows us to incorporate a variety of foods that promote cardiovascular health.
Don’t forget that, when it comes to improving and caring for your cardiovascular health naturally, you can also supplement your diet with food supplements, such as G7 Orgono Col, a specific product for the proper functioning of the cardiovascular system, which combines the benefits of red yeast rice, resveratrol and DHA (an Omega-3 fatty acid).