Foods that Can Help Lower Your Blood Cholesterol Levels
High blood cholesterol level can affect anyone. It is a key factor in developing heart disease and other degenerative diseases. But, did you know that our bodies really do need some cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in our blood it helps in the making of vitamin D and some hormones. When blood cholesterol level increases it can lead to many health issues. This increased cholesterol can clog or even block some arteries, in which the arteries can become narrowed and the blood flow to the heart is slowed down or blocked that may result heart attack or stroke.
There are two Types of Cholesterol:
- High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) is often referred to as the good cholesterol, which helps keep the arteries healthy.
- Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) is also known as bad cholesterol, which contributes to plaque buildup in the arteries.
A healthy total cholesterol level is <200 mg/dL. LDL must be <100 mg/dL, while HDL should be >60 mg/dL.
If your total cholesterol and LDL is more than the normal healthy level, it is best to know that there are certain foods that will surely help you control your cholesterol levels. If certain foods can increase your cholesterol levels, there are also many foods that can help lower it.
Here are some foods that can help lower your Blood Cholesterol Levels:
Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Most meat and meat products contain cholesterol and saturated fats, so it is recommended by health professionals to limit intake of meat if you are aiming to lower your blood cholesterol levels. Instead, eat fish and other foods that contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids which can help lower blood cholesterol levels.
Eating fish can prevent high blood pressure and heart disease caused by high cholesterol level. Tuna, salmon, sardines and trout are the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids in fish. When cooking fish, it best to bake, poach or grill it to avoid the need for added fats.
Foods rich in fiber are beneficial in controlling blood cholesterol levels, these include whole grains like oats, barley, buckwheat, quinoa, and brown rice. Beans, pulses, seeds, fruits and vegetables are also loaded with dietary fiber. Most of these foods contain both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Insoluble fiber are difficult to digest making you feel full longer and it binds cholesterol so it will be removed in the body. While, soluble fiber lowers the amount of cholesterol level absorbed by the body in the bloodstream, reducing total cholesterol and bad cholesterol in the process. Aim to eat 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day, with at least 5 to 10 grams of soluble fiber. For breakfast, you can have a cup of cooked oatmeal with fresh berries and nuts, to boost your fiber intake.
Consuming soybeans and other soy products can lower blood cholesterol by helping the liver as it takes the bad cholesterol out of the bloodstream. Also, to be able to cut down on your meat intake, you can substitute soybean products like tofu and tempeh for your protein source. Eating at least 25 grams of soy instead of animal protein a day can result to lower LDL by 5% to 6%.
Any variety of nuts can lower blood cholesterol levels. Nuts contain vitamin E, fiber, plant sterols and monounsaturated fats that help protect blood vessels from inflammation. Eating a handful a day is the recommended serving size because nuts are also high in calories which can lead to possible weight gain when taken excessively. Also, be sure that they are not salted, fried, or sugar coated.
You can incorporate nuts in your daily diet by tossing it in salads, sprinkling in oatmeal or eating a handful of it as snack.
Olive oil contains mainly of monounsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E. Monounsaturated fatty acids help reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol levels. Just by using a small amount of olive oil a day in preparing your meals will definitely get its healthy heart benefits. You can use it by replacing your regular oil when sautéing or in creating dressings for your salads.
These few simple tweaks in your diet will surely help in lowering blood cholesterol levels. Alongside with these, you also need to improve your physical activity like engaging into sports or having a regular exercise. Lastly, you should maintain a healthy body weight for best results in keeping your blood cholesterol at bay.