Ten Foods You Should Eat To Lower Your Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance used to create hormones (like vitamin D), build healthy cells, and digest food. The cholesterol your body uses can come from two different sources: your own body or the foods you eat. Dietary cholesterol, that is, cholesterol in food, is only found in animal products (that is, meat, milk, eggs, etc.). Cholesterol in your diet is not essential for your health because your liver makes all the cholesterol it needs on its own. So if you are vegan, don’t worry!
Traditionally, LDL cholesterol is called “bad” cholesterol and HDL cholesterol is called “good” cholesterol. A total cholesterol level less than or equal to 200 mg / dL and an LDL level less than or equal to 100 mg / dL is considered optimal. If you eat foods of animal origin, it is a good idea not to consume more than 300 mg of cholesterol per day.
Sometimes cholesterol levels can become so high that they become problematic for your health. Generally, a total cholesterol level greater than 240 mg / dL is considered high. High cholesterol can lead to the development of heart disease. If you have high cholesterol or just want to keep it from getting too high, include the following foods on your menus.
1. Apples: Apple pectin is a soluble fiber that helps remove cholesterol from your body! Apples contain flavonoids that act as powerful antioxidants that seem to prevent “bad” cholesterol from building up in the bloodstream.
2. Avocado: Avocados are a great source of monounsaturated fats, a type of fat that can help raise “good” cholesterol, while lowering “bad” cholesterol. Also, avocados contain more beta-sitosterol (a vegetable 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 one cup of any type of beans a day, particularly kidney beans, white, pinto, black, chickpea, or butter, can lower your cholesterol by as much as 10% in 6 weeks. According to the FDA and the National Cancer Institute, adults should consume 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day. That can be easily done by adding beans to your daily diet.
4. Cinnamon: A study published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine found that ½ – 1 teaspoon of cinnamon a day can significantly lower fasting blood sugar and insulin 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. More recently, garlic has received attention for its possible ability to lower cholesterol levels.
6. Grapes: Grapes contain flavonoids that help protect “bad” cholesterol from further damage and reduce clumping of the blood. The LDL-lowering effect of grapes comes from a compound, resveratrol, which grapes produce naturally and which normally resist mold. The darker the grape, the better!
7. Oats: Oats contain soluble fiber, which lowers LDL cholesterol. Five to 10 grams of soluble fiber a day lowers LDL cholesterol. Eating 1½ cups of cooked oatmeal provides 4.5 grams of fiber.
8. Salmon: The main components for salmon health include protein and omega-3 fatty acids. These components provide positive benefits to the cardiovascular system. The American Heart Association recommends that you eat at least two servings of fish a week, especially fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, and herring).
9. Soy: The main health-promoting components of soy are isoflavones and soluble fiber. 25 to 50 grams of soy a day is recommended to reduce cholesterol by 4 to 8%.
10. Walnuts: Walnuts can significantly lower blood cholesterol because they are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3). Walnuts also keep blood vessels healthy and elastic. Almonds also appear to have the same effects, resulting in improvements within four weeks. A cholesterol-lowering diet with a little less than 1/3 cup of walnuts per day can significantly lower LDL cholesterol.
Besides eating these foods, there are other lifestyle changes you can make to control your cholesterol levels. Adopting a regular exercise regimen, not smoking, limiting animal fats, managing stress, and reducing alcohol consumption are some ideas. Cholesterol is not something to obsess over, but something to watch out for.