Do You Have High Cholesterol? Start Eating These 7 Foods To Bring It To Normal
If you have recently learned that your cholesterol levels are high, you must be thinking how to keep that in the normal range. The first obvious thing that most people would think is the appropriate medication and exercise to lower cholesterol. But many of us don’t know there is another effectual way to reduce the cholesterol level and i.e. adding anti-cholesterol foods to our diet.
High cholesterol level is linked to cardiovascular diseases. While many of us will start eating fresh fruits, vegetables and minimally consuming red meat, there are actually foods that decrease the abundance of bad cholesterol (LDL) floating in the bloodstream. Let’s check out these foods. But before that, it is necessary to know the reasons behind high cholesterol to better put these foods into practice.
What causes high cholesterol?
Cholesterol is referred to a waxy or oily substance found in fats or lipids in the blood. While cholesterol is required for the production of healthy cells, excess of cholesterol can pose risk of heart diseases. Factors that affect your cholesterol level can be briefly pointed out below:
- Unhealthy diet which is full of saturated and trans fat found in animal meat, egg yolks, cheese, butter, cookies, and chips.
- Being obese may decrease HDL (good cholesterol) and increase triglycerides
- Sedentary lifestyle lacking physical activity
- Family history of high cholesterol
- Chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) and some liver diseases
Foods that lower cholesterol levels
1. Oats and Barley
Whole grain foods have plenty of benefits and oats and barley aresome of those foods that help improve cholesterol levels. Several studies have found that eating whole grains can reduce heart disease and stroke by 20 percent. Oats and barley besides an excellent source of minerals and proteincontain a soluble fiber named beta-glucan, which reduces the LDL level cholesterol up to 7 percent.
Tip – Start your day with a bowl of oatmeal to get 2 grams of soluble fiber. Make sure you eatat least 2 servings of whole grain daily.
2. Kidney and Black beans
Beans come loaded with cholesterol-busting soluble fiber. Beans such as black beans and kidney beans are not only heart-friendly but also a good replacement of animal protein. As long as your calorie intake is within the daily limits, beans can prove to be a great tool in reducing your cholesterol levels.
Tip – Take 1 cup of beans at least once a week. To add more to the benefit, add beans to salads and soups.
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3. Walnuts and Almonds
Nuts are known for providing several essential vitamins and minerals along with heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and fiber. Nuts especially walnuts and almonds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, contain compounds such as L-arginine and phytosterol and essential minerals.All these improve functioning of the blood vessels and prevent the formation of blood clots. Nuts can reduce the cholesterols by up to 15 percent.
Tip – Munch 1-2 walnuts and 2 almonds or add them to oatmeal everyday in the morning.
4. Soy Foods
Consuming foods made from soybean was once considered a powerful way to reduce cholesterol levels. While the researches show the effect is moderate like taking 25 grams of soy can lower bad cholesterol by up to 6 percent. Soyfoods area great substitute for animal protein that also lowers the triglycerides without lowering the good cholesterol (HDL).
Tip – Add 2 and a half cup of soy milk or 2 serving of soybeans to your diet.
5. Olive Oil
Olive oil is an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids which increases the HDL, the good cholesterol and simultaneously reduces LDL, the bad cholesterol. Replace saturated and trans fats with olive oil for more heart-healthy benefits.
Tip – Add 2 tablespoon or 23 grams of olive oil a day either in cooking or salad dressing.
6. Green Tea
It would not be an exaggeration to say that green tea is one of the top anti-aging foods known so far. Besides, it also supports heart health by preventing rise in LDL cholesterol levels. Some other studies have suggested that green tea which is rich in anti-oxidant known as polyphenols, also reduces blood pressure and lowers the risk of heart diseases.
Tip – Drink at least 2 cups of green tea per day
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Also known as masoor ki daal in India, lentils helps in lowering cholesterol levels and reducing heart diseases by up to 5 percent. They may also help in weight loss as they are high in protein and fiber that keeps you full.
Tip – Eat at least three-fourth cup per serving. Lentils can be great for making soups.
There is no one magical food that will keep your heart up and healthy, but you have to choose a combination of foods for maximum benefits. These foods have shown to reduce the cholesterol levels, but we need to keep our diet balanced along with daily physical activities.
Also, these foods are not the substitutes for medication, so make sure you are not making any vigorous diet changes. Talk to your doctor or dietician in case of any query.