25 healthy foods to lower cholesterol
Life has changed, and so has our lifestyle. Long sitting hours, faulty eating habits, lack of physical activity and no personal time makes us prone to various lifestyle related disorders like obesity, diabetes and high blood cholesterol levels.
When there is too much cholesterol in your blood, it builds up in the walls of your arteries. The arteries become narrowed and blood flow to the heart muscle is slowed down or blocked. The blood carries oxygen to the heart, and if enough blood and oxygen cannot reach your heart, you may suffer chest pain. If the blood supply to a portion of the heart is completely cut off by a blockage, the result is a heart attack. If the blood supply to your brain is cut off by a blockage, the result is a stroke or paralysis.
High cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) can be inherited, but is often preventable and treatable. A healthy diet, regular exercise and medication (if prescribed by the doctor) can go a long way toward reducing high cholesterol.
Here are a few cholesterol lowering items for your kitchen that are easily available at the supermarket in your locality:- 1. Apple Cider Vinegar, a health tonic promoted for treating allergies, rashes, and infections and for aiding in digestion and promoting weight loss. The American Diabetes Association recommends vinegar as a way to increase insulin sensitivity for type-2 diabetics. Studies have shown that apple cider vinegar when consumed with water showed a reduction in LDL (bad) cholesterol and an increase in HDL (good) cholesterol. Because of its strong flavor and relatively low caloric content, apple cider vinegar is a healthy alternative to creamy dressings and sauces.
2. Avocados contain significant amounts of good fats (oleic acid, healthy monounsaturated fat) and fiber that helps boost good
cholesterol and lower bad. You can add avocados to your salad or make a nice avocado dip.
3. Barley,one of the most nourishing cereals known to lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels and regulate blood sugar levels. Studies suggest that the cholesterol lowering effect is caused by beta-glucan, a type of fibre present in barley, which has shown to reduce cholesterol levels from 4% - 10% depending on the amount of barley taken. Barley can easily be substituted for wheat in the form of rotis, khakras, noodles and delicious soup can be made from pearl barley available at chemist outlets.
4. Beans and Legumes like Bengal Gram (Chana), Kidney beans (Rajma) and Chick peas(kabuli chana), are rich in dietary fibre which help to lower Cholesterol levels and prevent blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal. Studies suggest that taking as little as 3/4 cup beans daily can help lower LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides. They are low in fat (most of this is polyunsaturated)and are a healthy source of carbohydrates for persons with insulin resistance or diabetes. Have in the form of sprouts, salad, hummus, baked falafel, chillas.
5. Brown Rice, being unpolished, retains most of its fiber and nutrient content that are otherwise removed from refined, white or polished rice. These nutrients include B vitamins, selenium, magnesium and phytonutrients. A cup of brown rice supplies about 14% of the daily recommended value for fiber. This high fiber content helps lower blood sugar and cholesterol. Best to be used as a substitute for white rice, dosa, pulao or biryani
6. Broccoli has shown to have cholesterol lowering properties. Steamed broccoli is more beneficial than raw broccoli in lowering cholesterol levels. The fiber in broccoli lower cholesterol by binding with bile acids in the digestive tract and excreting it out of the . Make it a part of your diet by including it in your stir fry, salads and soups
7. Celery, due to its high antioxidant content has shown to lower risk of heart disease by preventing oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol. Make it a part of your diet by including it in your vegetable juice, stir fry, salads and soups 8. Cinnamon, just half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day has shown to significantly reduce blood sugar levels, triglycerides, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and total cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Add it to your green tea or use it in food to add flavor
9. Coriander seeds, has useful cholesterol lowering properties. Boil two tablespoon of coriander seeds in a glass of water. Strain the decoction after cooling and drink this twice a day for good results.
10. Cluster beans, (gavar) have shown to lower cholesterol levels. It is rich in dietary fibre (guar gum) which is beneficial in lowering cholesterol levels.
11. Fenugreek seeds (methi),when consumed on a regular basis has shown to lower total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels in blood. Regular consumption of fenugreek seeds have also found to be effective in controlling blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
12. Fatty Fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines are a rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids and proteins. Scientific evidence shows that consuming fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids reduces triglyceride levels by as much as 25-30 percent, increases levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL), and therefore reduces the risk for heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends eating two servings (1serving=100gms) of fatty fish every week. To get maximum health benefit, it is better to bake, broil, steam or grill fish instead of frying them in oil.
