We bring you 10 best food for lowering cholesterol. But let us discuss Cholesterol first. It is an essential substance that our body produces either naturally or from foods of animal origin. . This substance is important to the body because it intervenes in many vital body functions such as the transport of fat-soluble vitamins (vitamin A, D, E, and K), production of bile acid, and the formation of some types of hormone in the body. 80% of cholesterol is made in the liver and 20% comes from some foods (dietary cholesterol).
Cholesterol by itself is not dangerous but the vehicle in which it travels can have a deleterious effect on the health. As a fat, cholesterol cannot be dissolved so it uses special transport lipoproteins to move through the blood. These lipoproteins can be compared to the different vehicles that move on a highway (in your arteries). The heavy vehicles would be the LDL (low-density lipoproteins are also known as bad cholesterol) that carry cholesterol but can “jam” the road. HDL (high-density lipoproteins), on the other hand, flow through the blood more easily and do not accumulate in the body. They also have the function of “sweeping” bad cholesterol to the liver to break it down and expel it. Therefore, the more HDL you have, the better this “road cleaning” service will be and the less risk you will have of heart disease or other diseases such as dementia. Ideally, the total body cholesterol should be less than 200 and if it is above 240, it is considered to be very high. Good Cholesterol (HDL) have to be over 40, it is worrying when it is below 40 in men and 50 in women.
If you have high cholesterol, your body may store the extra cholesterol in your arteries. Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body. The buildup of cholesterol in the arteries is known as plaque. Over time, the plaque can harden and narrow the arteries. Large deposits of plaque can completely block an artery. Cholesterol plaques can also break open, causing a blood clot that obstructs blood flow to be formed. If an artery that supplies blood to the heart muscles becomes blocked, a heart attack can occur. If an artery supplying blood to the brain becomes blocked, it can lead to a stroke.
To keep your heart healthy, you must keep the so-called “bad” cholesterol (LDL) at bay and increase the “good” one, HDL. If you control your cholesterol levels, you not only fill your arteries with health and protect your heart but also care for your brain and mind. However, doing this depends on your lifestyle. Many experts have pointed out that hypercholesterolemia (high level of cholesterol) can be avoided if you are living a healthy lifestyle, which includes exercising and eating a balanced diet such as the Mediterranean diet. In fact, one of the first indications that are usually given when someone has high cholesterol is to change the diet.
The most effective foods to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood are those that have a high amount of soluble fiber and peptide because they bind to cholesterol in the intestine, thereby favoring its elimination through the feces. In addition, foods rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, stanols, and sterols (plant compounds that prevent the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine), anthocyanins that favor a lower production of cholesterol in the body, will help to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood to a minimal and safe level. Also, foods with prebiotic effect can positively influence the cholesterol levels of our body by increasing bile acid excretion and thus reduce lipid absorption.
However, there is not a single food that has all the aforementioned components to a substantial amount that it can be the key to reducing cholesterol. There is a wide variety of foods that have some aforementioned characteristics hence should be consumed in the diet regularly. For this reason, we have come up with a list of foods that will help you lower your bad cholesterol in your body quickly. You can use these food ingredients to make a low cholesterol diet.
1. Control Cholesterol with Avocado – Best food for lowering Cholesterol
Avocado is a fatty fruit but it is a fat that helps raise HDL cholesterol levels. Many studies have observed that including avocado in the diet, especially in those who have hypercholesterolemia, favors the reduction of total cholesterol levels between 9 and 45 percent (especially the LDL cholesterol). It is known that avocado has high fiber content which reduces the absorption of cholesterol in the body. Also, it is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which help to reduce the LDL (bad cholesterol) level. Moreover, avocado is a fruit with a good amount of stanols and sterols, which favors a lower intestinal absorption of cholesterol. Consuming between one and a half of avocado during the main meal can be a very effective way of lowering cholesterol.
2. Control Cholesterol with Whole grains – Best food for lowering Cholesterol
Whole grains also help regulate cholesterol. Several research works have linked the consumption of whole grains to the reduction of cholesterol levels. Of all cereals, most experts recommend oatmeal. Oats contain a fiber called beta-glucan, which unlike in other cereals is soluble. This fiber is what has earned it the recognition of functional food. The incorporation of about 70-100 grams of oats into the diet every day, for example at breakfast provides 63 percent of the recommended daily dose of fiber, significantly favors the reduction of cholesterol levels. In addition, other whole grains should be incorporated into the diet, such as whole-wheat bread, pasta, or rice. Oat is the most effective cereal and after consuming it for six weeks lowers LDL cholesterol.
3. Control Cholesterol with Nuts – Best food for lowering Cholesterol
It is very interesting that plant foods with a high percentage of fat like nuts have the ability to regulate the cholesterol profile. Tasty nuts such as walnuts, almonds, pistachios, hazelnut, etc. reduce LDL levels by 4 percent, while it increases HDL cholesterol by 7 percent after four weeks of taking it in the diet. Daily consumption of a handful of almonds (about 40 grams) without salt is recommended, especially during breakfast. Walnuts contain a type of omega 3, alpha-linolenic acid, which not only increases HDL cholesterol and lowers LDL, but also promotes elasticity of blood vessels, prevents blood clots, and lowers high blood pressure. You can take 3 or 4 nuts per day. Although walnuts are the nuts that contain the most omega 3s, others are also interesting to be taken raw without salt.
4. Control Cholesterol with Legumes – Best food for lowering Cholesterol
A study from the University of Toronto, Canada found that taking 120 g daily of a mixture of beans and lentils did not increase body weight and also raised the level of “good” cholesterol. Legumes are very rich in fiber, which favors a decrease in the absorption of LDL cholesterol. Lentils, in addition to reducing LDL increase HDL which is very beneficial for heart health. Other legumes such as peas lower total cholesterol levels by 5 percent and LDL by 8.
