We all love foods that are fried and yummy without realizing how much damage they are causing to our health. Eating them once a week may be a good idea, however, consuming them regularly may create serious health issues. You may find out junk foods delicious but consuming them regularly can cause one of the most common health problems- high cholesterol levels.
Facts On Cholesterol
Cholesterol is found in every cell of the body and has important natural functions in stimulating various activities in the body that include digesting foods, producing hormones among others.
Cholesterol is said to be an oil-based substance and does not mix with the blood, which is water-based. It is carried around the body by lipoproteins.
There are two types of cholesterols: HDL or good cholesterol and LDL or bad cholesterol.
High Cholesterol – Reasons
Cholesterol does not mix with the blood and bad cholesterol forms a layer of plaque on the walls of arteries that makes it difficult for the blood to flow at its natural pace.
This further contributes to high blood pressure and in worst cases, even a heart attack or stroke. Here are some causes of high cholesterol:
- Poor Unbalanced Diet
- Lack Of Exercise
- Junk Food
Cholesterol Diet: Foods That May Help Lower Cholesterol
Here are some of the cholesterol-reducing foods that may keep your heart safe from conditions like heart attack, stroke, and blood pressure. The foods are suggested by Harvard Health Publishing- Harvard Medical School:
The oat, sometimes called the common oat, is a species of cereal grain grown for its seed, which is known by the same name. One of the best foods to lower cholesterol is having a bowlful of oatmeal.
Oatmeal contains soluble fiber that reduces your LDL or bad cholesterol. The fiber present can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream.
Avocados are an exceptionally nutrient-dense fruit. They are a great source of vitamins C, E, K, and B-6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium.
They also provide lutein, beta-carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids. They’re a rich source of monounsaturated fats and fiber — two nutrients that help lower “bad” LDL and raise “good” HDL cholesterol. Clinical studies support the cholesterol-lowering effect of avocados.
Soybeans are low in fat and calories but are a rich source of protein, fiber, and many other essential vitamins and minerals. It contains an essential hormone called phytoestrogens that mimic the action of the estrogen hormone.
Eating soybeans and foods made with soybeans like tofu and soy milk are said to lower cholesterol. It is said that consuming 25 grams of soy protein each day could lower LDL by five to six percent.
Further, the health benefits of soy for menopausal women could include fewer hot flushes, protection from coronary heart disease (CHD), and lowered risk of osteoporosis.
4. Fatty fish
Eating fish two to three times a week could lower LDL by delivering essential omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s help reduces triglycerides in the bloodstream and also protect the heart by helping prevent the onset of abnormal heart rhythms.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating fish at least 2 times a week, particularly fatty fish like salmon, lake trout, sardines, and albacore tuna, which are high in omega-3s.
Omega-3s are a healthy fat that may help lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, another fat in your blood. Omega-3s help reduce the risk of blood clots.
They also help your heart by preventing irregular heart rhythms and lowering blood pressure. By choosing fish over red meat, you’re also dodging meat’s cholesterol-raising saturated fat.
Most nuts have a combination of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids to help lower your LDL cholesterol levels. Peanuts, walnuts, almonds, pecans and other types of nuts make healthy snack choices.
Nuts are extremely energy-dense (calories per gram) compared to other protein-rich foods, so they do need to be eaten in moderation. To battle high cholesterol without weight gain, limit portions to just a handful of nuts or 1 to 1.5 ounces a day. Choose nuts in their natural form, with no sugar or salt added.
- Apple Diet Plan: 7 Day Diet Plan to Lose 10 Pounds in a Week
- 7 Crucial Signs Of High Metabolism Everyone Needs To Know
- Science Based Six Pack Plan To Burn Fat And Get Perfect Abs
6. Vegetables and Fruits
Fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber and a wide variety of nutrients. That makes them an essential part of a cholesterol-lowering diet.
Brussels sprouts, okra, and eggplant are just a few of the vegetables that deliver the soluble fiber to help lower cholesterol. Artichokes, green peas, broccoli, and turnip greens are other good high-fiber choices.
Citrus fruits like oranges, strawberries, grapes, and apples eaten with the skin contain a helpful type of soluble fiber called pectin. Other fruits high in fiber include raspberries, pears eaten with the skin, and bananas.
Garlic has been used for centuries as an ingredient in cooking and as a medicine. Garlic is highly nutritious, containing several essential nutrients, and low in calories.
One clove of raw garlic contains manganese, Vitamin C, selenium, and small amounts of fiber, calcium, copper, phosphorus, iron, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6, and potassium.
Studies suggest that garlic lowers blood pressure in people with elevated levels and may help lower total and “bad” LDL cholesterol — although the latter effect is less strong.