Did your recent visit to your doctor make you rethink your eating patterns? Did you find out that you have high cholesterol levels in blood? Looking for ways to bring that down naturally? Then you must read this article.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is the fat content in the body, reflected in the blood cholesterol levels. Your body contains an optimum amount of cholesterol, which is essential for the normal functioning of the body. There are fat-soluble nutrients, which primarily dissolve in cholesterol, for transport and storage.
It is important to understand the difference between Good cholesterol and Bad cholesterol. Good cholesterol is high-density lipoprotein protects you against cardiovascular diseases. On the other hand, Bad cholesterol is low-density lipoprotein, that is instrumental in the initiation and the progression of high-risk cardiovascular diseases. A favorable scenario will be to have more of high-density lipoprotein (Good cholesterol) and less of low-density lipoprotein (Bad cholesterol).
Why should you have low cholesterol?
When we talk about ideally having ‘low cholesterol’, we talk about having low levels of bad cholesterol. Low-density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol transports fat from liver and deposits in the heart and other blood vessels, increasing the chances of heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure. So low levels of this cholesterol in your blood will protect you against the development of risk factors for the cardiovascular diseases.
Recommended Read: 10 Foods That Increase Your Good Cholesterol Levels
How do you lower this cholesterol?
The best way to reduce this cholesterol is to cut down on the consumption of high-fat foods. A good fitness regime would be a great idea as well. There is also medication that you can take, in consultation with a doctor, to keep the cholesterol levels in your blood low.
Can I reduce cholesterol naturally?
The long-term solution to reducing cholesterol is to do it naturally, by adjusting your diet. So what are the foods you can have to reduce cholesterol naturally? Read on to find out:
- Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats: With a demonstrable reduction of low-density lipoprotein by 18% in few months, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in the form of olive oil, avocados, olives, peanuts, peanut oil, canola oil are the best substitutes for saturated animal fats.
- Bran from oats and rice: Low-density lipoproteins take a bow in front of the oat bran with a proven reduction by 7-14%. Consuming whole oatmeal or brown rice for breakfast is an effective way to lower blood cholesterol levels.
- Flax seeds: Consuming flax seeds in bread, or in a muffin, reduces bad cholesterol by 14%. Flax seeds are easily found in baked products and oatmeal.
- Garlic: One of nature’s best ingredients for better health, one garlic clove a day reduces cholesterol by 10% minimum. Further consuming raw garlic on an empty stomach is preferred, in addition to the salad dressings, or as a garnish on soups.
- Almonds: A popular snack, and rich in calories, but very effective in reducing cholesterol by 10% when consumed daily (a minimum of a quarter cup). Almonds can be a regular constituent of your diet. Remember to be frugal, as they contain high calories.
- Foods rich in lycopene: A carotenoid pigment, lycopene is found in fruits and vegetables that contain red color like watermelon, tomato, etc. More than reducing the cholesterol levels, lycopene helps in protecting the heart from oxidative stress damage.
- Walnuts and pistachios: Eating walnuts and pistachios reduce the intake of other bad cholesterol foods and aids in promoting the fat metabolism in the body. They can be consumed as snacks, or eaten as part of other products like cakes. But they have to be regularly consumed, for you to get optimum benefits.
- Whole barley: With a reduction in bad cholesterol by 10%, whole barley is an excellent substitute for wheat products. You can make noodles, flour or other dishes from it.
- Dark chocolate: Made from the cocoa plant, dark chocolate contains huge amounts of antioxidants that help in the regulation of fat metabolism and thereby contributes to the reduction of bad cholesterol in the blood.
- Green tea: If we miss this from the list, then it is not complete. Green tea is supposed to flush out toxins from the body and lower cholesterol by 5%. When you consume green tea without sugar, it is especially beneficial.
Now, for the most important part – how to go about including these in your diet? You have to first take stock of what you are eating. Then slowly replace the bad cholesterol foods with the options listed above. For instance, if you are someone who loves to binge on empty calories during breaks, then try replacing them with nuts and oilseeds. If you are a coffee addict, then replace it with green tea. This may not be possible to achieve in a day or a week – but persistent efforts will give consistent results.
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