Cholesterol is a naturally occurring substance, essential for a wide range of bodily processes, like membrane buildup, bile secretion, hormone synthesis, and vitamin D production. In fact, this waxy substance is found in each and every cell of the body. Nevertheless, elevated cholesterol (or hypercholesterolemia) is a concern, and acts as a trigger for several illnesses, basically the heart and cardiovascular diseases.
Some simple tips for planning an anti-cholesterol diet are including lean meat (not red meat), fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts for snacks, and non-fatty dairy products. Healthy foods to lower cholesterol include those containing omega-3 essential fatty acids, antioxidants, dietary fiber, and phytosterol.
It would be a good idea to replace walnuts and almonds (in specific amounts) for other snacks for fighting against high cholesterol. Of course, seeds and nuts are rich sources of fats. But, the fatty ingredients in nuts are of a healthier version, i.e., trans fat. They help in counteracting the action of bad cholesterol, while ensuring normal functioning of the heart.
Both red and black grapes are healthy food items for combating hypercholesterolemia. They contain antioxidants and dietary fiber in large amounts, which are helpful in lowering cholesterol levels. Studies have found that consuming red grapes on a regular basis is effective in lowering cholesterol by more than 15 percent.
We all know that apples are one of the healthiest fruits with innumerable health benefits. These sweet or tart tasting fruits are also effective in lowering cholesterol. They contain pectin, flavonoids, and antioxidants, which all work in reducing the amount of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the bloodstream.
Garlic is something that cannot be missed. Using this culinary ingredient in daily cooking is a simple way to reduce cholesterol without any side-effects. In case of garlic supplements, do not ingest them in conjunction with therapeutic medications.
Cinnamon is a wonder spice for lowering triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. Another added benefit of cinnamon is controlling high blood sugar levels in diabetic patients. To get prompt results, use 1 teaspoon of pure cinnamon powder everyday.
Flaxseed and flaxseed oil are touted as the best food choices for obtaining omega-3 fatty acids, which help in lowering cholesterol. While deciding the amount of flaxseed oil to be consumed daily, take your doctor’s guidance. It is claimed that a person with dangerously high cholesterol can take about 1 tablespoon flaxseed oil per day.
Also known for their high protein content, soybeans and soybean products (soy milk, tofu, soy nuts) are right up there. The active ingredients present in soy (especially isoflavones and soluble fiber) provide dual benefits―lowering LDL cholesterol and increasing HDL cholesterol.
In lowering cholesterol, soluble fiber works by binding to the waxy substance, and preventing it from accumulating in the bloodstream. So, adding food items containing high fiber makes sense. Of the several food items, beans, fresh fruits, vegetables, oats, barley, brown rice, and other whole grains are healthy choices.
The effectiveness of omega-3 fatty acids in reducing cholesterol are known to all of us. Salmon is another food source for obtaining these essential fatty acids. In addition, this fish provides proteins in large amounts. Reap the same health benefits by serving mackerel, tuna, sardine, and herring.
Several studies have been conducted on the cholesterol lowering potential of this vegetable oil. The less processed olive oils (virgin and extra-virgin types) are better for therapeutic purposes. In the daily diet, substitute 2 tablespoons of this oil for butter and other fatty substances.
Besides incorporating these food options into your diet plan, you should avoid living a sedentary lifestyle. The basic trick for lowering cholesterol without medication is to follow a healthy diet, perform exercises regularly, and stay away from unhealthy habits like smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. These again help in weight control and minimize the risk of other lifestyle ailments.