Maintain Your Cholesterol Levels This Festive Season

Photo by Gabriel Garcia Marengo on Unsplash

Happy December everyone, the festive season is upon us! For some of us, it’s a time for reflection on the good and the bad that has happened throughout the past year. For others, it’s a time of planning for the year ahead. Mostly, it is also a time for family, friends, and food as we round up our year.

Keeping Healthy During This Festive Season

Reading this, you’re probably thinking that you will have to forego some of your favourite meals just to stay fit for the new year. The truth is that you do not have to subscribe to that at all. Why skip your favourite holiday treat when you can just make tiny choices that will make these foods healthier.

Beating that cholesterol game

In recent times, there has been much discussion about cholesterol. It hits home more considering that a lot of foods in the festive season can be high in cholesterol. Turkey, eggnog, pies, and all that ham just to name a few. But there are ways to enjoy your favourite foods and still regulate your cholesterol levels. Before we get to that, we should remind you that when we talk about cholesterol, there are two different types that everyone needs to know about. These include:

  • High-density Lipoprotein (HDL)
  • Low-density Lipoprotein (LDL)

HDLs are the healthy type of cholesterol which offer nutritional value to the body, while LDLs are the unhealthy type of cholesterol which one needs to reduce the consumption of. When taken in high amounts, LDL can lead to heart-related complications like heart attacks and strokes. Without further ado, let’s take a look at how we can better regulate our cholesterol even as we enjoy our favourite holiday snacks.

Related: How to Differentiate Between Different Aspects of Cholesterol

5 Tips on How to Maintain Cholesterol Levels This Holiday

1. Add olive oil to all your meals 

We all have different food cravings, however, one common ingredient that you will find in most of these foods is oil. Apart from being a great cooking ingredient, olive oil comes with healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). It also helps to lower LDL cholesterol which is the wrong kind of cholesterol which we do not need in our body. Also, it helps to trim belly fats. Apart from being a great cooking ingredient, it can be used for multiple purposes which include:

  • Dressing on salads
  • Marinating chicken and fish
  • Roasting vegetables

2. Keep salmon a staple on your dining tables

The holiday season is coming, and one way to eat healthily is to consume Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acid is known to lower LDL, which when in high amount can lead to severe heart-related complications. Findings from Loma Linda University also shows that increasing intake of Omega 3 fatty acids can help to improve the recovery of the nervous system when damaged. There may be a lot of fish in the ocean but if you’re looking to keep your cholesterol at an optimal level, salmon makes an excellent catch. Besides salmon, sardines and herrings are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

3. Here’s to all the red wine this festive season

Apart from just enjoying food, most people during the holiday season indulge in lots of drinking. Findings from Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain show that drinking a moderate amount of red wine helps to reduce LDL by 9%. These findings also show that red wine contains neuroprotective properties. You can also use wine to prepare some of your favourite meals such as meatloaf and spaghetti amongst others.

4. How about some garlic to spice up your holidays

Did you know that garlic helps to reduce LDL in your body? Apart from giving food great taste, garlic acid also exhibits a myriad of benefits. This includes lowering blood pressure, reducing blood clots, and even preventing infections by stimulating the immune system. 

5. Tis’ the season to go nuts with your loved ones 

With all of the eating during the festive season, how are nuts important? Well, nuts naturally contain sterols which help to reduce absorption of LDL. Eating nuts, therefore, helps to reduce the risk of health-related complications since it targets your bad cholesterol. Moreover, apart from being a good source of sterols, nuts are also rich in fibre. Suitable examples of nuts which you should consume during this festive season include:

  • Almonds
  • Pistachios
  • Peanuts
  • Brazilian Nuts

The Final Verdict

As we enter the festive season, let’s not forget to eat healthily. One of the many ways to ensure that you increase your intake of healthy cholesterol is through the incorporation of the five essential foods mentioned above. They will help reduce absorption of LDL which is harmful to our body while promoting the intake of HDL. Although we have only mentioned five meals, they are other foods which you can include, so it is essential to visit your nutritionist for more information.

Interested in getting into shape after all the celebratory food this festive season?

Get your head start on being healthy here.

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