15 Foods to Lower Your Cholesterol
Cholesterol turns out to be one of the major red flags in today’s busy lifestyles and it’s among the top reasons behind many serious illnesses as well. For this reason, we all want to keep our cholesterol levels under control so as to keep ourselves fit and healthy at all times. The simplest of options we have for that is to consume foods that help bring the blood cholesterol levels down. However, before we get into that, let’s first find out what different types of cholesterol exist and what actually leads to high cholesterol levels.
Types of cholesterol
Cholesterol can be divided into different types with regards to density, function and composition. The different types of cholesterol include HDL, LDL and VLDL.
HDL stands for high-thickness lipoprotein. It is known as the “good” cholesterol due to the fact that it is responsible for taking cholesterol from different parts of your body and carrying it back to the liver. After gathering cholesterol from the body, the liver’s job is to expel it.
LDL is an acronym for low-density lipoprotein. It can be classified as “bad” cholesterol in light of the fact that a high LDL level prompts the development of plaque in your arteries.
VLDL, on the other hand, is very low-density lipoprotein. VLDL also promotes the buildup of plaque in the arteries.
Causes of high cholesterol
There are a number of reasons as to why cholesterol levels may rise high enough to pose a threat to your health. Some of these are as follows:
Bad eating habits: Eating unhealthy food that tends to have a high concentration of bad fats is one of the biggest reasons for high cholesterol levels in the body. Oily, deep fried, and processed foods contain bad fats and they can harm your body.
Lack of exercise: Lack of physical activity and a sedentary lifestyle can also contribute to high cholesterol levels in your body. Lack of exercise is directly linked to excessive body weight which can prove to be bad news for your cholesterol levels and, in turn, for your health as well.
Smoking and alcohol: Smoking and alcohol use are also responsible for raising LDL levels.
Top 15 foods that help lower cholesterol
It is obvious that elevated cholesterol levels are harmful for your health. And, now that you know the types and causes of high cholesterol levels, let’s have a look at a few foods that can help lower your cholesterol:
Foods containing soya: Foods containing soya are great for controlling cholesterol levels. They help the body control and regulate the cholesterol being produced. Also, soya has a very low content of saturated fats. Tofu, soya milk and soya beans can all prove to be beneficial in lowering your cholesterol levels.
Nuts: All types of nuts, especially, almonds and walnuts have been proven to significantly reduce cholesterol levels. Nuts are full of good fats and other nutrients. The not only help combat rising cholesterol levels but also prove to be healthy for the heart. Eating nuts everyday in moderation has been found to reduce the risk of heart disease by 28 percent.
Fish: Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids and are known to reduce triglycerides in your blood. Fish like trout, salmon, mackerel and tuna prove to be beneficial for your body. They also reduce the risk of heart attacks. Be sure to eat your fish either steamed, baked or broiled. Fried fish can turn out to be bad for your body.
Avocados: Avocados contain nutrients and monounsaturated fatty acids in abundance. Studies have shown that avocados are favorable for obese adults with high LDL levels. They can help drop the LDL levels in comparison to a certain extent.
Whole grains (Barley, Oat, Oat Bran): Whole grains are a great source of vitamins, minerals and soluble fibers. They contain a fiber called beta glucan that lowers cholesterol. Including whole grains into your diet in all three meals in a day has shown to decrease the risk of heart disease and strokes by 20%.
Olive oil: Olive oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids. These fatty acids help lower LDL level and promote higher HDL levels. Olive oil can also be used as a substitute for butter and other oils that may contain saturated fats as it is a much healthier alternative.
Fruits and vegetable: Fruits and vegetables contain soluble fibers which help in lowering cholesterol levels. They are also low in calories as well. Some good options can include apples, grapes, strawberries, citrus fruits, sweet potato, eggplant, okra, broccoli, and prunes.
Dark chocolate and cocoa: Dark chocolate and cocoa contain flavonoids that bring down cholesterol levels. You should be careful when having chocolate, however, as most of the store brought varieties have a lot of sugar added to them. It’s advisable to stick to unsweetened cocoa and dark chocolate.
Tea: Tea contains a couple of compounds that help lower cholesterol. The two compounds Catechin and Quercetin help in preventing blood clots, improving blood vessel function, and reducing cholesterol and inflammation.
Garlic: Garlic contains a compound called allicin which targets cholesterol levels and reduces heart disease risk factors.
Leafy greens: Leafy greens like arugula, kale and spinach are extremely healthy options if you are looking to control your cholesterol levels. These greens also contain antioxidants that get rid of toxins. Try to add these greens to your daily diet in the form of fresh salads. Avoid overcooking them as this might make them lose their effectiveness.
Beans: Beans are an excellent source of soluble fiber. Beans of all kinds – whether they are black eyed beans, red beans or garbanzo beans – are an excellent choice in a weight loss regime. They are low in calories and tend to make you feel fuller for longer.
Whey protein: Whey is a byproduct of dairy items. It is usually used in the form of supplements and can prove to be beneficial for people with elevated cholesterol levels.
Pulses: Pulses, also known as legumes are rich in proteins and low in saturated fats. This makes them an excellent food choice to be added to your daily diet if you are aiming to reduce your cholesterol levels. Studies also link the use of pulses in your diet to weight loss as well.
Flax Seed: Flax seed, also known as linseed, has numerous health benefits. It contains impressive amounts of nutrients and omega-3 fatty acids which are great for controlling high cholesterol levels.
So, if increasing cholesterol levels have been a major concern for you, try including these 15 super foods into your diet. They will surely help bring things under control. There’s some scientific evidence to back these claims as well which means you can actually rely on the foods listed above to achieve the desired results.
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