Research shows that seven in ten adults over the age of 45 has high cholesterol levels. High cholesterol can lead to a greater risk of coronary heart disease or a stroke. Heart diseases and deaths from stroke can be prevented if one can reduce their blood cholesterol by just 10%. This would mean saving millions of lives and putting a lower burden on the health care systems.
Medications are readily available to lower your cholesterol level, but there are also certain foods that help you to keep your cholesterol levels in check. Apart from regular exercise, switch to a healthy diet that is low in saturated fat. Avoid foods with too much saturated fat which increase your cholesterol levels such as goose fat, fatty meat products, full-fat cheese and dairy products. Plant-based saturated fats that should be avoided includes vegetable shortening, coconut oil, and palm kernel oil.
Foods that help to lower cholesterol naturally
Here are some foods that can help cut down your cholesterol, otherwise known as cholesterol busters. Go for plant-based foods, soya foods and drinks, cereals and barley, pulses, nuts and seeds, etc. Avoid burgers, fries or anything deep fried to keep those cholesterol numbers in check. Try adding these cholesterol-fighting foods in your daily diet and start making changes to your grocery list!
1 . Garlic
Garlic has been used in nearly every culture in the world for thousands of years. The strong flavor and nutritional value of garlic are indisputable. It is found to lower cholesterol, protect against infections, lower blood pressure, prevent blood clots and protect against infections.
Latest research shows that Garlic can prevent cholesterol particles from ‘sticking’ to the artery wall, thus preventing artery-clogging as well.
Include soy foods in your daily meals to reduce high cholesterol levels. Nonetheless, eating soy-based foods is good for you even if your cholesterol is normal because they contain less saturated fat and provide other beneficial nutrients such as minerals, fiber, and vitamins.
Talk to your dietitian if you want to add more soy to your diet. Including soy foods in place of meat and cheese can help slash the amount of saturated fat you are consuming each day.
Spinach is a heart-healthy plant and contains the sunshine-yellow pigment, lutein, which is known to protect against age-related muscular degeneration. Just adding a half cup of lutein-rich food to your daily meals can help to reduce your risk of heart attacks.
Beans are known for their high fiber content and are especially powerful in reducing your cholesterol. Eat a cup of any beans such as black, chickpea, kidney or butter beans and you can lower your cholesterol level in 6 weeks by as much as 10%!
The soluble fibers in beans make a gel in water that can bind cholesterol and acids in the intestinal tract and prevent their re-absorption into the body. This is how the soluble fiber lowers cholesterol, thus decreasing the risk of heart disease. Soluble fiber is also present in oats, barley, brown rice, apples, carrots, etc.
5. Walnuts, Cashews, and Almonds
A moderate fat diet made of healthy monounsaturated fats is good for your heart. You can find those monounsaturated fats in nuts, which also happens to be rich in copper, magnesium, vitamin E and phytochemicals.
People who eat nuts regularly are found to have fewer heart ailments and lower cholesterol. The healthy monounsaturated fats in nuts are also good for you.
Salmon consists of heart-friendly fats that protects against high cholesterol. Salmon and other cold-water fish carry Omega-3 fatty acids that increase the “good” HDL cholesterol, and lower “bad” LDL cholesterol as well as lower triglycerides (fats). EPA and DHA are the omega-3 fatty acids that are good for your heart and low in cholesterol and saturated fat.
Avocados are a valuable source of monounsaturated fats that lowers LDL while increasing your HDL. Avocados contain beta-sitosterol which lowers the amount of cholesterol that gets absorbed from food back to your body. This is why the combination of monounsaturated fat and beta-sitosterol makes avocado a great cholesterol buster.
If want to keep your heart health and fit, go for dark or bittersweet chocolates. Compared to milk chocolate, dark chocolate contains three times as much antioxidants. These flavonoid antioxidants prevent blood platelets from sticking together, ensuring your arteries do not become blocked.
9. Oats and Barley
The healthy combination of oats and barley are a rich source of soluble fiber called beta glucan. Beta glucan makes a gel that helps to bind cholesterol and prevents it from being absorbed into the intestines. It is suggested that we take in about 3g of beta-glucan per day to lower cholesterol.
10. Fruits and vegetables
Most fruits and vegetables are low in saturated fat which will help to keep your cholesterol level under control. Both fruit and vegetables are also a rich source of cholesterol-lowering soluble fibers. Include sweet potato, okra, strawberry, broccoli, apples, prunes, turnip, mango and other fruits and vegetables in your daily diet.
Make the changes to your diet and see a remarkable change in your health as well as lower cholesterol levels. Lowering your cholesterol means decreasing your chance of suffering heart attack and stroke. Adopt a healthier lifestyle along with making dietary changes. Quit smoking and reduce intake of alcohol to not place unnecessary stress on your heart, and stay active and young for a long time.