Proper diet to help lower "bad" cholesterol and fats
High cholesterol is the leading cause of many health problems which includes cardiac problems such as heart attack, myocardial infarction, arteriosclerosis, stroke, and liver diseases. High cholesterol is the ultimate result of imbalance, unhealthy, and poor lifestyle and diet. With a proper and healthy diet, one can not only decrease the risk of “Bad” cholesterol & fats but also has a low risk of heart diseases and other severe health problems.
Diet has an important role in lowering the risk of high cholesterol and bad fats in our body. This article covers all the food which can help to reduce the bad cholesterol levels. The article also enlists the diet which one should avoid in case of high cholesterol or prevent high cholesterol. The diet plan discussed in this article is quite helpful in protecting your heart and improving your lifestyle.
Food/Diet That Should be Avoided in High Cholesterol:
in the past, people use to believe that foods which are rich in cholesterol such as eggs, cheese, sardines, and meat should be avoided But recent studies have shown that the cholesterol-rich food such as egg does not increase the risk of high cholesterol. According to the studies, high cholesterol is the result of poor and irregular diet. Eating cholesterol-rich foods in a moderate manner is not harmful to our health.
The diet/food which contains non-soluble dietary fibers, saturated fat, and trans fats play a role in elevating the risk of high cholesterol in our bloodstream. Saturated fats are found in animal products such as red meat, full-fat dairy products, organ meat, pasture-raised meat etc.
Moreover, commercially baked products such as cookies, cakes, crackers etc. are rich in trans fats. Therefore a person who has a risk of high cholesterol or wants to avoid this condition should avoid these foods. Fried foods, junk foods like pizza, burger etc., soft drinks, processed meats & foods, and desserts are the major cause of elevating the “Bad” cholesterol levels in our body.
To avoid the bad cholesterol one should also avoid the coconut oil, vegetable oils, excessive use of butter, and cheese in cooking.
Healthy Food/Diet to Avoid Bad Cholesterol:
A balanced, proper and healthy diet is key for a healthy life. Many of our health issues can be avoided only if we adopt a balanced diet. The healthy diet does not restrict us from eating everything but it means eating food or food products in a moderate manner.
In early years, eggs were considered to increase level of bad cholesterol in our bloodstream, and therefore many people stopped eating eggs in their breakfast. But in reality, an egg is a good source of cholesterol and protein. Our body needs some amount of cholesterol and egg is a good source for providing our body with cholesterol. It would not increase the risk of high cholesterol.
With the help of moderate balanced and proper diet and regular exercise, high cholesterol and risk or heart diseases can be avoided simply. Here is the list of food/diet which has a good impact on increasing the “Good” cholesterol levels and decreasing the “Bad” cholesterol levels.
Whole Grains – Oat Barns, Oatmeal etc.:
Whole grains such as oatmeal, oat barns, and other high fiber foods are very healthy and beneficial for our body. Whole grains are rich in soluble fiber which are easy to digest and consume. The ultimate result of consuming the soluble fiber is that it reduces the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol or “bad” cholesterol.
The soluble fibers simply reduce the absorption rate of cholesterol in the bloodstream. And as a result total level of Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol decreases, and it increases the high-density lipoprotein level. 5 to 10 grams of soluble fiber in a day is very effective in lowering the bad cholesterol or LDL cholesterol level in the bloodstream.
Eating a bowl of whole grains without any fruits can provide about three to four grams of soluble fibers. Adding fruits like berries, banana, kiwi, apple etc. can add more soluble fibers in your breakfast which are even healthier.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables:
Fruits and vegetables are natural source of soluble fibers and many healthy nutrients etc. Vegetables and fruits are produced organically and help to lower the bad cholesterol and fat levels in our body. Vegetables like kidney beans, Brussels sprouts, spinach, broccoli, carrot etc. not only reduces the bad cholesterol levels but also improves our body mechanism and digestion.
Fruits like apple, pears, berries, banana, citrus fruits such as orange, strawberries etc. also provide soluble fiber to our body. Citrus fruits are believed to lower the levels of bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in our bloodstream.
