Cholesterol is a term that all of us are familiar with; modern-day society is obsessed with it. Perhaps our lifestyle and the food we consume today have brought it into the limelight. High cholesterol has become a common condition that plagues society today.
What is cholesterol, and why is a high amount of it considered bad for your health?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance, similar to fat, that’s found in your blood. While your body needs cholesterol for several reasons, such as to make hormones, for vitamin D, and to build healthy cells, high levels of it could result in an increased risk of heart diseases. Too much cholesterol can result in the formation of fatty substances; these deposits form plaque, which clogs the arteries. This restricts blood flow and can cause a heart attack or stroke. Read on to learn about the 10 low cholesterol foods and how to lower cholesterol with a diet.
There are two types of cholesterol, HDL or High-Density Lipoprotein, known as “good” cholesterol and LDL or Low-Density Lipoprotein, which is known as “bad” cholesterol. LDL or “bad” cholesterols are bad for your health and can cause health issues such as heart attacks and stroke. So, it is important to lower bad cholesterol to avoid heart diseases. High cholesterol can be inherited, but often it is a result of unhealthy lifestyle practice. Not only is high cholesterol a result of a bad lifestyle, but it can also be lowered or controlled by changing your lifestyle. Check out the best Indian diet plan for immunity and weight loss here.
High cholesterol could lead to severe health issues, such as heart diseases. Controlling cholesterol levels shouldn’t take much effort; a simple lifestyle change is enough. All you need to do to lower your cholesterol levels is to avoid smoking, limit alcohol intake, exercise regularly, and follow a healthy diet. Food plays a key role in the rise or fall of cholesterol levels; healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and more reduce LDL cholesterol levels and raise HDL levels while unhealthy fried and fast food, rich in trans fat and calories do the opposite. Read on to find the role of food in cholesterol levels.
Food plays an important role in determining cholesterol levels. Some foods could increase cholesterol, while some foods could decrease cholesterol levels. It all depends on what you eat. In many cases, food is the main culprit behind high bad cholesterol levels, there are also foods that could lower the bad cholesterol and keep normal HDL cholesterol levels. But it is also important to lead a healthy lifestyle, especially ensuring that you lose excess weight. Check out why you need to lose those extra kilos.
Foods that are fried, high in sugar, and trans or saturated fats tend to increase LDL cholesterol levels. Saturated fats raise bad cholesterol and are also associated with a higher risk of a heart attack. Foods such as burgers, french fries, pastries, and cakes are examples of unhealthy foods to avoid. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, nuts, seeds, and soy products are foods that one must consume to lower cholesterol levels. Let’s take a look at the best foods to lower cholesterol levels.
Do you wish to learn how to improve cholesterol levels? Just incorporate the following foods into your diet to lower cholesterol levels.
While it is important to consume these foods, it is also crucial to avoid unhealthy foods. Unhealthy foods rich in trans or saturated fats and high amounts of calories shouldn’t be a part of your diet.
Nuts such as almonds and walnuts have an incredible range of healthy properties, among them being their ability to lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol. Both almonds and walnuts are rich in monounsaturated fats, and walnuts are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which is good for a healthy heart. So, munch on those yummy nuts to lower bad cholesterol and keep your heart healthy.
Fish is one of the healthiest foods for multiple reasons. It is excellent for the skin, hair, brain, and heart. Fish is a part of the Mediterranean diet, known to be one of the healthiest diets, if not the healthiest for heart and overall health. Fatty fishes such as salmon, mackerel and tuna help lower bad cholesterol levels and are also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Whole grains such as oats and barley are associated with a lower risk of heart diseases. Whole grains retain all the nutrients, unlike refined grains. They both contain beta-glucan, a soluble fibre that helps lower LDL cholesterol.
The benefits of fruits are well-known; they are superfoods that provide an array of nutrients that can help prevent and even control illnesses. Berries and other fruits can decrease LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol. Fruits are rich in soluble fibres that help in lowering bad cholesterol.
Legumes, also known as pulses, such as beans, lentils, peanuts and peas, are excellent sources of nutrients, including protein. They are a better protein source than meat because they contain high amounts of protein but with much less fat and a negligible amount of cholesterol. This helps in keeping cardiovascular diseases at bay.
While green tea has gained widespread popularity for its benefits, other teas such as black tea are also beneficial for health. Tea may help lower inflammation while the catechins in them can keep the blood pressure healthy.
Perhaps the tastiest way to lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol is by eating dark chocolates. Dark chocolate can also decrease blood pressure and increase HDL or “good” cholesterol. But ensure that you get one with less sugar and a high percentage of chocolate.
Seeds such as flaxseeds, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds are excellent protein sources, fibre, fats, vitamins and minerals. Seeds are a good vegan source of protein and can help lower LDL cholesterol levels.
Soy products such as soybeans, tofu and soy milk are an excellent alternative to dairy products. They are also known to lower LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol.
Garlic has been used as a medicine to treat various ailments for ages. It has many properties that are beneficial for your health. Garlic helps lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol.
Including the above good cholesterol foods in your daily diet is beneficial in more than one way. These superfoods not only lower your cholesterol but are also rich in nutrients. They can help you achieve optimal health and strengthen your immune system to help it ward off illnesses.
Now that you know about the foods to reduce cholesterol, take a look at some of the drinks that could also help control cholesterol levels.
There are many drinks that could help lower LDL cholesterol and improve HDL cholesterol. We have already talked about the benefits of consuming tea. Even a moderate amount of alcohol is known to lower “bad” cholesterol, although high alcohol consumption can lead to several health complications. Drinks such as berry smoothies, green tea, soy milk help lower cholesterol levels. Even low to moderate alcohol levels is beneficial in maintaining low cholesterol levels, but excess consumption of alcohol could lead to severe consequences.
