High cholesterol (>200mg/dL) is often associated with a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. With dangerous levels of cholesterol flowing in the blood, some can deposit in the arteries, which can limit the flow of blood and lead to cardiovascular problems. High cholesterol has no obvious symptoms until it leads to problems, so it’s better to discuss getting a blood test with your doctor if you think you are at risk. Risk factors include: a diet high in saturated fat, obesity, large waist circumference, diabetes, lack of exercise, and smoking.
If you’ve been diagnosed with high cholesterol, follow your doctor’s advice, whether it’s for diet, exercise, medication, weight loss, or a combination of these. You can help complement your doctor’s advice by including foods in your diet that can help lower cholesterol also. Different foods can work in different ways to help lower cholesterol levels. For gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band patients who are also seeking to lose weight, choosing the right foods can be a little tricky. Care should be taken to ensure that adding foods to your diet does not increase your overall calories, or it could jeopardize your weight loss efforts.
We’ve researched three foods that can help lower cholesterol and can easily be incorporated into a weight loss diet for bariatric patients.
1. Whole Grains
Oats, barley, whole wheat, and brown rice are whole grains, meaning they have not been processed as much as their grain counterparts and are higher in soluble fiber. This dietary fiber actually can bond to the cholesterol in the blood and remove it before it gets absorbed. It can also help keep your bowel habits more regular, and can help you feel fuller for longer, which can also help with weight loss.
Apples, grapes, strawberries, prunes, and blueberries are associated with cholesterol lowering properties. Some attribute their abilities to soluble fiber or pectin. These fruits (especially the prunes) do have a high sugar content, and should be eaten in healthy portions and used as part of a meal or snack for people seeking lower cholesterol and lose weight.
Beans and legumes (chickpeas, lentils, black, kidney, pinto, etc) are low in calories, a great source of fiber, and have a healthy dose of protein, making them ideal for weight loss in addition to their cholesterol lowering effects. They can be used to in conjunction with meat in recipes for extra protein (like chili and soups), as a dip (black bean dip, white bean and garlic dip), as a main or side dish (stewed lentils), or as a snack (crispy baked chickpeas). They are extremely versatile as well as inexpensive making them a great choice for everybody, not just those seeking weight loss and lower cholesterol.
The above suggestion is offered by Dr. Shillingford, M.D., P.A., a board certified surgeon specializing in laparoscopic, robotic, and weight loss surgery. Dr. Shillingford performs gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and gastric band surgery at one of South Florida’s few hospitals designated as a Center of Excellence for Bariatric Surgery by the American Society for Bariatric Surgery. Some of his patients come from local areas, such as Miami and Fort Lauderdale, but his reputation and surgical skills also attract patients from as far away as Orlando, Jacksonville, Sarasota, Tampa, Fort Meyers, and Naples. His weight loss surgery patients are often have other factors influencing their health, such as high LDL cholesterol.