People with high cholesterol condition ate recommended to eat more citrus fruits because vitamin C in these fruits helps to reduce the size of particles which makes low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
Omega-3 fatty acids are known to reduce the levels of triglycerides and very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Moreover, omega-3 is very beneficial in lowering the risk of blood clot development and blood pressure. People who already have heart problems or had a heart attack are suggested to use omega-3 fatty acids because these fatty acids reduce the risk of sudden death and heart attacks.
A good source of omega-3 fatty acids is fish. Although omega-3 fatty acids have no effect on the levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol it has many benefits for the heart. According to the American Heart Association, people are advised to eat at least two servings of a fish per week to avoid any heart risks.
Even though the fish is a good source of omega-3 but if this fish is fried in oil, it can increase the risk of high cholesterol. The best way to cook fish is either baking or grilling to avoid any unhealthy or saturated fats. The level of omega-3 fatty acids is very high in trout, salmon, herring, mackerel, and tuna fish.
Another source of omega-3 fatty acids is walnuts, flaxseed, canola oil etc. omega-3 fatty acid supplements and oils are also available but these supplements should be taken on the suggestion of the doctor.
Dry Fruits and Nuts:
Tree nuts and dry fruits such as almonds, cashew, walnuts etc. are very beneficial in improving blood cholesterol levels. Recently a study conducted on the cholesterol levels concluded that people who take diet contain walnuts have a low risk of heart diseases and other heart problems. The study also showed that walnut-supplemented diet also lowers the risk of cardiac complications in people having a history of cardiac arrest.
Some nuts are a good source of omega-3 while all nuts have high level of calories. Therefore a handful of nuts would be enough.
Use of avocados in our diet is one of the healthy choices. Avocado is a rich source of many nutrients and monounsaturated fatty acids. Research conducted on the benefits of avocado suggests that eating an avocado a day can not only improve the blood cholesterol levels but also protects our heart from many problems and reduces weight in overweight or obese people.
In short, avocado comes with many health benefits and reduces the level of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in our blood. Adding avocado in guacamole and eating it with a raw vegetable like cucumber etc. is very healthy. Another option to eat avocado is adding it to salads or sandwiches or you can also enjoy an avocado with eggs or as a side dish.
Plant Sterols and Stanols:
Substances like sterols and stanols block the absorption of bad cholesterol. These substances are found in plants. Today foods containing sterols and stanols are available, these foods or diet reduce the overall absorption rate of bad cholesterol in our blood. It improves our blood cholesterol level.
Sterols and Stanols are present in margarine and orange juices. These can reduce the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels effectively. Only 2 grams of sterol or stanols are enough to lowering 5 to 15 percent of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level.
Although it is not clear whether the sterols and stanols have any impact in lowering the risk of stroke or heart attacks, its effect on LDL cholesterol levels is evident. Moreover, the plant stanols and sterols do not affect the triglyceride or high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol or good cholesterol levels.
Whey protein is a type of protein which is found in dairy products. This protein is believed to have an impact on improving blood cholesterol levels. Whey proteins also have many health benefits. Studies conducted on the benefits of whey proteins have concluded that this protein provides a certain supplement to our body. The supplement has a great impact on lowering not only the levels of low-density lipoprotein but also reduces the overall cholesterol level in our blood.
Further, the studies have shown that whey protein is very effective in reducing the risk of blood pressure and other heart problems. A good source of whey protein is the protein powders which are easily available in grocery stores and health food stores.
Other vegetable oils are a good source of increasing levels of cholesterol in our blood. But oil like olive oils is good for our health. Olive oil is believed not to increase the bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein level in our blood. Therefore dieticians and doctors suggest using olive oil in cooking. Adding olive oil in salad dressings or sauté vegetables in it does not harm our health. Olive oil does not harm our heart and hence it is a healthy option.
Green tea is very rich in antioxidants and helps to improve our metabolism. Moreover, green tea is a good source of body detoxification and it removes the fats and wastes from our body. Which is green tea is considered to be effective in reducing the levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and bad fats in our body.
Elevated levels of Bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol can be severely dangerous for our health. But this situation can be controlled and avoided if we follow a healthy and proper diet along with regular exercise and physical activity such as walking, cycling or swimming etc. It’s never too late to start eating the healthy food and avoiding the bad or high cholesterol diet.