Showing posts with label Good Cholesterol. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Good Cholesterol. Show all posts

Health Benefits of Zucchini

Zucchini is member of the gourd family which has a dark green color and is cylindrical in shape. They are available in a range of sizes but smaller variety of the vegetable is preferred. While each type of the vegetable has different color, size, shape and flavor. All parts of the vegetable such as the skin, seeds, and flesh are edible.

Nutritional facts about Zucchini
Zucchini is mostly water and are quiet low in calories. Here are some nutritional facts about zucchini; it has about 34 calories, 6 g of carbohydrates, 2 g of fiber and 2.36 g protein. Vitamin such as vitamin A and C are present in good amounts. Also essential mineral such as potassium, phosphorus etc, these mineral are essential for all the tissues, organs and cells in the body.

Health Benefits
  • Zucchini fruits have low amounts of calories and contains folates, Vitamin A, potassium etc. Although they are available throughout the year, the best season for zucchnni is the summer seasons and late spring.
  • It has low amounts of cholesterol which is great for heart patients and people with cardiovascular diseases. The vegetable is recommended by dieticians for reduction of weight and cholesterol.
  • The peels of zucchini contain high amounts of dietary fiber which is required for the proper functioning of the digestive tract. Also it reduces constipation and protects the colon against cancers.
  • The active compounds in the vegetable have the ability to scavenge for free radicals and reactive oxygen species. Reactive oxygen species and free radicals play a role in various diseases and aging.
  • Folates are required in the process of DNA synthesis and cell division. Zucchini contains this important vitamin in moderate quantities.
  • It is a great source of potassium; potassium is an important intra-cellular electrolyte. It reduces the blood pressure and heart rate by countering acting of the effects of sodium.
  • Fresh zucchini has the rich amounts of vitamin A which is essential for maintaining the health of the eyes. Also fresh zucchini is a good source of vitamin C which is required in a range of processes and functions in the body.
  • It also contains moderate amounts of vitamins of the B-complex group. These include pyridoxine, thiamine, and riboflavin. Zucchini also contains minerals like zinc, manganese, iron, and phosphorous which are essential for health and development.

Health Benefits of Almonds

#ayurvedafact: Almonds if eaten without soaking, they can aggravate Pitta in the blood. The best way to prepare them is to soak them overnight and peel the skin off in the morning. Then you can blend them with dates and raisins, which also reduce Pitta aggravation in the blood. Eat up to 10 almonds in the morning and evening.

Buy Good Quality Almonds
Almonds are a simple, convenient and delicious snack. It is one of the richest sources of health promoting compounds among nuts. Just a hand full of almonds will provide you with quite a bit of the daily recommended levels of vitamins, mineral and other nutrients. They have been cultivated for thousands of years and now in recent times reseach has shown that almonds possess a range of health benefits.

Here are some health benefits of almonds which you can reap by adding these wonderful nuts to your diet:
  • They are rich source of vitamin, minerals and fiber, also they are packed with phyto-chemicals which protect the body against cancers and a range of diseases.
  • The Vitamin E and the flavonoids found in the skin of the nut work together and protect the health of the artery walls. This in turn reduces the chances of developing heart diseases. Also vitamin E has the ability to maintain healthy mucus membrane and also protect the cell membranes.
  • The nuts provide the body with important B-complex groups of vitamins which includes niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic, vitamin B-6 and folates.
  • It also has the ability to reduce the blood cholesterol levels. Research has shown that consuming this nut regularly has the ability to reduce the risk of heart attacks to a great extent.
  • They also provide us with essential minerals as they are an incredible source of potassium, manganese, iron, zinc, selenium and calcium.
  • The phosphorus in the almonds has the ability to make bones and teeth stronger.
  • They also help you alkalize the body your body which is reduces the risk of osteoporosis, weight gain, low energy and poor immune function.

