Cholesterol is a fat-like chemical compound produced and regulated by the liver. Our body requires cholesterol as a building block for cell membranes and for hormones estrogen and testosterone. While cholesterol is good for our body, some of it can be equally bad. It depends on the quantity produced and accumulated in the bloodstream. It has been seen that about 80% of cholesterol is produced naturally and is nearly the amount required by our body for better metabolism. But when a particular amount of cholesterol is exceeded in the body, it gets accumulated on the walls of arteries in the form of deposits called plaque. This results in narrowing of the blood vessels leading to hindered blood flow.
Different types of cholesterol
Cholesterol does not flow about in the body by itself. It is carried along with lipoproteins in the blood. There are 2 types of lipoproteins (based on cholesterol to proteins ratio):
- LDL/ Low-Density Lipoproteins:
These contain a high amount of cholesterol thereby increasing the cholesterol to proteins ratio. This is called bad cholesterol. It causes a risk of heart problems, stroke and peripheral artery disease due to the plaque.
- HDL/ High-Density Lipoproteins:
These contain a high amount of proteins in cholesterol-protein ratio. This is called good cholesterol. To ensure the perfect cholesterol, it is required to have a higher HDL to LDL ratio.
Lowering cholesterol through proper diet
Lowering of high cholesterol is the topmost goal that can be fulfilled by modifying your lifestyle and maintaining a proper diet. Reducing fat intake in foods can help manage cholesterol levels. To help you ease up your search on foods that help lower the cholesterol levels, we have a list of 10 things that you can add to your diet:
Legumes (a group of plant foods such as beans, peas, and lentils) contain a good amount of fiber, proteins, and minerals. Researches lead to the review that eating half a bowl of pulses every day can help in lowering LDL at a comparatively higher rate.
[amazon_link asins=’B077J1VNJ9,B07F2HW777,B077WH6W6C,B077N8QW6H,B07F2PQZ9Y’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’livepeppyin-21′ marketplace=’IN’ link_id=’3bcd29e5-cdeb-11e8-8b51-6f8ddb122240′]
Avocados are exceptionally nutrient-rich fruit containing monounsaturated fats and fibers both of which help lower LDL levels. As compared to other fatty acids, avocados affect the cholesterol levels faster. It is advisable to consume at least 1 avocado per day to see the complete effect.
Nuts (especially walnuts and almonds)
Nuts are extremely high on monounsaturated fats. Walnuts are rich in plant variety of omega-3 fatty acids, a particular type of polyunsaturated fat linked with a healthy heart. Proteins are also essentially found in nuts which aid in blood pressure regulation. Nuts also contain phytosterols which are compounds structurally similar to cholesterol that help in reducing cholesterol absorption in intestines thereby reducing the level. Similarly, calcium, magnesium, and potassium bring a significant reduction in levels of blood pressure and risk of heart disease. Essential consumption quantity amounts to 2-3 small servings of nuts every day for effective results.
Fatty fish like Mackerel and Salmon are some great sources of omega-3 fatty acids. The healthiest ways to eat fish are baked, broiled, grilled or raw. Avoiding fried fish would be an excellent way to help towards healthy you.
[amazon_link asins=’B00LA5P2IO,B018S3KGWW,B00O8WTZL6,B00QPS8BAW,B01LN5RJD6,B01MYRJ777,B07FKKY9RF,B019XZWKBE’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’livepeppyin-21′ marketplace=’IN’ link_id=’52e5ca93-cdeb-11e8-906a-bb8239e295b6′]
Researches have found, whole grains to be effective in lowering heart disease. Whole grains provide minerals, vitamins, plant compounds, and fiber. The most effective whole grains that contain beta-glucan (soluble fiber) are:
– Oats: Eating oats is linked with a 5% reduction in total cholesterol and 7% reduction in LDL cholesterol.
– Barley: Aids in lowering LDL cholesterol significantly.
Fruits and Berries
Many fruits can be found to be rich in soluble fibers helping to lower cholesterol levels. It aids in encouraging the removal of excess cholesterol in the body as well as reducing effective liver secretion. One particular fiber called pectin can be found in apples, grapes, citrus fruits, and strawberries, which essentially reduces cholesterol up to 10%. Eating berries and grapes particularly can help increase HDL while reducing LDL cholesterol.
Dark Chocolate and Cocoa
Cocoa is the key ingredient in dark chocolates. It is said to be able to protect LDL cholesterol from getting oxidized in the blood (which as per researches have been found to be the key step into causing heart diseases). Though, chocolates contain a high amount of sugar (that may cause adverse effect), prefer consumption of cocoa only or dark chocolate with cocoa content greater than 75%.
It has been seen that garlic contains a plant compound called allicin which is the main active compound responsible for the reduction in LDL cholesterol. Though large amounts at a time are required for effective results.
[amazon_link asins=’B06VSSX5P6,B07BR51XDG,B077D6DS98,B019XZWHGC’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’livepeppyin-21′ marketplace=’IN’ link_id=’633bc522-cdeb-11e8-b188-d9310b3b7aa9′]
An analysis found people consuming soy foods have reduced LDL cholesterol levels. This also is a great ingredient for reducing heart diseases. The effect of soy foods can be seen most in people with high cholesterol levels.
Vegetables are without a doubt, a very important part of the daily diet. They are rich in fiber and antioxidants along with being low on calories. Some of the vegetables have a particularly high amount of pectin as found in fruits and very much responsible for the reduction of cholesterol. These include eggplant, carrots, and potatoes.
Hence, the cure for high cholesterol through foods can be done but it is also better to look at prevention. This is especially for those who have cholesterol that runs in the family genes.
Article Credits: Mitalee Mithal | New Delhi | India