High cholesterol has become a bane to mankind. It poses a serious threat to the health of an individual putting him/her at risk for coronary heart disease, obesity and high blood pressure. Unhealthy eating habits remain one of the top reasons for high cholesterol.You can however reverse very high cholesterol by making subtle tweaks to your diet and adopting healthier eating habits. Here is a list of foods that are supposedly good for lowering cholesterol and keeping your heart healthy.
List of Foods to Lower Your Cholesterol
Oatmeal and Oat Bran
Oatmeal and oat bran is said to have one of the highest sources of fibre. Fibre is necessary for the body not only for smooth digestion but also for lowering the LDL cholesterol or the bad cholesterol in the body. Soluble fibre is also found in other fruits like apples pears, beans and barley. Aim to eat at least a small cup of oats every day. This will up your fibre intake by adding 5-10 Gms more of fibre than you would normally consume. If you add some fruit to your porridge like bananas or apples, you will fare even better.
Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Eating fatty fish can be very heart healthy. That is because fatty fish like salmon has a high content of omega-3 fatty acids. These acids not only lower the blood pressure of a person but also reduce the incidence of blood clots and bring down high cholesterol readings significantly. Some fish sources have a higher content of omega-3 fatty acids.These include fish like salmon, mackerel, herring and sardine all of which help to provide the vital omega-3 fatty acids. Aim to have 3-4 portions of these fish at least 3-4 times a week for keeping the heart healthy. Ensure that you do not have too much of fish as some varieties contain high amounts of mercury which are not good especially for pregnant women.
Walnuts, Almonds and Other Nuts
In continuation with the previous point, certain nuts like walnuts, almonds also have a very high content of omega-3 fatty acids. These also contain polyunsaturated fatty acids that keep the blood vessels healthy and devoid of arterial plaque that can damage the heart. Try eating a handful of unsalted nuts everyday for keeping your heart healthy.You can eat walnuts, almonds, pecan nuts, peanuts, pine nuts and pistachio as these are all high in polyunsaturated fatty acids that help to lower the bad cholesterol in the body. Just ensure that they are not salted or deep-fried, as this will negate the positive effects of the nuts.
Olive oil is a potent source of heart healthy anti-oxidants that helps to lower the bad cholesterol and keeps the good cholesterol levels elevated. Instead of using plain refined oil or ghee, use two tablespoons of olive oil in your food everyday to keep your heart fit and strong. You can sauté your veggies in it to get its maximum benefits. It is also great for deep-frying, as it is infinitely healthier than your regular oil. Olive oil is also being increasingly used as a salad dressing. Moreover, it is very tasty and adds flavour and zest to your food.
Beans and Lentils
Certain beans like red kidney beans and other whole beans are great for lowering your cholesterol readings. Have these along with other lentils and peas to keep the heart healthy and strong. Red kidney beans for instance have very high sources of fibre, protein and low levels of fat all of which are very good for the body.
There are certain fruits, which top the charts for their heart healthy benefits. These include apples, pears, pineapples and certain berries. They are high on anti-oxidants, which destroy free radicals in the body and also lower the blood cholesterol levels in the body.
Berries and Veggies
Certain green and leafy veggies like spinach, lettuce and cruciferous vegetables are good for lowering cholesterol. Aim to also consume berries like strawberries, cranberries and blueberries as they contain antioxidants that reduce the bad cholesterol in the body. This bad cholesterol is responsible for causing the formation of sticky plaque that causes atherosclerosis and other heart conditions.
Plant Sterols and Stanols
There are certain foods like yoghurt and orange juice, which are fortified with plant sterols and stenols. These are said to be good for reducing the overall bad cholesterol in the body. They do this by reducing the absorption of cholesterol in the blood and thereby lowering your readings.
Garlic has come under the scanner recently for not only its anti-bacterial properties but also for its heart healthy benefits. Garlic has the compound allicin, which is an active substance known for reducing the bad cholesterol in the body.Make sure you take in garlic every day in your diet. You can eat it raw with honey or add it as a flavouring agent to your soups, broths and curries.
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Avocadoes contain oleic acid, which is a monounsaturated fatty acid that is very good for lowering the bad cholesterol in the body and elevating the good cholesterol.
Try to eat raw carrots everyday in your diet. Eat them in the form of a salad. Carrots contain pectin, which is said to be very good for reducing the bad cholesterol in the body. Other foods, which also contain pectin, are apples, cherries and raspberries. These have been found to be useful in lowering the cholesterol readings.
Sesame seeds contain phytosterols, which help to reduce the bad cholesterol in the body significantly. Other foods that are also said to be high on phytosterols are cabbage, spinach, broccoli, ginger, squash and strawberries.
The fruit is said to be useful in fighting and warding off the damage caused by arterial plaque on the blood vessels. It produces nitric oxide that reduces the arterial plaque.These are some of the foods that contain very high sources of fibre, anti-oxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids all of which help to lower the cholesterol readings significantly.