Ayurveda recommends sweet almonds instead of bitter ones. Because of their sweet and warming quality, they are best for pacifying Vata dosha. They lubricate the skin and the micro-circulatory channels and support all the seven dhatus (tissues), especially Shukra dhatu (reproductive tissue). Almonds are also good for Pitta, but people with Kapha imbalance should eat them in small quantities. Due to their heavy quality, you need a strong agni, or digestive fire, to metabolize them. If your agni is low, strengthen it first before you take almonds. The only people who should not consume almonds are those with high Pitta in the blood. An ayurvedic consultant can determine whether you have this condition and how to balance it.

Almond Oil
Sweet almond oil is the best massage oil for Vata people, or those with a Vata imbalance. As almonds balance Vata when you eat them, almond oil pacifies Vata when applied externally. It penetrates the skin easily and nourishes the deeper layers.

Recommended Product: Khadi Sweet Almond Oil

Healthy Diet for Cholesterol

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.
Some of the recommended foods:
  • 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:

    There are some wonderful herbs and natural herbal supplements which can be used for lowering the cholesterol naturally. - See more at:

HDL cholesterol: Home Remedies to boost your 'good' cholesterol

Raising HDL Cholesterol
Raising HDL or "good" cholesterol was not a priority until a few years ago. Most studies have focused on how lowering LDL or "bad" cholesterol that can reduce the risk or coronary heart disease. But in the past few years, researchers have identified that HDL acted as an independent factor and was also critical in the overall health of your heart. The National Cholesterol Education Program's new guidelines now recognize that low HDL levels as a strong independent risk factor for coronary artery disease.

HDL is a complex molecule made up of lipids, cholesterol, and protein.  It cleans off the walls of blood vessels, thus removing excess cholesterol, LDL. The HDL then carries this cholesterol to the liver where it is processed. Doctors still focus strongly on lowering LDL but are now including recommendations that raising HDL is another important factor to reduce risk of heart disease.

If you have had your cholesterol levels checked and your HDL is less than 40, you should discuss with your doctor ways in which to increase the HDL level. Again, HDL level above 60 is ideal.
There are home remedies that will ultimately help increase HDL levelGive these home remedies a try as part of the cholesterol plan you've discussed with your doctor.
  • Garlic. Studies show that garlic may not only reduce LDL but raise HDL and decrease the amount of fat in your blood. Add some fresh garlic regularly to your cooking to keep your heart healthy.
  • Niacin is an important B vitamin that may raise your HDL, "good," cholesterol.
  • Almonds. Studies indicate that snacking on almonds regularly for as little as three weeks may decrease LDL by up to ten percent.
  • Honey. Add 1 teaspoon honey to 1 cup hot water in the morning, and you may rid your system of excess fat and cholesterol, according to Ayurvedic medicine. Add 1 teaspoon lime juice or 10 drops cider vinegar to give that drink a more powerful cholesterol-fighting punch.
  • Oats. In any pure form, oats are a traditional cholesterol buster. Eating only 1/2 cup oatmeal a day, along with a low fat diet, may reduce cholesterol levels by nine percent.
  • Rice. The oil that comes from the bran of rice is known to lower cholesterol. And brown rice is particularly high in fiber, which is essential in a cholesterol-lowering diet. One cup provides 11 percent of the daily fiber requirement.
  • Soybeans. These beauties may reduce LDL by as much as 20 percent when 25 to 50 grams of soy protein are eaten daily for as short a time as a month. Besides that obvious benefit, soy may fend off a rise in LDL in people with normal levels and also improve the ability of arteries to dilate. This means they expand better to allow the unimpeded passage of fats and other substances that otherwise might cause a blockage.
  • Walnuts. A cholesterol-lowering diet that includes walnuts eaten at least four times a week may lower LDL by as much as 16 percent. And studies indicate that those who munch on these nuts regularly cut their risk of death by heart attack in half when compared to non-walnut munchers.
  • Apples. Apples are high in pectin, which can lower cholesterol levels.
  • Artichokes. This veggie can actually lower cholesterol levels. Early studies pointed to their beneficial cholesterol-busting properties, but recent studies have shown that artichokes may be even more effective than they were first thought to be.
  • Beets. Full of carotenoids and flavonoids, beets help lower -- and may even prevent -- the formation of LDL, the bad cholesterol.
  • Carrots. Full of pectin, they're as good as apples in lowering cholesterol levels.
  • Olive oil. It protects your heart by lowering LDL, raising HDL, and preventing your blood from forming clots.
  • Pears. These are high in soluble fiber, which helps regulate cholesterol levels.
  • Rhubarb. Yep, this is a cholesterol-buster. Consume it after a meal that's heavy in fats. You can cook it in a double boiler, with a little honey or maple syrup for added sweetness, until done. Add cardamom or vanilla if you like.
  • Yogurt. Eating 1 cup plain yogurt with active cultures a day may reduce LDL by four percent or more and total cholesterol by at least three percent. Some scientists believe that eating yogurt regularly may even reduce the overall risk of heart disease by as much as ten percent.
  • Turmeric. This may lower blood cholesterol. Added to eggplant, you may reap twice the cholesterol-fighting benefit. Mix 3/4 teaspoon turmeric with 2 tablespoons cooked, mashed eggplant and 1 1/2 tablespoons boiling water. Spread it on whole wheat bread and eat after a meal heavy in fats.
Loose Weight
Quit Smoking
Trans Fat Foods
There are specific steps you can take that will ultimately help increase HDL level. Here are some of the proven strategies:

