By now, almost everyone know that fatty food, stress and lack of exercise are the main causes of high cholesterol. This is also a known fact that not all fats are bad- the low density lipoproteins or LDL is the bad cholesterol whereas the high density lipoproteins or HDL is the good cholesterol. When we talk about lowering cholesterol, we mean to say that we must reduce the bad cholesterol. At the same time we should also take steps to increase the good cholesterol which is beneficial for overall health.
The best way to lower your cholesterol is by eliminating bad fats and including the good fats in your lifestyle. Include healthier fats in your diet like:
- Leaner cuts of meat, low-fat dairy and monounsaturated fats that are present in olive, peanuts and canola oils.
- Eat whole grains- opt for grain breads, whole-wheat pasta, whole-wheat flour and brown rice.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. They provide dietary fiber which lowers cholesterol.
- Have food items that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids- they lower cholesterol. Fish like salmon, mackerel and herring are good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Vegetarians can find omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts, almonds and ground flaxseeds.
- Exercise daily- even if for 30 minutes. There is no alternative to this.
- Quit smoking.
- Limit your alcohol intake.
- Soy: Soy is an important dietary change that helps to cut down the blood cholesterol. Soy is used as a replacement for meat and cheese. Soy food reduce cholesterol to a great extent. Saturated fat is bad for heart as saturated fat is converted in to cholesterol in the liver, hence if you eat too much of saturated fat cholesterol levels will get increased especially low- density lipoproteins which is the bad cholesterol. Saturated fats are found in the animal products like whole milk, butter, meats, beef, lamb and pork and plant sources of saturated fats are coconut oil and vegetable. Soy foods contain isoflavones that helps to reduce LDL cholesterol. What about soy supplements? Isoflavone supplements don’t work alone, to lower the cholesterol, you need the other unique proteins of the soybean including phytates, and isoflavones, all of them act together. According to FDA taking at least 25 grams of soy protein every day helps to lower the high cholesterol.
- Beans: Beans are having high fiber content. Beans are especially high in the cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber. Eating a bowl of any types of beans in a day, particularly navy, pinto, kidney, chick pea, or butter beans helps to lower cholesterol by as much as 10% in 6 weeks. Soluble fiber that is present in the beans helps to bind cholesterol in the intestinal tract, and in turn prevents its reabsorption in the body. This is the reason why soluble fiber helps to lower the cholesterol level and hence in turn decreases the risk of heart disease. Eat beans five and more times a week. FDA recommends 25-30 g of fiber each da
- Salmon: Omega-3 fatty acids, that is found in salmon and other cold-water fish- helps to lower the LDL levels, and raise HDL level and lower the triglycerides level. Salmon is an excellent source of protein as it is high in omega-3 fatty acids i.e. EPA and DHA that are good for heart while low in saturated fat and cholesterol. American heart association recommends eating at least two servings of fatty fish every 7 days by far the richest sources of fish-oil omega-3s.
- Avocado: Avocado contains a type of fat that actually helps to raise the levels of HDL while it lowers the LDL. Avocado contains more amount of the cholesterol- smashing beta-sitosterol as compared to any other fruit. Beta sitosterol reduces the amount of the cholesterol absorbed from food. The combination of the bita-sitosterol and the monounsaturated fat makes the avocado an excellent cholesterol buster. American heart association recommends that you can get up to 15% of your daily calories from monounsaturated fats , but some heart specialist recommends even greater percentage.
- Garlic: The garlic is the herb used for thousands of years for lowering the cholesterol. Its flavor makes it a good kitchen spice. Inn Egypt people were used to eat the garlic for stamina, garlic lowers the cholesterol and also prevents blood clots, it reduces blood pressure, and protect against infections. It stops the artery- clogging plaque at the earliest stage called nanoplaque. It keeps the cholesterol particles away from the artery walls. To get the maximum benefits eat 2-4 cloves a day.
- Spinach: Spinach contains the lutein, which is a sunshine yellow pigment that is found in green leafy vegetables and egg yolks. Lutein guards us against the age related macular degeneration, which is a leading cause of blindness. Only a half cup of lutein rich food daily guards against heart attacks by helping the artery walls to remove the cholesterol. Eat half cup of spinach every day.
- Margarine: Two margarines every day are proven to lower the cholesterol levels. Margarine lowers the cholesterol by blocking the absorption of cholesterol that is contained in the food you eat. Margarine is made by the plant sterols that are proven to lower the LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol by upto 14%. Three servings a day of benecol helps to drop the cholesterol level by an average of 10% and LDL cholesterol by 14%.
- Walnuts, Cashews, and Almonds: A diet containing monounsaturated fats that are found in the nuts are actually twice as good as a low fat diet for heart. Nuts contain the nutrients like vitamin E, copper, magnesium and phytochemicals that are linked with the heart health. Walnuts are rich in omega-3. Eat nuts regularly to avoid heart disease and other illnesses than people who don’t. Monounsaturated fatty acids are also good for the joints. Eat at least 2 tablespoons ful of nuts five times a week.
- Tea: Tea contains a lot of antioxidant compounds. According to research on tea, it helps to keep the blood vessels relaxed and prevent the blood clots. Flavonoids are the antioxidants that are present in tea and it is shown to prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol that lead to plaque formation on artery walls. These powerful antioxidants reduce cholesterol level and even lower the blood pressure. Both the green and black teas have the high antioxidants levels. Drink at least one cup of tea every day.
- Chocolate: Dark chocolates compared to milk chocolate, has 3 times more antioxidants. Flavonoids are the antioxidants present in the chocolate that keep the blood platelets from sticking together and it also helps to keep the arteries unclogged. Compared to dark chocolate, white chocolate don’t have any flavonoids. An ounce of the chocolates a day increases good cholesterol and prevents the bad cholesterol from oxidizing.
Foods to be avoided:
- Avoid foods like butter, lard, bacon drippings, coconut oil and lard that contain saturated fats and oils. Instead of using these saturated fats and oils use margarine or vegetable oils, like canola oil or olive oil.
- Limit the amount of trans fats or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. These oils become solid by going through a process. Trans fat are found in hard margarines, cookies, snacks crackers, chips, and shortenings.
- Limit the content of the meat and non-vegetarian you eat. Limit the amount of the meats such as pastrami, steak, corned beef, ground meat, hot dogs, bacon, sausage, and bologna- processed meat. Change skinless chicken, veal, lean beef, fish, and lamb with some meat less dishes like peas, rice or beans.
- Limit the quantity of the egg yolks you eat in a day. You should limit your dietary cholesterol to less than 200 mg a day. One large egg contains about 186 mg of cholesterol which is present in the egg yolk.
- Limit the quantity of milk fat in your diet. And avoid the milk product which contains more than 1% of the milk fat. Instead use the low-fat milk and low fat chesses.
- Limit the amount of the snack crackers, croissants, quick breads, and cakes made with the saturated fats, whole milk, or egg white. Try low- fat baked goods.
- Avoid eating junk foods like fries, tacos, ham burgers, and tacos. Go for broiled sandwiches or skin less chicken, salads with the low fat dressings, and the food they aren’t fried.
Note: There are home remedies that will ultimately help increase HDL level.
Give these home remedies a try as part of the cholesterol plan you've discussed with your doctor. - See more at: http://www.naturalhealthcareguide.com/2012/01/hdl-cholesterol.html
There are some wonderful herbs and natural herbal supplements which can be used for lowering the cholesterol naturally. - See more at: http://www.naturalhealthcareguide.com/2014/01/lower-cholesterol-naturally.html