High levels of cholesterol can threaten general heart health. People who suffer with high cholesterol are vulnerable to heart diseases, especially cardiac arrests. An unhealthy diet is the major reason for the accumulation of cholesterol. People consume what pleases their taste buds without considering its ill effects on their health. It is unfortunate that, most people today, are victims of increased levels of cholesterol. Are you on a diet or running after pills to lower your cholesterol levels? We will tell you a better solution for the problem. Even if you have high cholesterol levels, you need not starve yourself to lower its effects. Everybody knows that ice cream, butter and meats, increase the levels of cholesterol. Not eating such items is not the solution but restricting the amount you consume, is. Do you know that there are ample foods that can offer you delicious alternatives and lower your lipid levels? Some of these ‘functional foods’ have been proved to influence your cholesterol levels and are found to be more efficient than tablets, for reducing fat. Check out information on foods that will help reduce cholesterol levels.
Recommended Foods & Diets That Help Lower Cholesterol
- Have a breakfast rich in fiber, like oatmeal, wholegrain muffins, fruits etc. Read the nutrition labels given on the cereal box to select ones with five grams or more fiber per serving. Including oat bran and rice bran in your diet would be effective too.
- Consume whole grains such as wholegrain breads, muffins, waffles and pancakes for a low-cholesterol diet.
- Start eating legumes (beans) cooked or raw, three times a week. You can try variations by either cooking bean soup, preparing cold bean salad, making sandwiches or black bean dips for snacks. Beans are rich in fiber, especially the cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber. Having a cup of any beans regularly—kidney, navy, pinto, black, chickpea, or butter beans—can reduce cholesterol by as much as 10% in 6 weeks.
- Include soy protein in your diet. You can have soya milk, tofu and textured soy protein too. It reduces the saturated fats and helps cut the blood cholesterol. It is a good replacement for meat and cheese. Saturated fats are generally found in animal products such as beef, lamb, pork, whole milk, cream, butter, and cheese.
- On a daily basis, have five servings of fruits and vegetables. One could be during breakfast, another at lunch, one in the evening, one before dinner and one during dinner, in the form of cooked vegetable or a side dish.
- Instead of juice, have the whole fruit (including the skin). Juice is the fiber-less form of fruit.
- Incorporate garlic in your food, in whatever form. Both cooked and raw garlic have compounds which help in lowering production of cholesterol in the liver. Garlic is an ancient medicinal vegetable for a healthy heart. The benefits of garlic have long been known to people. It helps lower cholesterol, prevents blood clots, reduces blood pressure, and protects the body against infections. Moreover, recent studies have revealed that garlic helps to stop artery-clogging plate (nanoplaque), at its initial stage.
- Raw onion, salmon, olive oil, almonds, walnuts and avocados, are also good in lowering cholesterol. Nuts, mostly cashews, almonds and walnuts are good for the heart. The presence of various minerals and vitamins increases the chances of a healthy heart, providing a low to moderate-fat diet.
- Have ample foods, which contain natural antioxidants, Vitamins C and E. Foods like red and green peppers, cantaloupe, sunflower seeds, strawberries, papaya, peanuts, oranges, grapefruit juice, wheat germ, soybeans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, wheat germ oil and soybean oil contain a lot of antioxidant properties.
- Green leafy vegetables and green salads should make an essential part of your daily menu.
- If you want to eat non-vegetarian food, opt for lean meats and chicken (which provide Vitamin B6 and B12), which are effective in lowering lipid levels.
- If you are fond of fish, eat more cold water fish, such as salmons. These fish contain omega-3 fatty acids which help lower the "bad" or LDL cholesterol, raise the "good" or HDL cholesterol, and reduce triglycerides. Other than salmon, fish like white albacore tuna canned in water, anchovies, rainbow trout, herring, sardines, and mackerel are recommended.
- Fruits are good for the body and are recommended for people with high cholesterol levels.
- Spinach is rich in lutein, which is known to guard age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness. Researchers have also found that foods rich in lutein can reduce the chances of heart attacks, by helping artery walls dismiss cholesterol.