Cholesterol is an important fat-like substance that is used to make hormones (such as vitamin D), build healthy cells, and digest your food. The cholesterol used by your body can come from two different sources: your own body or the food you eat. Dietary cholesterol, meaning cholesterol from food, is found only in animal-based products (such as meat, dairy milk, eggs, etc.). Dietary cholesterol is not necessary for your health because your liver makes all of the cholesterol it needs on its own. So, if you are a vegetarian then there is no need to worry!
Traditionally, LDL cholesterol is known as “bad” cholesterol and HDL cholesterol as “good” cholesterol. A total cholesterol level of less than 200 mg / dL and LDL levels or equal to or less than 100 mg / dL is considered optimal. If you consume animal-based foods, it is a good idea to have more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day.
Sometimes cholesterol levels can be so high that they become problematic for your health. The total cholesterol level is usually more than 240 mg / dL. High cholesterol can lead to the development of heart disease. If you have high cholesterol or want to prevent it from becoming too high, include the following foods in your menu.
1. Apple: Apple pectin is a soluble fiber that helps remove cholesterol from your body! Apples contain flavonoids that act as powerful anti-oxidants that prevent “bad” cholesterol from accumulating in your bloodstream.
2. Avocado: Avocados are a great source of monounsaturated fat, a type of fat that can help reduce “bad” cholesterol, while reducing “bad”. In addition, avocados have more beta-sitosterol (a plant-based fat) than any other fruit. The American Heart Association recommends that you get up to 15% of your daily calories from monounsaturated fat.
3. Beans: Beans and vegetables are excellent sources of soluble fiber. Eating a cup of any type of beans a day — especially kidney, navy, pinto, black, chickpea or butter beans — can reduce your cholesterol by 10% in 6 weeks. According to the FDA and the National Cancer Institute, adults should get 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day. Which can be done easily by including beans in your daily diet.
4. Cinnamon: A study published in the Journal of Traditional and Complimentary Medicine found that – 1 teaspoon of cinnamon a day can significantly reduce fasting insulin and blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. It also reduces LDL (“bad” cholesterol) and total cholesterol levels.
5. Garlic: Garlic has been shown to prevent blood clots, lower blood pressure, and protect against infection. Recently garlic has gained attention for its potential ability to lower cholesterol levels.
6. Grapefruit: Grapefruit contains flavonoids that help protect “bad” cholesterol from further damage and reduce blood loss. The LDL lowering effect of grapes comes from a compound, resveratrol, which grapes produce naturally that opposes mold in general. The darker the grape, the better!
7. Oats: Oatmeal contains soluble fiber, which lowers your LDL cholesterol. Five to 10 grams of soluble fiber a day reduces LDL cholesterol. Eating 1 at cup of cooked oatmeal provides 4.5 grams of fiber.
8. Salmon: The major health components in salmon include omega-3 fatty-acids and proteins. These components give positive benefits to the cardiovascular system. The American Heart Association recommends that you eat at least two servings of fish per week, especially fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, and herring).
9. Soya: The top health promoting ingredient in soybean is isoflavones and soluble fiber. 25-50 grams of soy per day is recommended to reduce cholesterol by 4 to 8%.
10. Walnuts: Walnuts can reduce blood cholesterol significantly as they are rich in polyunsaturated (omega-3) fatty acids. Walnuts also keep the blood vessels healthy and elastic. Almonds look similar too Improved within four weeks. A cholesterol-lowering diet with a little less than 1/3 of a cup of walnuts per day can significantly reduce LDL cholesterol.
Apart from eating these foods, there are some other lifestyle changes that you can make to manage your cholesterol levels. Adopting a regular exercise regime, non-smoking, limiting animal fat, managing stress and reducing your alcohol consumption are some ideas. Cholesterol is not something to obey, but something to keep in mind.