- Diet & Weight Loss»
- Healthy Diets
Foods That Help Lower Cholesterol
People are growing more health conscious day by day due to increase in stress levels, more complex lifestyles, and hectic job schedules.
The kind of diet we take nowadays is directly proportional to the well being of our body. If we take a balanced diet, then we can be sound and happy. We will be able to think in a better way, or else vice-versa.
In today’s rat race world, we need to be active and a go-getter, so for that it is important that we maintain our health and body defense to fight against various ailments.
Increase in the stress levels, consumption of fast foods, being in a secluded environment etc. and many factors leads to risk in the case of heart related ailments. One condition with this respect is the increase in the cholesterol level. So how can we reduce it and is it important to reduce it are the major questions that comes to one’s mind while thinking about the cholesterol levels.
Liver produces a substance which is soft and waxy in nature, and is used by the body to create some hormones. This substance is known as Cholesterol. It is of two types: HDL and LDL.
HDL is known to be good cholesterol and is required in the body in sufficient amounts, while LDL is known to be bad cholesterol as it blocks the arteries and creates clots in the free flow of blood.
Cholesterol is produced when we take non-vegetarian diet and also gets produced in the body by a complex process.
On an average, liver produces around 1,000 mgs of cholesterol daily and anything beyond this is considered to be extra. According the American Heart Association, only 300 mgs per day is recommended.
To keep the cholesterol level in check, one should avoid meat products daily and increase the intake of beans or nuts and cut down on high fat processed foods. You can also go for the exercise to help you stay fit.
Generally, a healthy diet comprising of plenty of vegetables, seasonal fruits, fibrous foods, whole grains and foods low in saturated foods should be consumed.
By changing some food habits and lifestyle, you can keep your bad cholesterol at bay.
Here are some of the foods that you can have in order to stay healthy:-
1. Oat bran, oatmeal and high-fiber foods
Oatmeal is rich in soluble fiber content, which is required to lower the lower density lipoprotein.
You can also have foods like kidney beans, pears, apples, prunes and barleys as they are also rich in soluble fiber.
Bloodstream cholesterol gets reduced by consuming soluble fiber. Daily intake of 5 to 10 grams can help in lowering down the LDL cholesterol levels. You can gain 6gms of fiber by having a 1 ½ cups of cooked oatmeal. Adding bananas will increase the fiber content to 4 grams additionally.
2. Fish containing omega-3 fatty acids
Doctors have always recommended eating a fish for healthy heart. Fish contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids that aids in reducing blood pressure and avoiding blood clots.
Providing a diet of fish oil to a person diagnosed with heart problems can reduce the chance of sudden heart attacks and death.
Two meals of fish per week are recommended, but it should be grilled or baked. High levels of omega-3 fatty acids can be found in the species like Lake trout, Herring, Sardines, Mackerel, Tuna, Salmon and Halibut.
If you are a vegetarian, then you can go for ground flaxseed or canola oil.
Omega-3 supplements are also available in the market easily, but should be taken along with a vegetable or fish for absorption of proper nutrients.
3. Variety of Nuts
Nuts like almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachio and peanuts are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids that reduce blood cholesterol, thereby keeping the blood vessels healthy.
For keeping your heart healthy, one must consume around 1.5 ounces, or 42.5 grams a day, according to the food and drug administration.
Make sure that you don’t overdo in terms of eating nuts, as they are high in calories. In place of cheese, you can try a dressing of handful of nuts.
You can also have sunflower seeds and poppy seeds to maintain the cholesterol level.
4. Olive oil
It is rich in antioxidants and is considered to lower down the levels of LDL besides maintains the levels of HDL in the body.
According to the Food and Drug administration, having 2 tablespoons (23 grams) of it in your food keeps your heart young. There is no. of ways by which you can use olive oil, cook your food in olive oil, sauté vegetables in it, or use it as a salad dressing along with vinegar.
For better results, you can try extra-virgin olive oil, which is less processed and is high on heart-healthy antioxidants.
5 Plant sterols or stanol enriched foods
Consume foods that contain sterols or stanols. Stanols are the substances that are found in the plants and helps in blocking the absorption of cholesterol.
Stanols are usually added to food items like orange juice, margarine's and yogurt drinks to help in reducing LDL cholesterol by around 10%. For viable results, one should consume around 2 grams of plant sterols daily.
Avocado is a fruit, rich in beta sitosterol is also helpful in reducing blood cholesterol when consumed regularly for a week.
Apart from this, you can try the following foods of varied categories that can keep your heart healthy:-
Legumes - In this section you can go for Beans, Tofu, Lentils, Soybeans, and Sprouts.
Fruits - Oranges, Tomato, and Banana.
Vegetables - Onions, Radish, Pepper, Leafy green vegetables, Mushrooms, Cucumbers etc.
Herbs - Dandelion root, Peppermint, Hawthorne berry, Chamomile etc.
Oils - Grape seed oils, Sesame oils and Walnut oils.
To ensure that all the above mentioned foods provide their best results, you need to work hard on maintaining your diet and lifestyle in a proper way. Do exercise daily, cut down on saturated and trans fats food items like cookies and cakes which are hard to ignore. By doing this, your heart will love you and you could also feel a change in yourself. Have a happy and healthy heart.