Are your blood test reports indicating that your cholesterol levels are high? Wondering how to lower them with the help of diet? Do not fret. We are here to guide you on how to reduce your cholesterol levels with the help of food.I
It is important that you make changes to your current lifestyle, be active, and have healthy meals to make a change in the levels of cholesterol, and to be fit. Healthy cholesterol levels will lower the chances of heart issues.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol, the waxy like substance is produced in our liver in a natural way. The other source of cholesterol is through the food we eat. Cholesterol is present in animal foods such as meat, poultry, seafood, fish, and whole milk products.
Some amount of cholesterol is essential for the body to carry out important functions, but an excess of cholesterol is harmful. The risk of heart disorders is increased when the cholesterol is high in the blood and it is left untreated. When the total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels are high in the blood, it causes a condition called hyperlipidemia or hypercholesterolemia.
It is recommended that you go for regular check-ups to find out if you have high cholesterol or not. The symptoms are silent and high cholesterol is identified only through blood tests. The doctor may put you on medication if required.
Here we are to talk about some of the foods which can help to lower your cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disorders.
1. Oats: Oats are beneficial to heart health. It has soluble fibers in them which are known as beta-glucan. Studies have shown that beta-glucan helps in reducing the LDL (bad cholesterol), total cholesterol levels, and lowers the risk of heart diseases. After the soluble fiber enters the digestive tract, beta-glucan forms a thick layer in the intestine. The thick layer can hold on to the extra cholesterol and restricts their absorption into the blood. In this way, the extra cholesterol is thrown out of our bodies. Do include oats in your daily meals and it can benefit your health.
2. Fatty Fish: Fishes like mackerel, salmon, sardines, trout, herring and tuna are termed as oily or fatty fishes. They are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids lower your triglyceride levels, can increase HDL (good) cholesterol and can help to manage healthy cholesterol ranges. The way you cook these fishes has an effect on your cholesterol levels. The best way to cook fishes is to steam, grill or broil it. Deep frying the fish will affect the health benefits. The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests eating two servings of fatty fish at least twice a week.
3. Nuts: Nuts are nutrient-dense and offer a lot of nutrients like fiber, protein, vitamin E, minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Nuts like almonds, walnuts, pistachios are rich in unsaturated fats i.e. polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. They also consist of omega 3 fatty acids. Research has shown that nuts can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, total cholesterol, and improve HDL (good) cholesterol levels. But keep a check on the portion size when you eat nuts as they are calorie-dense too. Have raw, unsalted nuts to avoid having excess sodium which are present in salted ones.
4. Avocados: Avocados are rich in healthy monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats lower the LDL cholesterol and boosts the HDL cholesterol. It has plant sterols like beta-sitosterol which helps in lowering cholesterol levels. It also reduces the risk of heart disorders. Avocados are a rich source of potassium and potassium plays a role in reducing blood pressure. Make sure you consume avocados in limited quantities as they are rich in calories.
5. Fenugreek/ Methi seeds: Fenugreek seeds are known to lower LDL cholesterol levels. These seeds contain a compound called saponins. Saponins restrict the absorption of cholesterol and it can reduce cholesterol production in the body. You can soak 1 tsp of fenugreek or methi seeds in water overnight. Drink the water and chew the seeds on an empty stomach the next morning.
Include these foods along with a healthy lifestyle, physical activity, medication (if recommended by a doctor), and a healthy balanced diet to lower your cholesterol levels.