Cholesterol levels, like many factors of our health, are easily controlled by our diet. The type of cholesterol our doctors monitor most is LDL or the ‘bad’ cholesterol.
High LDL levels can clog blood vessels, building up plaques that slow blood flow. These plaques can often lead to heart disease or even heart attacks, so it is important to know how to prevent them from forming.
There are a few elements of our diet that can keep LDL levels low. They all function differently, but with the same end goal in mind.
One food factor to focus on is potassium. Though we often think of bananas, there are several whole foods that have more potassium than any banana.
Fruit sources of potassium include apricots, raspberries, apples, and citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits. These are easiest to consume because they don’t require any cooking. Grab and go!
Certain vegetables that are high in potassium include dark leafy greens like kale, swiss chard, and spinach offer a lot of nutrients while also being high in fiber. You can easily steam leafy greens in the BSTY Pressure Cooker by using the Steam function, or add them to your meals and cook them with the Sauté function.
White potatoes and sweet potatoes, when baked, offer a starchy component that keeps you fuller for longer, while the potassium helps to lower cholesterol. If you’re short on time, pressure cookers can bake potatoes in half the time an oven can. The Pressure Cook function on the BSTY unit can do it all for you, and you can custom-set the pressure settings instead of just choosing a ‘high’ or ‘low’ option.
Though potassium and cholesterol don’t have a direct relationship, when we focus on potassium consumption, our cholesterol levels are bound to decrease. We get our potassium by eating whole foods. The more whole foods we eat, the more nutrients we absorb, and the lower the LDL levels are.
Fiber has a direct relationship with cholesterol, as it is the most important factor in carrying cholesterol out of the body.
Soluble fiber binds to cholesterol in the bloodstream and expels it so that those LDL components do not stay in circulation. Other fiber, like those from plants, can prevent the absorption of cholesterol altogether, so the LDL is naturally expelled.
Good sources of soluble fiber are beans and legumes. They’re also great sources of potassium, and easy to prepare in a slow cooker. We have a great Mexican Pinto Bean recipe that is quick and easy to make, and a great option for your next dinner meal prep. The BSTY Electric Pressure Cooker has a Bean function that can be used to cook chili, which is a fantastically fiber-rich meal.
Fatty foods, like salmon, avocados, nuts, and olive oils provide HDLs, or the ‘good’ cholesterols, to your bloodstream. Consuming more HDL can lower your risk of plaque formation and heart disease. Try sautéing an almond-crusted salmon in olive oil using the Sauté feature of a pressure cooker for a delicious, HDL-filled meal.
Be grateful that you can control the good and bad components in our bloodstream with something as easy as your diet. By eating whole foods containing the proper nutrients, you can improve your heart health while still eating deliciously.