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Cholesterol and You: How to Prevent Heart Attacks

Updated on May 22, 2011

High cholesterol is dangerous

Cholesterol is a kind of fat that is required for the functionality of all major organs and various body metabolism related to macro and micro elements. Cholesterol and other lipids are important for all of us. It is impossible to consume absolutely zero cholesterol from your diet. You can not totally eleminate cholesterol from your blood.

We don't usually worry too much about the risk of heart disease until we reach 40. But it is becoming increasingly important for adults as young as 20 to pay attention to their cholesterol level in blood. Unhealthy levels may already be damaging their arteries. High cholesterol at young age leads to heart attacks, strokes or paralysis.


  • Bad eating habits.
  • Consumption of excess alcohol.
  • Strong genetic or family history of heart disease.
  • Obesity (it lowers HDL and raises LDL)
  • Associated diabetes mellitus, hypertension.
  • Lack of regular workouts or exercise (it raises LDL and lowers HDL)
  • Smoking (it may lower your HDL level by as much as 15%)
  • High level of stress.

LDL stands for Low Density Lipoprotein and HDL stands for High Density Lipoprotein


  • Preference to protein-centric diet (try to derive only 30% calories from fat)
  • Consume loads of fresh fruits.
  • Eat more fiber-containing foods.
  • Intake more water and other harmless fluids.
  • Avoid consumption of bakery products, deep-fried items, red meat.
  • Avoid excess alcohol, junk foods like burgers or pizza in regular meals.

Click here to read more about heart problems.

High Cholesterol Foods
High Cholesterol Foods
Low Cholesterol Foods
Low Cholesterol Foods

Eat healthy foods that fight cholesterol and keep the heart healthy

1. Oats: Dietary fiber plays an important role in maintaining our health. It protects us against many diseases like diabetes, heart disease. Oats, oat bran and oatmeal contain a specific type of fiber called beta-glucan. It is a soluble fiber that helps in decreasing LDL (bad cholesterol). One of the special things about the way oat work unlike other fibers is that it lowers only bad cholesterol while HDL (good cholesterol) level remains unchanged. This means an even better ratio between total cholesterol and HDL, ensuring increased protection against heart disease. Oatmeal is the only wholegrain food recognized by the FDA to lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease, thereby allows its claim as a heart protective ingredient in food levels. Studies also show that in individuals with high degree cholesterol (above 220 mg/dl), consuming just 3 grams o soluble oat fiber per day (an amount found in a bowl of oatmeal) typically lowers total cholesterol.

2. Barley: Several scientific researchers have found that barley has some unique health-promoting effects, particularly for the heart. Its cholesterol fighting effects seem to be even more promising than oats. Studies suggest that barley can lower cholesterol levels as much as 15 percent in individuals with elevated cholesterol levels. Like oats barley too is a good source of beta-glucan, a water soluble form of fiber, which seems to retard fat and cholesterol absorption by the intestine. The fiber tends to bind the bile salts, thus increasing cholesterol removal from the body. Fat soluble substances, tocotrienols (vitamin E) appear to suppress cholesterol synthesis by the liver.

3. Psyllium Husk: It contains high insoluble fiber (hemi-cellulose) and soluble fiber. Psyllium has also been known to exhibit cardio-protective role as it helps in lowering blood cholesterol, especially the undesirable fraction of serum cholesterol, LDL, triglycerides, apo-lipoprotein B and reducing inflammation. Cholesterol lowering properties of psyllium can be attributed to its high fiber content and presence of beta-sitosterol (a phyto-chemical).

4. Green Tea: Studies suggest that drinking either green or black tea may lower bad cholesterol concentration, blood pressure and inhibit clotting of blood, providing some protection against cardiovascular disease. While green tea benefits arise from catechins, black tea benefits arise from theaflavins, both of which inhibit oxidation of LDL. Tea contains significant amount of folic acid that helps to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. A person could obtain up to 25 percent of RDA for folic acid by drinking 5 cups a day.

5. Soybean: Soy protein protects against heart disease and hypercholesterolemia as it decreases LDL significantly and increases HDL. It also prevents oxidation of bad cholesterol to prevent oxidation in blood vessels.

6. Red Wine: Studies suggest that a moderate amount of red wine (150 ml per day) lowers the risk of heart attack for the people in their middle age. Resveratrol, found in grape skins and seeds can raise HDL level and prevent LDL from forming. Red wine is a source of antioxidants too that purify the metabolic system. It helps prevent blood clots and reduce damage caused by fat deposits to blood vessels. But if you’re a teetotaler, don’t start drinking now. You’ll do well without drinking. Remember drinking wine is not advisable for those with ill health, terminal diseases and pregnant women.

Click here to know more about how to prevent heart attacks.


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