Moderate Drinking: Drink a moderate amount of alcohol. Moderate amounts of alcohol can increase your HDL.  Moderation for men is two drinks per day, while women can enjoy one. Do not use this method if you have no interest in alcohol for the sole purpose of increasing HDL levels.

Loose Weight: Talk to your doctor about losing weight. Losing 6 lbs. can increase your HDL by 1 mg/dL. Losing weight can be difficult for some, however, if you view weight loss as a means of improving your health rather than dietary deprivation, it might be easier. Choose fruit over potato chips, try a new vegetable each week with dinner and replace soda with water. Over time, your weight will drop.

Exercise Regularly: Start exercising more frequently. Aerobic exercise helps increase HDL levels. Begin slowly if a sedentary lifestyle is what you currently live. Take a walk for 10 minutes, rake leaves for 10 minutes and ride a bike for 10 minutes. Space these sessions throughout your day until you feel comfortable, gradually working up to 30 or 40 minute sessions, five days a week.

Quit Smoking: Quitting smoking can increase your HDL by up to 10 percent. Make it easier on yourself, and use a smoking cessation product to ward off the cravings. Over-the-counter products are available, as are support groups and behavioral therapy. Speak to your doctor and decide what method might work best for you.

Eat a healthier diet. Reducing the amount of fat you consume has a positive impact on your HDL cholesterol. Only 25 to 35 percent of your total daily calories should come from fats, both good and bad. Saturated fats, such as red meat, whole fat dairy and eggs, should account for 7 percent, trans fats like cookies, cakes and snack foods should comprise 1 percent and the remaining should come from good fats such as mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Sources include avocados, nuts, canola oil, olive oil and sunflower oil. Consider omega-3 fatty acids as well. The greatest source is fish such as tuna, cod, salmon and mackerel.

Selection of Oils: Use cooking oils higher in monounsaturated fats, such as canola or olive oil. It is found that monounsaturated fats raise HDL levels.

Eat at least two servings of soy (phytoestrogens) products. Tofu, tempeh, and TVP (texturized vegetable protein) may help raise HDL levels. Include at least two servings each day.

Avoid trans fats i.e. hydrogenated oil or vegetable shortening (Dalda, Rath, and Vanaspati in India). Choose a liquid or semisoft variety of margarine in your diet Trans fatty acids are found in and many fast foods and french fries, baked goods such as cookies, crackers and cakes. Remember, the softer the spread, the less trans fat it contains.

Avoid refined carbohydrates like sugar and refined flour. These have shown to raise blood cholesterol and triglycerides.

Avoid food sources of cholesterol such as egg yolk, liver, kidney, brains, etc.

Avoid high fat dairy products such as regular milk, cheese and cream.