For most people, cholesterol is reputed as something that is bad for the body. However, the truth is the other way around. Our body needs cholesterol. Our bodies produce these natural lard-like substances to help strengthen the walls of our cells as well as to produce certain types of hormones. The liver is responsible for producing around 75 percent of the cholesterol we need.
A type of protein called lipoproteins carries cholesterol in our bloodstream. There are two primary types of lipoprotein known as LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein) and HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein). HDL is known as the good kind of cholesterol while LDL is the bad kind.
What happens when there is high cholesterol?
Cholesterol is also found in our food, and we need enough supply in our body to keep us healthy. However, excessive cholesterol levels in our body can also have adverse effects on our health. The culprit for high cholesterol levels is usually found in the food we eat, as well as the lifestyle we keep.
How to lower cholesterol?
Of course, health problems can be avoided if we take measures to keep ourselves healthy and fit. Some easy ways to reduce bad cholesterol from building includes:
– Eat the right foods
Below we have listed the top ten foods we need to eat to lower cholesterol levels and gain a healthier, longer, and disease-free life:
- Whole grains like oats and barley
This food group is scientifically associated with lowering risks of heart diseases through reducing cholesterol levels. It is because whole grains maintain the grains’ structure, which means that it contains more vitamins and minerals, fiber, and plant compounds more than refined grains. Foods that contain the most whole grains include raw oats and barley.
So, if you plan to eat healthily and lower cholesterol, replace refined grains like white bread, pasta, and white rice with oats or barley. Oats are better eaten during breakfast.
Not only are avocados a great addition to any meals you make, but they’re also packed with so much nutrients. So much so that avocados have become the go-to fruit when trying to lose weight or lower cholesterol.
The reason behind this is that avocados are rich in fiber and monounsaturated fats. These two essential nutrients are what helps lower LDL or bad cholesterol and increase HDL or good cholesterol. Not only that, but avocados can also lower triglycerides in the blood which can prevent the onset of heart diseases.
- Fatty Fish
Wild-caught or fatty fish such as mackerel and salmon are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Having enough omega-3 fatty acids in the body helps reduce inflammation in the body and prevent stroke by increasing the good cholesterol or HDL.
For people following the Mediterranean diet, eating fatty fish is the main proponent in their meals as it has extensive benefits for the heart. The fatty fish should be prepared steamed or broiled instead of fried because fried fish can significantly reduce the nutrients available.
- Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate contains primarily cocoa. Several scientific studies and scientific studies have associated cocoa and dark chocolate with lowering LDL or bad cholesterol.
Moreover, cocoa contains polyphenols which are antioxidants that help in reducing inflammation in the body, blood sugar, and improving cholesterol levels.
- Foods rich in soy
There is a lot of inconsistency in research when it comes to this type of food, but most people find soybeans effective in lowering the risk of heart diseases. In essence, soybeans can be tagged as an excellent superfood while also can have adverse effects when not prepared properly. However, about 100 grams of soybeans would already contain vast amounts of essential vitamins that can help prevent major diseases and especially lower high cholesterol levels.
For many centuries, garlic is a well-known and loved spice when it comes to cooking as well as medicine. It contains a type of compound, which is its active compound that has plenty of health benefits, called allicin.
Several scientific studies have suggested that its active compound can help lower bad cholesterol or LDL levels effectively than other spices.
- Herbal Tea
Herbal tea, especially green or black tea, contains properties that have significant benefits for the heart. It is because tea contains active compounds known as catechins and quercetin. These are generally associated with lowering bad cholesterol or LDL as well as reducing the risks of diseases like stroke and heart problems as well as blood pressure.
Cathechins are compounds that activate a compound known as nitric oxide which is known to prevent blood clots. Quercetin helps improve the functions of blood vessels as well as reduce inflammation in the body.
- Vegetables and Leafy Greens
We all know that vegetables are important food groups that are just as beneficial to health, especially with the heart. Dark greens like spinach and kale contain properties like carotenoids and lutein that helps lower heart disease risks.
Dark and leafy greens also help the body remove excess cholesterol by connecting to bile acids.
- Berries and fruits
Fruits, especially berries, are great additions to the diet when it comes to reducing cholesterol levels. It is because berries have plant compounds that can prevent major heart problems and other problems through their antioxidant properties.
This type of food group is also known as pulses which are plant-based foods. These foods include peas, beans, and lentils. These foods are rich sources of minerals, fiber, and proteins, which are ideal in a diet that helps lower LDL or bad cholesterol levels. Not only that, but eating legumes instead of refined grains can also lead to possible weight loss.
This list shows foods that can help lower the risks of heart disease and other health problems through reduced cholesterol levels. However, it also helps to maintain a healthy lifestyle while at it as well. Moreover, frequent doctor visits are also recommended so you can monitor your cholesterol levels constantly.
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