Are you looking for natural remedies for high cholesterol? You’re on the right page, here are some top foods that lower cholesterol.
What is Cholesterol?
There’s a lot of talk out there about high cholesterol levels.
What causes high cholesterol?
In plain language, it is an organic molecule present in your body. You get it from the foods you eat and the liver and other parts of the body also produce cholesterol. It is important to have normal cholesterol levels for the body to function.
However, an abundance of it is not accepted by cells, and gets stored in the arteries. Cholesterol ends up being a baddie when it resides in the artery walls and obstructs the arteries.
This leads to increased risks of heart disease and strokes. Avoiding foods high in cholesterol can help in cholesterol control.
Is Cholesterol Good or Bad?
For years you’ve been hearing about good and bad cholesterol.
Bad cholesterol is the LDL cholesterol and it increases risks of blood clots, strokes and heart problems.
On the other side of the spectrum resides the good cholesterol or the HDL cholesterol, which takes away surplus cholesterol from the body to the liver to dispose it off.
Take a cholesterol test to check it out and find ways for how to lower your cholesterol as well as avoid high cholesterol foods.
Superfoods that Control Cholesterol
Let’s start with some of the top superfoods for how to control cholesterol.
If you are already on a low cholesterol diet, good for you!! But if you are the kind of person who opts for high cholesterol foods, or for the buttered popcorn, instead of extra butter popcorn, these are foods to avoid with high cholesterol.
How to reduce cholesterol levels?
There are many foods and herbs to lower cholesterol, instead of going in for high cholesterol medication.
Here’s my Good Cholesterol Foods List that Can Help in Controlling Cholesterol
1. Oats for Health
Switch over to oats for breakfast. It’s the king of low cholesterol foods, with low glycemic index, releasing energy slowly, keeping blood sugar stable. It’s packed with protein and rich in fiber, and oats helps lower cholesterol.
- It contains a soluble fiber known as beta glucan, which acts like a sponge in your intestines and eliminates the bile acids that are rich in cholesterol.
Legumes and Pulses Offer Natural Ways to Reduce Cholesterol
- Eating legumes and pulses like baked beans, chickpeas, split peas, kidney beans and lentils can reduce cholesterol levels.
- Beans are foods low in cholesterol and you don’t have to take my word for it. Just add half a cup of beans to your soup as part of your cholesterol lowering diet. The fiber present in beans reduces the absorption rate of cholesterol.
- Kidney beans, black beans and pinto beans are all good news.
- Pulses have a lot of protein and fiber, which helps absorption of cholesterol in the gut.
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Nuts to Lower Cholesterol
Intervention trials have proved that by eating about 67 grams of nuts or half a cup of nuts, you can reduce LDL by around 7.4% and total cholesterol by 5.1%. The type of nut you eat doesn’t matter. The more nuts you eat, the more will be the cholesterol reduction.
A word of caution here – Nuts are also high in calories, with one cup containing around 400 calories. So eat nuts to replace a food and not in addition to a food.
The refining process takes away more than 80% of the nutrition; so virgin olive oil is the better option.
- It contains plenty of monounsaturated fats, which increases good cholesterol.
- Extra virgin oil contains more levels of monounsaturated fats, as it is the actual juice of olives.
- It does not reduce good cholesterol and reinforces the positive effects of good cholesterol.
One more reason to drink to your health!! Red grapes used in making red wine could lower your cholesterol levels.
- It increases HDL or good cholesterol, which binds with cholesterol deposited in blood vessels and arteries and escorts it away from the body.
- Reduces LDL, increases the size of the LDL and decreases the oxidation. This is important, as the oxidation with the free radicals could cause strokes or heart attacks.
- Reduces lipoprotein, which causes formation of plaque, which leads to strokes.
- Men can drink two servings and women one serving every day along with a meal.
- There is no specific variety to stick to, as all kinds of red wine have a positive effect.
Word of Caution: Consume in light or moderate amounts.
Garlic to Moderate Cholesterol
Garlic or ‘the stinking rose’ is famed for adding flavor to foods. You can take it raw, as supplement tablets, in the form of powder, extracts or oil. Does it work?
- It lowers total cholesterol as well as LDL or bad cholesterol.
- HDL is not affected, which is good news.
- The effects depend on the dosage – the more you take, the lower the cholesterol.
- No limits on the amount of garlic taken, but too much could be harmful to the liver.
Tea (Green and Black)
Green tea surely helps in reducing cholesterol, but that doesn’t mean black tea should be thrown aside. It’s not exactly a magic bullet, but it works.
- Significant reduction of LDL and increase of HDL levels.
- Drinking 1 to 3 cups a day can control weight gain, by stopping fats absorption by the intestine.
- Here’s an impressive chart showing the effect of green tea on blood cholesterol.
Chocolate – This one I love, you bet!!!
- It contains strong antioxidants.
- Reduces LDL and increases HDL.
- Prevents conglomeration in blood platelets and artery clogging.
- Dark chocolate is recommended, as it has more cocoa and flavonoids, protecting heart disease.
- Add other products with a good cocoa content, but low processing. Check out the cocoa percentage on labels. Organic chocolate usually undergoes less processing.
- Avoid Halloween candies or hot chocolate, as they might raise cholesterol levels.
Avocado (Healthy Fat)
- Excellent source of monounsaturated fats.
- Reduces LDL.
- Offers healthy fats and is a high fat (high fat doesn’t mean high cholesterol) low sugar fruit.
- Green and creamy and full of several nutrients.
- Just slice it up and top it with pepper to eat as a salad, make a guacamole or mash it and make a buttery spread on bread.
Spinach (Popeye surely knew his food! But probably didn’t know it was good for lowering cholesterol)
- Shoot for about half a cup of spinach a day.
- It helps artery walls to shed cholesterol and prevents clogging.
- Use it in salads or make a spinach puree.
Get Your Broom
These foods are like a broom. They sweep away the bad LDL and clean out the system. They are also yummy, so get a move and begin today.
Add all the above to your diet and see the cholesterol number dropping away. It goes without saying that apart from incorporating all these foods in your diet, you need to changeover to good habits.
This means more exercise, less junk food and a balanced diet.