Foods That Lower Cholesterol cannot be overemphasized. Consuming plenty saturated fat increases cholesterol levels. However, research has indicated that cutting down on saturated fat and replacing it with everyday foods that have more unsaturated fat can improve our cholesterol levels.
Heart diseases have become quite usual these days. High cholesterol level is one of the contributing components to heart disease. Most of us possess this misconception that cholesterol is hazardous to health. It should be kept in mind that cholesterol is a type of fat or lipid created in the liver and some amount of it is imperative for proper functioning of the body. Cholesterol can be classified into two types, namely:
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol or “bad cholesterol”
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol or “good cholesterol”
Now, you might have got an initiative as to which kind of cholesterol poses adverse effects to your health. It is a known fact that high levels of LDL cholesterol can block your arteries, leading to heart diseases. In the same vein, it is extremely paramount to get the desired level of HDL cholesterol (above 60 mg/day) as it keeps your body away from excess levels of bad cholesterol by moving it from the blood vessels to the liver from where it is excreted and eliminated. Thus, even low levels of HDL cholesterol can enlarge the risk of heart disease.
Foods That Lower Cholesterol You Are Not Aware Of
Before we talk about the main topic- Foods that lower cholesterol, take a quick grasp and awareness of some kinds of foods that raise cholesterol:
Foods that raise cholesterol
Consuming too much-saturated fat enlarges cholesterol levels. This is why it is best to reduce the number of foods we eat that are high in saturated fats such as:
Full fat cheese, milk, cream and yogurt
Lard, dripping and goose fat
Fatty meat and meat products such as sausages
Coconut and palm oils and coconut cream
In addition, many foods such as milk chocolate, cakes, toffee, puddings, rich biscuits, pastries and pies, which are produced from the list above can also increase cholesterol.
Foods That Lower Cholesterol
Plants or foods that lower cholesterol does not contain cholesterol and are generally low in saturated fat so vegetables and other plant-based foods should be classified regularly in a diet to lower cholesterol. These include oat cereals, beans and pulses, barley fruit, vegetables, nuts, soya foods and drinks, seeds, e.t.c.
An easy first guide to improving your cholesterol is consuming a bowl of oatmeal or cold oat-based cereal like Cheerios for breakfast. It provides you with 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber. Include a banana or some strawberries for another half-gram. Current nutrition principles recommend getting 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day, with at least 5 to 10 grams coming from soluble fiber. (The average American acquires about half that amount.)
Consuming nuts is certainly one of the best ways to bring your cholesterol levels under control. Quite a number of studies have shown that the consumption of about a handful of nuts like peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts and macadamia nuts can enlarge HDL cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of heart disease. They are also sufficient in other nutrients like vitamin E, copper, magnesium and phytochemicals. Walnuts are sufficient in polyunsaturated fatty acids which aid to keep the blood vessels healthy. You can arrange a trail mix of all kinds of chopped nuts and sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons on your salads, desserts, yogurt, pilafs or cereal. However, nuts are also rich in calories, so they should be consumed in moderation. It is advisable to take 2 tablespoons of chopped nuts 5 times a week or a handful of nuts as snacks 3 to 4 times a week.
Garlic has long been utilized to add flavor to meals, but it also possesses some significant health benefits. Garlic has been evidenced to help lessen the occurrence of clotting in the blood and can thus help avoid the build-up of plaque in the arteries in the course of the early stages of atherosclerosis. However, it may not possess any significant effects for someone already experiencing heart disease due to the high cholesterol levels.
Apart from being a great source of protein, soy and soy products like tofu, soy flour and soy milk are powerful foods to lessen cholesterol levels. Soy and soy foods have compounds called isoflavones, which perform the task of reducing LDL cholesterol. Studies have indicated that consumption of 15 grams of soy protein can lessen your LDL cholesterol by 5% to 6%. Soy is a great alternative to meat products which contain lots of unhealthy saturated fat. You can make use of crumbled soy instead of ground meat in soups, lasagna and casseroles. Tofu can also be made use of in a variety of recipes. For more benefits, it is advisable to take the whole soybean which is high in protein, isoflavone and phytates that perform tasks together to minimize cholesterol levels.
Beans are majorly rich in soluble fiber. They also take awhile for the body to digest, signifying that you feel full for longer after a meal. That’s one reason beans are an essential food for folks trying to lose weight. With so many alternatives — ranging from the navy and black-eyed peas to kidney beans, lentils, garbanzos, and beyond — and plenty of manners to prepare them, beans are a very versatile food.
Fish is the only non-vegetarian food that aids minimize high cholesterol levels. Intake of fish twice to thrice a week can lessen your LDL cholesterol in two ways. Firstly, it is a good substitute for meat which has LDL-boosting saturated fats. Secondly, all types of fatty fish like mackerel, trout, herring, tuna, salmon, sardines, halibut etc have rich levels of omega-3 fatty acids which lower LDL cholesterol. Omega-3s keep away the onset of abnormal heart rhythms by lessening the number of triglycerides in the bloodstream. They also control blood pressure and lessen the risk of developing blood clots. Fish oil is also a rich source of Omega-3s and is often recommended for those who have already experienced a heart attack.
READ ALSO: Signs That You Should Stop Eating Red Meat
Eggplant and okra
These two low-calorie vegetables are rich sources of soluble fiber.
Making use of liquid vegetable oils such as canola, sunflower, safflower, and others in place of butter, lard, or shortening in the course of cooking or at the table helps lower LDL.
Apples, grapes, strawberries, citrus fruits
These fruits are high in pectin, a type of soluble fiber that lessens LDL.
Foods fortified with sterols and stanols
Sterols and stanols extracted from plants gum up the body’s ability to absorb cholesterol from food. Companies are putting them to foods ranging from margarine and granola bars to chocolate and orange juice. They are also available as supplements. Taking 2 grams of plant sterols or stanols a day can lower LDL cholesterol by about 10%.
Supplements offer the lowest appealing way to acquire soluble fiber. Two teaspoons a day of psyllium, which is discovered in Metamucil and other bulk-forming laxatives, give about 4 grams of soluble fiber.
Fire up your water kettle, because according to a new meta-analysis of 14 studies, green tea significantly lowers total and LDL cholesterol levels (by 7.20 mg/dL and 2.19 mg/dL, respectively). In some research work, participants drank tea; in others, they consumed green tea supplements.
Foods That Lower Cholesterol: General Tips for Boosting HDL Cholesterol
While the foods to reduce cholesterol above are all good for aiding lower cholesterol naturally, any foods that enlarge your HDL levels can make up a useful part of a cholesterol-lowering diet.
When it comes to identifying foods that will aid you in this respect, you want to look for a few different nutrients:
Omega-3 and monounsaturated fats.
Foods high in soluble fiber.
Learn to familiarize yourself with food labels so you can ascertain which foods contain the nutrients you’re looking for.
Also research various foods online to ascertain what they contain, as many won’t have any labelling on them when you buy them at a store (fruit and vegetables, for example).
Thus, if high cholesterol level is an issue of your concern, go ahead and make these foods a part of your diet. However, it should be noted that diet is not the only way to reduce cholesterol levels. Regular exercise plays an equally paramount role in regulating your cholesterol levels. All in all, one should adopt a healthy lifestyle.