Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Heart Health

by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN Health Professional

Consuming a low cholesterol diet is not necessarily the best treatment plan for lowering cholesterol levels and reducing your risk for heart disease.

Why? Well, it depends on which of your total cholesterol particles is elevated. For example, if LDL cholesterol is high, it's best to focus on reducing your intake of saturated fat. If triglycerides are elevated you want to reduce your sugar and alcohol intake for the most impact. Knowing which of your cholesterol particles is elevated will allow you to implement a more effective treatment plan.

Then you also have the other component - inflammation. Cholesterol by itself does not necessarily lead to heart disease. It's a process that begins with inflammation resulting in the oxidation of cholesterol particles. So, you also want to incorporate a diet rich in "anti-inflammatory foods".

How to Follow an Anti-Inflammatory Dieimit Sugars & Refined Grains

Sugar causes insulin levels to rise which irritates blood vessel linings, promotes high blood pressure, increases cell oxidation, and increases risk for metabolic syndrome. Keep in mind sugars not only include desserts, candy, and soft drinks, but also refined carbohydrates can increase inflammation.

Trans Fats

Eliminate foods that contain trans fatty acids. This includes avoiding margarines that contain trans fatty acids and vegetable shortening. You'll need to read food labels to determine if a food contains trans fatty acids or partially hydrogenated oils listed as an ingredient.

Omega 3's

Increase your intake of foods rich in the anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids. Some sources of omega 3's include salmon, walnuts, and flaxseed. You may want to consider a fish oil supplement to boost your omega 3 intake.

Fruits & Vegetable

Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of antioxidants to fight inflammation and the formation of free radicals. Great choices include berries and dark green leafy vegetables"but any fruits and vegetables you add to your diet will boost antioxidant intake and reduce inflammation.

As you implement a diet to reduce chronic inflammation and promote heart health, aim for variety and include as many fresh foods as possible. Limit your intake of packaged and processed foods".as well as dining out at fast food restaurants.

Lisa Nelson, RD, LN
Meet Our Writer
Lisa Nelson, RD, LN

Lisa Nelson RD, a registered dietitian since 1999, provides step-by-step guidance to lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure, so you can live life and enjoy your family for years to come. Lisa's passion for health comes from her own family history of heart disease, so she doesn't dispense trendy treatments; Lisa practices what she teaches in her own daily life. Because her own health is the foundation of her expertise, you can trust that Lisa will make it truly possible for you to see dramatic changes in your health, without unrealistic fads or impossibly difficult techniques.