It is no news that diet plays a crucial role in our health and wellness. And this especially is true when it comes to managing cholesterol levels. Heart disease is the leading cause of death around the world, and having high cholesterol levels (LDL) can increase this risk of developing heart disease or even heart attacks and stroke. Fortunately, the foods we eat can have a great impact on our cholesterol levels and it is vital that we know which foods are actually healthy for us. But before we dive deep into it, let us first discuss what cholesterol is all about.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance or a type of fat that is produced naturally by the liver. It can also be obtained by eating foods like meat, dairy, eggs and shellfish. It is something that our body needs for it to work efficiently. However, when you have too much of it, it causes a build-up of plaque in your artery walls, making it narrower and difficult for blood to flow through them. If left untreated, this can eventually lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Types of Cholesterol
There are different types of cholesterol that are being carried around our body by different carriers, also known as lipoproteins. The two most common are:
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol are the kind of cholesterol that are beneficial for health. It helps get rid of ‘bad’ cholesterol from the blood vessels.
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol are the kind that are bad for health. High levels of this cholesterol can narrow the artery and cause difficulty in blood flow, which can increase the risk of heart disease or heart failure.
In addition to this, it is important to know that high LDL cholesterol levels does not show any symptoms. You will have to get your blood tested to find out the levels of good or bad cholesterol you have in your blood.
Diet and Cholesterol Management:
Processed foods, junk foods, carbonated drinks, etc, are often packed with saturated fat, trans fat and sugars. Consuming too much of these foods can raise bad (LDL) cholesterol levels, which can be harmful to health in the long run. However, certain foods can help efficiently manage cholesterol levels in our bodies. Some deliver soluble fibre, which binds cholesterol and its precursors in the digestive system and drags them out of the body before they get into circulation. Some offer polyunsaturated fats, which directly lower LDL. And some contain plant sterols and stanols, which block the body from absorbing cholesterol.
That is why it is crucial we know which foods can keep cholesterol within a healthy range and help prevent health issues. Here are 8 foods that can lower cholesterol and improve other risk factors for heart disease.
Also known as pulses, legumes are a group of plant foods that includes beans, peas and lentils(dal). They are known for their rich fibre, minerals and protein content. Beans, especially are a storehouse of soluble fibre and are an excellent food weight management as it makes you feel full longer after a meal.
2. Oats and Barley
Oats is an excellent food when it comes to lowering cholesterol levels as it contains beta-glucan, which is a type of soluble fibre that is beneficial for cholesterol management. Barley, like oats, also contains soluble fibre that can help lower the risk of heart disease, mainly by managing cholesterol levels.
Garlic contains numerous potent plant compounds. This includes allicin, which is the main active compound in ginger. This powerful compound in ginger is known to help lower high blood pressure and even manage high cholesterol levels (LDL). However, Garlic supplements are recommended for the best noticeable effect.
Nuts, especially almonds and walnuts are packed with nutrients that are beneficial for health. They are high in monounsaturated fats and walnut, in particular, contains a variety of omega-3 fatty acids, which is a type of polyunsaturated fat that is linked with heart health. Almonds, on the other hand, are rich in amino acids like L-arginine that helps regulate blood pressure. These nuts also offers phytosterols which help lower cholesterol by blocking its absorption in your intestines.
5. Lady’s Finger
Also known as okra in other parts of the world, this slimy vegetable is quite the veggie for managing cholesterol levels. Besides being a rich source of soluble fibre, the gel in lady’s fingers, which is known as mucilage are known to have the ability to lower LDL cholesterol by binding to it during digestion. This helps cholesterol leave the body through stool.
6. Vegetable Oils
Vegetable oils such as olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, etc, are a healthy and better option when it comes to maintaining health. They are rich in healthy monounsaturated fatty acid which has been linked with heart health. Using these oils can also help lower LDL cholesterol tremeondoulsy! They also contain polyphenols which can prevent munerous complications realting to heart health.
Fruits including apple, grapes, berries, and citrus fruits are rich in soluble fibre, which is beneficial for supporting heart health. Pectin, which is a kind of soluble fibre in these fruits, is known to help lower LDL cholesterol levels by encouraging the body to get rid of cholesterol and inhibiting the liver from producing this compound. They are also a great source of bioactive compounds that can help increase good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol.
8. Heart-healthy supplements
Supplementing your diet with heart-healthy natural supplements is also another great way to help manage your cholesterol levels and protect your heart health. Preserva’s Cardigold Juice and Cholestoblast Capsules are no exception. These healthy supplements are uniquely formulated using the finest and healthiest Ayurvedic ingredients that are known for their incredible heart-healthy properties. They effectively help lower high cholesterol levels as well as high blood pressure, enhances the heart health and prevents all sorts of diseases relating to the heart.
The Bottom Line
LDL cholesterol levels low is important, as it decreases the risk of heart disease and stroke. A person can do this by maintaining a healthy diet that includes high-fiber fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fatty fish, unprocessed soy, and the occasional dark chocolate treat. It is also important to limit the intake of foods high in saturated fat, as these can increase LDL cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease, stroke, and obesity.