Reduce Cholesterol By Eating Cholesterol Lowering Foods – Say Yes To These Foods
It’s a simple logic that if your diet can give you high cholesterol, it can lower it, too. Diet plays a significant role in managing your cholesterol. It’s easy to eat your way to frighteningly raised cholesterol level. On the other hand by making some simple changes to your daily diet, you can reduce your cholesterol and protect your heart.
Foods that lower cholesterol work out in different ways. Some provide soluble fiber, which binds cholesterol and its originators in the digestive system and pulls them out of the body before they enter into blood circulation. Some deliver you polyunsaturated fats, which directly reduce LDL. Some cholesterol lowering foods comprise of plant sterols and stanols, which prevent the body from absorbing cholesterol.
To reduce cholesterol naturally you not only need to eat foods that lower LDL – the harmful cholesterol, but also cut back on foods that hike LDL.
6 Best Foods To Lower Cholesterol Naturally
According to the American Heart Association, ‘You can reduce cholesterol in your blood by eating healthy foods’. Here is our list of top 6 foods to lower your cholesterol.
1. Oats – Oat Bran and other High Fiber Foods, such as, Barley, Whole grains, Beans: Switch your morning breakfast to Oats, an easy first step to reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your body. Oatmeal is packed with fiber, which lowers the low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the so called “Bad” cholesterol.
Two servings of oats can lower LDL (Bad Cholesterol) by around 5% in only six weeks. You need to have 5 to 10 grams or more of soluble fiber per day to reduce your total and LDL cholesterol. 1 ½ cups of cooked oatmeal can supply 4-6 grams of fiber. Add a fruit like bananas and strawberries to get 4 grams more of fiber to make it to a total 10 grams.
Just like oats and oat bran, you can try other foods like barley and other whole grains that too are rich source of soluble fiber.
Beans are also packed with soluble fiber. The bonus point which the beans have is that they take more time to digest. That makes you feel full for longer after a meal. Because of this reason, beans are considered good for even those people who are trying to lose weight. You can try variety of beans, like from navy and kidney beans to lentils, black eyed peas and so many others.
Eggplants and Okra are the two vegetables that are considered as rich source of soluble fiber.
Other sources of soluble fibers are apples, grapes, pears, barley and prunes to reduce LDL.
2. Salmon and Fatty Fish: Eating fish is heart healthy because of its very high contents of omega-3 and fatty acids, which can help in controlling heart conditions, like heart attack, stroke and cholesterol levels. They are also good for those who have already had heart attacks, as it reduces chances of sudden heart attack.
Eating fatty fish two to three times a week work as a two pronged strategy. On the one hand it replaces meat, which is responsible for LDL-boosting saturated fats, and secondly by providing LDL-lowering omega -3 fats. Omega-3 fats help in reducing triglycerides in your bloodstream and also guard the heart by helping to stop the onset of abnormal heart rhythms.
The American Heart Association recommends having at least two servings of fish in a week. Following fish are known to be packed with omega-3 fatty acids:
(ii) Lake trout
(iv) Albacore tuna
Best way to cook fish is to bake or grill it to avoid unhealthy fats.
For people who don’t like fish, they can get omega-3 fatty acids from foods like ground flaxseeds or canola oil. But they are in small amounts only.
3. Walnuts, Almonds And Other Nuts: They contain mono-unsaturated fats which have the lowest fatty acid molecules and reduce the blood cholesterol. They have the best fat, namely, mono-unsaturated fats out of the three fats – poly-saturated, saturated and mono-unsaturated fats.
Also the fats that come from the nuts are natural, healthy, filling, and nutritious, unlike the chemically processed fats.
Make it sure that the nuts you eat are un-salted and are not coated with sugar. The expert say that eating about a handful of nuts per day including walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pine-nuts, pistachio control the heart risk.
4. Olive Oil: This oil is full of health benefits. It comprises of mono-unsaturated fatty acids which reduce bad cholesterol and triglycerides, but leave your “good” (HDL) cholesterol untouched.
Go for extra-virgin oil which is less processed and has more heart-friendly antioxidants. It also helps in reducing cholesterol. Next option is virgin olive oil.
But note that light olive oils are lot more processed as compared to extra-virgin or virgin varieties and have much less cholesterol-lowering effects. They are lighter in color only and not in fat or calories.
5. Vegetable Oils: Other choices instead of olive oil are liquid vegetable oils such as canola, sunflower, and safflower in place butter or lard to reduce LDL.
6. Foods fortified with Sterols and Stanols: Foods that have been added with sterols and stanols (substances extracted from plants) help in blocking the absorption of cholesterol from the foods by the body. Consuming two grams of plant sterols and stanols reduce LDL cholesterol by 10%. The plus point is that they don’t appear to have any impact on the levels of triglycerides or of HDL (high density lipoprotein, the “good” cholesterol). The foods available in the market that contain Sterols and stanols are some margarine, orange juices, granola bars, chocolates and yogurt drinks.
Reduce Cholesterol By Avoiding Following Foods – Say no to these foods
For any of above foods to work towards lowering your cholesterol, you need to make few more changes to your diet and lifestyle. Harmful LDL crawls upward and good cholesterol slides downward mostly because of diet and other lifestyle habits. Genetic factors also play a role – that is one thing you cannot change. But you can do following to reduce cholesterol naturally:
Cut back on the total fat and cholesterol: Avoid eating saturated and Trans fats, as much as you can.
(1) Saturated Fats: Saturated fats, such as in red meat, full fat milk and dairy products, and coconut & palm oils, directly hike your total cholesterol and LDL. Try to swap extra-lean beef and chicken for red meat; low-fat or skimmed milk for whole milk, olive oil or a vegetable oil for butter and margarine and baked or grilled food for fried.
(2) Trans Fats: They are responsible for hiking LDL – the bad cholesterol – like saturated fats. They also lower good HDL – the good cholesterol, boost up inflammation, and upsurge the likelihood for blood clots to occur inside blood vessels. They are present in margarine, store-bought cookies, cakes, etc.
So our suggestion is include in your diet foods enriched with plant sterols; oats, barley, psyllium, okra, and eggplant, all rich in soluble fiber; soy protein; and whole almonds. Also include in your diet plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains instead of highly refined ones, and protein mostly from plants.
Studies have also shown that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts is not only good for you in lowering cholesterol, but It also keeps blood pressure in check. The bonus point it has is that It keeps arteries flexible and responsive. Further it’s good for bones and digestive health, for vision and mental health as well.
Weight and Exercise: To have full benefit of consuming foods that lower cholesterol, you need to make a few other heart-healthy lifestyle changes to reduce cholesterol naturally. Consult your doctor about exercising, quitting smoking and losing excess weight. Whereas excess weight hikes harmful LDL, the inactivity lowers protective HDL.