Soy is the legume that most reduces cholesterol levels. Its consumption mainly in the form of beans or as a derivative product (soy milk, tofu, or soy lecithin) has the ability to lower the total cholesterol by 11 percent and LDL by 5 to 25 percent. This together with its ability to increasing HDL levels is very beneficial for heart health. Soy lecithin contains phospholipids which help in the metabolism of fats. Due to industrial handling, many foods have become depleted in phospholipids and have gained saturated fat but lecithin corrects this imbalance. It is marketed in the form of yellow granules, which can be added to any dish at a measurement of 2 to 4 tablespoons a day, depending on how high your cholesterol is. Also, it has no side effects. The general recommendation is to eat at least between 11 and 50 grams of legumes such as soybeans, peas, or lentils (which provide 60 percent of the recommended daily dose of fiber) about three times a week.
5. Control Cholesterol with Vegetables
Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, reduce cholesterol levels especially when the diet is very rich in fat since they favor a greater elimination of cholesterol in the stool. The vegetable has zero cholesterol. Cholesterol is only found in foods that come from animal origin. The more vegetable your diet has, the less bad cholesterol you will have circulating through your arteries. Ideally, you should have two servings of vegetables a day (one at lunch and one at dinner), and eat at least 3 pieces of fresh fruit a day (for example, at breakfast, mid-morning, for a snack, or for dessert) because they also help you balance your cholesterol levels.
On the other hand, vegetables contain a high percentage of stanols and sterols. The structure of sterol is very similar to that of cholesterol, hence it competes with cholesterol and resists its absorption in the intestine. Other vegetables, such as broccoli, have a very beneficial effect on hypercholesterolemia among other things due to their high levels of fiber. More so, vegetables contain antioxidants. When cholesterol is oxidized, that’s when it clogs the arteries but antioxidants can help prevent it. The best-known antioxidants are vitamin C, lycopene (tomato), carotene (carrots), and flavonoids.
6. Control Cholesterol with Natural HMG-CoA Inhibitors
The production of cholesterol in our body depends on the activity of an enzyme called HMG-CoA. Foods very rich in long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, also called omega-3s have functions in inhibiting this enzyme. This favors a decrease in the production of cholesterol. Some foods very rich in omega-3s are flax seeds, or chia, spinach, radish, germinated alfalfa; some legumes, and of course seed oils or nuts, to name a few examples.
Flax seeds contain alpha-linolenic acid, the “father” of the omega 3 families. Most clinical studies show that taking 30 to 50 grams of ground flax (not soaked) reduces total cholesterol by 6 and 13%, and “bad” cholesterol from 9 to 18%, thereby increasing the good. You can also include it in your salads, yogurts, cereals to also avoid constipation. Also, chia seed is a good source of omega 3 polyunsaturated fats (alpha-linolenic acid), which helps to regulate blood pressure and cholesterol in the blood (it also decreases LDL lipoproteins and increase HDL). It is also very rich in fiber and antioxidants.
Other inhibitors of the enzyme that is responsible for the production of cholesterol are lycopene, or a series of chemical compounds that are part of some foods such as guava, watermelon, tomato (especially in sun-dried tomato), or grapefruit. These lower cholesterol levels by around 10 percent. Therefore, the recommended amount of lycopene is between 25 and 35 milligrams per day. One hundred grams of dried tomato, for example, contains 45 milligrams.
7. Control Cholesterol with Foods rich in anthocyanins
Some fruits, vegetables, and other products of plant origin contain a high concentration of certain pigments called anthocyanins, which give colors from red to orange and from blue to purple. The interesting thing is that some studies have observed that incorporating anthocyanins in the diet has the ability to lower LDL cholesterol levels between 16 and 25 percent in individuals with hypercholesterolemia. In other words, the presence of anthocyanins in the body produces less cholesterol. Some foods that contain these compounds are raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, acai, or eggplant skin.
As eggplant absorbs oil when cooking, so it does with cholesterol. To act as a “sponge” you must take it cooked and whole with its skin and seeds. Eggplant also contains chlorogenic acid, a substance that has a marked antioxidant effect which helps prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidizing. Hypercholesterolemia patients should consume about 100 grams per day of foods rich in anthocyanins.
8. Control Cholesterol with Blue Fish
Eating fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, tuna, etc., two or three times a week helps to increase the level of “good” cholesterol, since they provide omega 3 fatty acids that inhibit cholesterol synthesis. They prevent platelet aggregation and have a vasodilator and anti-inflammatory effect. According to a study, making it twice a week increases good cholesterol by 4% and slightly reduces bad cholesterol.
9. Control Cholesterol with Olive Oil
The oleic acid in extra virgin olive oil is a great help to regulate the level of cholesterol in the blood. It helps to lower “bad” cholesterol and increase “good” cholesterol. In addition, it does not increase triglycerides.
10. Control Cholesterol by taking Grape Instead of Wine
The polyphenol content of wine can raise the level of good cholesterol or HDL, but it is better to consume these polyphenols directly from the grape and avoid drinking alcohol. Some studies claim that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol, especially red wine improves “good” cholesterol levels. When you take alcohol in excess, it saturates the liver enzymes and results in an increase in bad cholesterol. Therefore, it would be advisable to eat grapes directly and if you want to drink alcohol, do not consume more than one glass of wine a day.
In conclusion, we hope this article guide you to prepare a low cholesterol diet. These foods will help to lower your cholesterol quickly. If you do not have the time to prepare a low cholesterol diet at home, you can order online using the eezly app. If you have any comments, kindly use the comment section below.
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