You woke up 15 minutes later than normal. After scrambling to throw on some clothes and pack your bag for class, you head to the dining hall for some breakfast. You could grab a bowl of fruit and some oatmeal, but instead you opt for the bacon, egg, and cheese bagel. That might not have been a problem if you were trying to “treat yo’self,” but unfortunately habits form, and before you know it you’ve eaten a BEC bagel 5 days straight. You make jokes about how you need to stop before gaining the freshman fifteen or the senior seventeen, but that’s not enough to change your ways.
While you may think you’re only gaining a few pounds, there is something you’re probably not noticing – your cholesterol. While we might want to believe that high cholesterol is something that can only affect us when we are older, that’s simply not the case. According to the American Heart and Stroke Association, 31.9 million Americans age 20 and older have total cholesterol levels at 240 milligrams per deciliter and higher. This group is at twice the risk of heart disease than those who don’t have high cholesterol.
I know that it would be naïve to think that college students would stop drinking beer or getting three orders of dome nachos while watching a basketball game, but there are ways to improve your cholesterol without changing your diet. Here are a few foods that will increase your happiness while lowering your cholesterol:
- Nuts – Having a handful of nuts a day can help to lower your risk of heart disease. It could be walnuts, peanuts, almonds – really any of kind of nuts would work. Adding a handful to your salad or bringing some peanuts as your snack in class is the perfect way of working these into your day.
- Olive oil – If you haven’t already, you should try to cook with olive oil. They come in different flavors (Trader Joe’s makes an awesome garlic olive oil) that can add extra flavor to your meal. It also makes a perfect salad dressing or a substitute to butter.
- Oatmeal – Instead of eating the BEC bagel that you’ve been grabbing in the dining hall out of convenience, why not try that bowl of fruit and oatmeal? It will allow you to save time and lower your cholesterol simultaneously! Fruit that is high in fiber can also be added into your meal to decrease in your cholesterol levels.
By Courtney Rosser