You must avoid coffee or tea with full cream milk, coconut oil-based drinks, and ice cream drinks. Now that you know about the best food and best drinks to lower cholesterol, let’s look at the foods that increase bad cholesterol levels.
While there are foods that do not impact cholesterol levels and foods that lower cholesterol levels, there are also foods that increase cholesterol levels.
These foods increase the LDL level or “bad” cholesterol, which later blocks arteries leading to heart diseases. The following foods are considered to be some of the worst foods for high cholesterol:
Deep-fried foods are high in cholesterol, trans fat, and calories. While low or even moderate consumption may not be too harmful, regular consumption of fried foods could lead to heart diseases, obesity, and diabetes.
Sugar rich sweets, cakes, pastries, ice creams, and cookies often contain a high amount of calories. They are also high in fats and increase cholesterol levels. These foods are not rich in nutrients, and frequent consumption could lead to diabetes, heart diseases, and obesity, among other conditions.
Regular fast food consumption is associated with many diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and heart diseases. People who indulge in fast food too often usually suffer from high cholesterol levels and blood pressure fluctuations. Fast food such as burgers, sandwiches, and french fries are high in calories and unhealthy fast.
It could be difficult to control your food intake and keep track of what you are eating. To make the job easier, you can follow a low cholesterol diet plan. Let us look at the diet plan.
A simple change in diet can help lower LDL or bad cholesterol and increase HDL or good cholesterol. A diet low in saturated and trans fats and high in soluble fibre is good for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels; unsaturated fats are also healthy.
A low cholesterol diet plan would require you to avoid oily fried food, fast food, sugary desserts. These foods raise cholesterol levels as they are rich in fats and calories. They also do not have much nutritional value. A diet plan to lower cholesterol would require you to limit or avoid meat intake. Long term consumption of such food could result in various illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, and heart diseases.
This diet would encourage you to include whole grains, nuts, seeds, fish, vegetables, fruits, dark chocolate, legumes, tea, garlic, and soy. These foods lower bad cholesterol levels and increase good cholesterol. You will be advised to consume foods rich in soluble fibres, avoid excess calories, and maintain a healthy weight. So, how quickly can you reduce your cholesterol levels with a diet? That depends on many factors, but following such a diet should lower your cholesterol levels to some extent and provide other benefits.
Eggs are one of the healthiest foods with an array of health benefits. Eggs can be consumed in different ways; they can be fried, boiled or scrambled. They are one of the best protein sources and are also rich in vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B12, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B5, calcium, and zinc.
But over the years, eggs have gained a bad reputation owing to the high cholesterol content, especially in the yolks. Studies have been unable to prove that eggs increase cholesterol; some studies have shown that consuming eggs, including the yolk, barely increases cholesterol levels. However, it is recommended to consume eggs in moderation and not in excess.
Cholesterol plays an important role in keeping your body healthy, but too much of it can cause adverse reactions. High cholesterol could lead to health issues, such as heart diseases. A lifestyle change can help lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. Exercise, weight loss, avoiding smoking and incorporating a healthy diet could help lower cholesterol.
A good low cholesterol diet includes healthy unsaturated fats and excludes trans fat. Just following the right diet to reduce cholesterol and moderate activity is enough to keep your cholesterol in check and prevent illnesses.
A: LDL cholesterol is known as “bad” cholesterol as a high LDL level leads to a build-up of cholesterol in your arteries. Foods such as whole grains, fish, fruits, nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, soy, tea, legumes, and garlic lower bad cholesterol.
A: Yes. Fruits such as Bananas are effective in lowering cholesterol. Bananas are also rich in soluble fibres, which are known to lower cholesterol.
A: These are foods that help keep your cholesterol levels in check. Foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, fish, nuts, seeds, tea, soy and dark chocolate are good low cholesterol foods.
A: A complete lifestyle change is an easy way to reduce cholesterol quickly. A good diet, along with regular exercise and reduction in weight, can help reduce cholesterol. Avoid unhealthy foods that include trans fat, avoid smoking, do not consume excess alcohol, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, and eat more soluble fibre and foods that lower cholesterol fast.
A: Lowering cholesterol in a short span of time requires a lifestyle change. Exercising regularly, avoiding unhealthy foods and eating the right food could help in lowering cholesterol quickly. Foods such as dark chocolate, whole grains, fruits, fish, nuts, and other low cholesterol foods help lower bad cholesterol and improve good cholesterol.
A: High cholesterol could be hereditary, but it could also result from a bad diet and a sedentary lifestyle. So, diet plays a crucial role in an increase or decrease in cholesterol levels. A cholesterol-lowering diet will include healthy foods such as whole grains, fish, nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits and tea.
A: To reduce cholesterol levels, it is important to reduce or avoid foods that increase cholesterol. It is crucial to reduce the consumption of saturated fats and avoid trans fat as much as possible. Foods that are rich in saturated fats are coconut oil, meat, and dairy.
Trans fat is usually found in packaged food such as pastries, cookies, potato chips and other junk food.
A: Drinking water can be beneficial in keeping the cholesterol level in check. Dehydration can make your blood more acidic which can lead to the building of LDL cholesterol. Water also helps flush out extra cholesterol.
A: High cholesterol can be prevented and even kept under control by leading a healthy lifestyle. A good diet, regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent high cholesterol and even keep it under control. Foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish, tea and garlic can keep your cholesterol levels in check.
A: There is no guarantee that you could reduce cholesterol significantly in 30 days. But you could reduce it to some extent by staying active, reducing the consumption of unhealthy foods, avoiding smoking and limiting alcohol consumption. A good diet consisting of whole grains, fruits, nuts, seeds, fish, and other low cholesterol foods can help you reduce cholesterol.