Healthy and Delicious Snacks to Battle Cholesterol
As we age or struggle with high cholesterol, it is important to pay more attention to what we eat. In fact, the foods we consume can impact our cholesterol and the composition of fats floating through our bloodstream. As suggested by Harvard Health Publishing, making smart food choices includes more than a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner; it is equally important to pay attention to snacks.
Some cholesterol-lowering snacks provide a significant dose of soluble fiber, which binds cholesterol and its precursors in the digestive system and drags them out of the body before they get into circulation.
Here are a few healthy foods and snacks to keep you healthier, stronger and more productive.
Oats and Berries
According to many experts, one of the best ways of reducing cholesterol is to incorporate oatmeal into your diet. No wonder many nutritionists call it a cholesterol-lowering powerhouse. As stated by Medical News Today, oats contain complex carbohydrates and water-soluble fiber, the two ingredients that can slow down digestion and help stabilize levels of blood glucose. In addition, oatmeal is a good source of folate and potassium.
To enhance the taste, toss in a banana or antioxidant-rich berries such as blueberries, blackberries or strawberries. As you may already know, these fruits provide some of the most essential vitamins and minerals while contributing to a low-calorie, cholesterol-fighting snack.
Nuts and Seeds
Most people are probably aware that nuts and seeds are packed with heart-healthy fats and fiber. And there are so many to choose from: Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds, to name just a few. These delicious and super-healthy snacks can be eaten alone or added to yogurt, a salad or oatmeal for a satisfying, cholesterol-lowering crunch.
Greek Yogurt with Honey and Cinnamon
Who needs a cake when you can enjoy healthier desserts that include Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon? As you are likely aware, yogurt is a great source of protein that helps older adults maintain muscle mass and keep full. Adding honey or cinnamon not only levels up the flavor game, but also provides extra antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
Sliced Avocado on Whole Grain Crackers
Some people avoid avocados due to their high fat content. Avocado, however, is a “double-whammy” that contains monounsaturated fats known to lower bad LDL cholesterol while increasing healthy HDL cholesterol. Moreover, it contains vitamin B, vitamin K and vitamin E and is a good source of fiber. So why don’t you spread some ripe avocado on whole grain crackers for a satisfying and nutritious snack that is also incredibly easy to prepare? So enjoy the taste while reaping the health benefits!
Vegetables with Hummus
It goes without saying that vegetables are a great snack option providing a variety of health benefits for people of all ages, including older adults. As suggested by Walker Methodist Organization, including veggies of different colors into your diet is very important as each color contains different vitamins and antioxidants. As you know, there are a lot of vegetables you can enjoy raw including sweet peppers, snap peas, carrots, celery and broccoli. You may also dip carrots or celery sticks into hummus for a creamy and flavorful twist. Pairing veggies with hummus not only increases the protein content of the snack but also supports a health metabolism.
How can we proceed without mentioning chocolate? Of course I am talking about dark chocolate here! Some people may find it surprising that dark chocolate in moderation can serve as a heart-healthy snack. Known for containing compounds that improve blood flow and protect the heart, dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa should be incorporated into your dieting plan to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Quinoa Salad with Veggies or Salmon
Quinoa is a versatile, protein-packed grain and one the healthiest foods to consume. It is also perfect for making salads. A quinoa salad loaded with vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers or bell peppers is a nutritious and cholesterol-friendly snack option. It may also be a great idea to add grilled or smoked salmon to your quinoa salad as salmon is a source of omega-3 fatty acids and contains an impressive amount of vitamin D and calcium. Omega-3s are certainly known for their heart-protective properties; they help reduce inflammation and lower cholesterol levels.
In conclusion: It is important to keep in mind that making smart choices when it comes to snacking can affect your cholesterol level, as well as your overall well-being. Oftentimes, all you need to do to improve your cholesterol profile and live a longer and healthier life is to pay more attention to your nutritional choices and enjoy tasty snacks that include some of our suggestions above. After all, maintaining a healthy lifestyle becomes increasingly important as we age.
The information in the above article is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.