We live in a generation where lifestyle diseases are the order of the day ranging from heart disease to high blood pressure. One of the biggest contributors to all these diseases is high cholesterol. Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is present in all the cells in our body. The presence of cholesterol in our body is necessary to make hormones, vitamin D and also in making substances that help in digestion of food. However, it is important to note that the body makes all the cholesterol it needs.
Presence of too much cholesterol in the blood can lead to coronary heart diseases. You can easily eat yourself to death (high cholesterol level) or you can choose the food you eat and keep your cholesterol level on an acceptable level. Listed below are ten foods that can help you regulate your cholesterol level and keep your general health in check.
Nuts are one of the most nutritionally packed foods that are also full of antioxidants. Additionally nuts also contain a lot of monounsaturated fats. Nuts contain omega 3 fatty acids mark you the plant variety one which is linked to the health of the heart.
Nuts are also rich in protein particularly L arginine. This is an amino acid that is used in making nitric oxide which in turn regulates blood pressure. There is also the presence of phytosterols in nuts. Phytosterols are compounds that are alike to cholesterol and help lower cholesterol level through blockage of their entry into the intestines. The bottom line is that nuts are rich in natural fats and packed with fiber that helps to lower cholesterol significantly.
Fish like salmon and mackerel are great sources of omega 3 fatty acids. omega 3 fatty acids are associated with improved heart health by increasing the good cholesterol HDL and lowering inflammation and the risk of stroke. It is important to keep in mind that the healthiest form of fish to eat is that that has been baked grilled broiled or better eat it raw. Some peptides found in the proteins in fish are beneficial to the health of the heart.
Whole grains such as oats and barley are great for cholesterol lowering in our bodies. In studies carried out its revealed that eating about three servings of whole grains on a daily basis can lower your risk of developing a heart problem or stroke by up to 20%.This percentage even increases with up to seven servings a day.
Oats and barley are rich in beta-glucan, a soluble fiber that can help lower cholesterol level. Eating oats can help reduce your total cholesterol level by 5% and LDL cholesterol by 7% proteins in good quantities.
These are a group of plant foods like peas, beans, and lentils. legumes are rich in fiber, minerals, and proteins in the right amounts. If you replace processed foods in your diet with these plant proteins like beans your risk of developing heart diseases will be greatly lowered.
A review of 26 randomly controlled studies found that when you eat approximately half a cup of legumes in a day, you can lower your LDL cholesterol by close to 6.6 mg/dl when compared to when you don’t eat.
Avocados are richly nutritious food. They contain monounsaturated fats together with fiber. These two nutrients help lower the un unhealthy cholesterol(LDL) and help raise the healthy cholesterol(HDL).
An analysis of studies carried out found that replacing other fats with avocados was linked to a reduction in total cholesterol, and triglycerides.
Fruits and berries
Addition of fruits to your diet is healthy for your heart for several reasons. Most fruits are high in soluble that’s helpful in lowering the levels of cholesterol in our bodies.A certain type of soluble fiber called pectin has been shown to lower the levels of cholesterol by up to 10%.Its found in fruits such as grapes, apples, strawberries.citrus fruits among others.
Fruits also are known to be rich in bioactive compounds that help prevent diseases of the heart and other similarly chronic diseases. This is because they have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.Incorporating fruits such as berries and grapes in your meal, therefore, can help lower the unhealthy cholesterol (LDL) and increase the healthy cholesterol (HDL)
Garlic is has been known as a medicine and an ingredient in cooking. Studies have linked garlic to lowering blood pressure and also lowering total cholesterol.
Garlic is rich in allicin a compound that can help lower the harmful and unhealthy cholesterol (LDL)
Vegetables are an integral part of a healthy diet. Being rich in fiber and antioxidants and also low in calories they are helpful in maintenance of a healthy weight. Some vegetables are high in pectin, in particular, the same fiber that’s found in oranges and apples. This soluble fiber is known to lower cholesterol levels. Other vegetables rich in pectin also include eggplants, potatoes, carrots and okra among others.
Cheers to a healthy heart! when taken in moderate amounts alcohol has been known to raise the good cholesterol or HDL. A study found that drinking a glass of red wine each day decreases the unhealthy cholesterol LDL and I turn increases the healthy cholesterol HDL.Red wine being rich in antioxidants known as polyphenols helps keep your blood vessels in a healthy and strong state.
It’s important to note that it should be taken in moderation for one to achieve the desired effects. One drink for women and two for men. It is important to keep in mind that more is not better and won’t do you good in this case.
Now, this may come as a surprise but its actually true. Dark chocolate just like cocoa powder contain flavonoids which are very powerful antioxidant compounds, which help lower cholesterol. Why dark chocolate and not the milk or white one some may ask. Dark chocolate is preferred because of it rich in cocoa content. You can also try sprinkling cocoa powder in that smoothie of yours to achieve the same benefits chocolate is associated with in lowering cholesterol levels.
High levels of cholesterol can be a major risk factor for the health of your heart. This risk can be greatly reduced by including certain types of food in your meals. The foods given above are based on research and will help keep your cholesterol levels under control and hence give, you a healthy heart.
Ensure your diet is focused on monounsaturated fats
The lie that all fat make you can weight leads to crazy diet plans that never work but instead end up frustrating you. There are healthy and nonhealthy fats, it all depends on the foods you choose to consume. For monounsaturated fats, you need to increase your consumption of avocado and nuts. This is not only nutritious but also are packed with monounsaturated fats that help keep you healthy and also keep the level of cholesterol in check.
Avoid taking trans-fats as much as possible
The opposite of monounsaturated fats is transfats. These are saturated fats that have been completely modified thanks to a process thanks to a process called hydrogenation. Hydrogenation is a process that is used to make fats found in unsaturated fats in vegetable oil. Sadly, most of the cooking oils on the market contain trans fats because they provide more texture. Additionally, most pasta brands and cookies are packed with trans fats that make the texture softer and taste more tolerable.
One of the most reliable ways to reduce the cholesterol levels in the body is through adopting a regular exercise regimen. This does not mean overstretching your body to a point where you are unable to function normally. Start slowly and improve gradually you will be surprised at how much more energized you will feel. Additionally, your body will also feel way lighter and even the skin improves significantly. If you have never exercised before begin with walking or going to the gym with the help of an instructor who understands what your body needs and how much you can handle.
It goes without saying that you must lose weight before realistically trying to lower cholesterol levels. Losing weight does not mean being stick thin, all it entails when it comes to the reduction of cholesterol levels is a healthy Body Mass Index. Always keep your weight in check. Exercise regularly and eat healthily. If you are on a busy schedule and cannot afford to exercises regularly, the best way to remain active is walk and always take the stairs. Avoid junk and processed food as much as possible because they are a sure way of skyrocketing your cholesterol levels to an unimaginable high.
Use alcohol in moderation
One of the most ignored ways that people get high cholesterol is consuming too much alcohol. Drink in moderation so that your body is in a situation to handle all the toxins. Additionally, alcohol makes it more difficult to lose cholesterol even when you exercise regularly. Drink moderately and once in a while detox.
High cholesterol makes you vulnerable to a myriad of ailments. The best way to reduce cholesterol levels is by eating healthy, exercising and maintaining a normal body weight.