13. Fruits such as pear, apples, oranges, berries, grapefruit and pomegranate have shown to reduce cholesterol levels in blood due
to its high fiber content. Eat fruits with skin wherever possible Their edible skin is an additional source of fiber
14. Garlic, contains allicin which has shown to lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Several studies have shown that less than half a clove (900mg) of raw garlic a day can lower cholesterol by 9-12%. It can be taken in the form of raw cloves one to two a day. 15. Ginger has shown to improve heart health. A study testing the properties of ginger found that ginger reduced cholesterol, triglyceride and blood sugar levels. It also raises HDL (good) cholesterol. It also helps improve blood circulation, reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. You can enjoy your morning cup of ginger tea or add it to your food and lower your risk of heart disease.
16. Green Tea, contains catechin polyphenols which are known to provide protective effects on the heart. Studies have shown that drinking green tea lowers total and LDL (bad) cholesterol but has no effect on HDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Since it has zero calories (when taken without sugar), it is great for people watching their weight.
17. Ispaghula husk (psyllium), contains high levels of soluble fiber and is considered to be an adjunct to statins in lowering blood cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that consumption of 7-10 gms (one to two teaspoon) psyllium/day lowers blood cholesterol levels by 4-11% and LDL cholesterol levels by 6-18%. It has also shown to aid weight loss, provide satiety and lower blood sugar levels. Recommendation is one teaspoon twice a day with water daily.
18. Lemons provide enormous health benefits as they are fat free, sodium free, cholesterol free, high in vitamin C and low in calories. Lemons contain limonoids, which has shown to reduce the production of apo B, a substance associated with higher cholesterol levels. Flavonoids, also found in lemons, have potential antioxidant
properties which reduce the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Use lemon in salad dressings, make lemon juice or add to foods to enhance flavor.
19. Multigrain Atta, a perfect blend of whole wheat flour, soya, oats, husk powder,barley, maize flour, Bengal gram flour. It is a rich source of B vitamins and fiber which helps to lower LDL Cholesterol (bad cholesterol) thereby reducing the risk of heart disease.
20. Nuts & Seeds-Walnuts, Almonds, Chia seeds, Sunflower seeds and Flax seeds (Alsi) provide considerable amounts of healthy fats (omega -3 fatty acids), fiber, and other heart friendly nutrients which have shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease. They can be taken as a mid meal snack or added to the breakfast cereal, however one must take care not to eat more than a handful of nuts (30g) per day as they are a rich source of calories. Avoid those that are salty, sugar-coated, chocolate-coated or honey-roasted to enjoy their health benefits.
21. Oatmeal and Oatbran, contains soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which is also found in some other healthy foods like apple, pear and prunes. Studies have shown that eating as little as 3 grams of soluble oat fiber daily, present in one bowl of oatmeal , can reduce total cholesterol by 8-23 percent in people with high cholesterol. The recommended amount of oatmeal to eat per day for people with diabetes or high blood cholesterol is about 1 1/2 cups of cooked oatmeal which contains about 150 calories and 4-6 grams of fiber. Other than porridge, Oatmeal can also be served as part of other foods like Oats pancakes, Oats upma, Oats idli, Oats raita, Oats in soup
22. Rice bran oil, extracted from the bran layer contains healthy fat, mono unsaturated fatty acid(MUFA) shown to lower LDL levels in people with high cholesterol. Keep a watch on the amount of oil used even if it is healthy.1 liter oil is sufficient for 2 adults per month
23. Soy, and its products like tofu, nuggets, nutrella , soy nuts and unflavored soy milk helps to lower cholesterol levels in blood. Consuming 25 grams of soy protein a day has shown to lower LDL by 5% to 6%. Because of its high protein content (9 gms protein in 20 gms soya), it is a good replacement for animal protein in vegetarians. Replacing animal protein with soy protein could lower levels of total cholesterol, bad LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides without lowering HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
24. Tomatoes, are significant source of a plant compound called lycopene, which reduces levels of LDL cholesterol. Research shows that the body absorbs more lycopene if the tomatoes are processed or cooked, so drink tomato juice and add tomatoes to your minestrone soup as well to get maximum benefits of the cholesterol lowering property of cholesterol
25. Vegetables like Okra (Ladies finger) and Egg plant (brinjal), contain soluble fiber which helps to lower cholesterol levels. Include these vegetables in your diet but make sure you do not cook it in too much oil as it loses its nutritive properties.
The National Institute of Nutrition recommends that every individual should consume at least 300 g of vegetables (50 gms of green leafy vegetable, 200 gms of other vegetables and 50gms of root vegetables) and 100gms of fruit daily
* Including these foods in the diet is just one step to lowering cholesterol. For best results, also incorporate physical activity on most days of the week, choose healthy foods, quit smoking, maintain a healthy weight and eliminate or reduce alcohol intake.
Disclaimer: Although these foods are generally safe, they can interfere with some medications you may be taking. We recommend you consult your physician/dietician before making these foods an everyday part of your diet.