Having high cholesterol can be dangerous for healthy life and can become the cause of various health problems such as heart attack, stroke, angina and narrowing of arteries. People of all ethnicities and ages are at equal risk of getting high cholesterol. According to a latest study, about 20% of US population has high cholesterol and the numbers are same for pretty much every other part of the world. Adverse effects of high cholesterol on our body develop over the period of years but you can save yourself from these harmful effects by making healthy changes in your eating habits. In this article, you will get some useful information about the different types of cholesterol and about the top 5 cholesterol lowering foods.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of lipid present in the body just like fat cells. It is an important substance which is used in various body functions. Cholesterol is basically prepared by the liver and is used to produce various hormones, cell membranes and it also helps in the production of Vitamin D.
Our body can fulfill its need for cholesterol by itself because more than 70% of the cholesterol is produced automatically within the body. Cholesterol once produced by the liver is then carried through blood stream to various body tissues.
The above information proves that cholesterol is very important for our body in order to function properly but having cholesterol in the body above a certain level (anything above 200 mg/dl for both men and women) or having a certain type of cholesterol in high quantities can be harmful. Below are the two types of cholesterol that are present in our body:
LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein) is also known as Bad cholesterol because having it in high quantity in the body increases the chances of fatty deposit formation in arteries and thus increases the risk of heart disease.
High-density lipoprotein also known as Good cholesterol wipes out the extra LDL cholesterol from the body and returns it back to the liver so that it can be reprocessed. Having high level of HDL cholesterol has a protective effect against heart disease.
Cholesterol Lowering Foods.
It is a fact that having high levels of LDL cholesterol in the body can be dangerous but eating certain foods can lower these levels. Below are the top 5 cholesterol lowering foods:
Adding beans to your daily diet can play a vital role in lowering cholesterol. Studies have shown that regular intake of beans can lower the bad cholesterol levels by up to 9%. Beans are extremely rich in fiber and fiber rich foods reduce the amount of cholesterol that is absorbed by our body from other foods. There are different varieties of beans available such as black beans, pinto beans and kidney beans. All the mentioned types of beans have the same cholesterol lowering effect.
Oatmeal is another great cholesterol lowering food rich in soluble fiber so it also helps in reducing the absorption of LDL cholesterol in to our bloodstream. Eating about 10 to 15 grams of fiber a day can significantly reduce cholesterol levels. Eating 2 cups of oatmeal every day can fulfill our body’s need for soluble fiber so oatmeal is a must have in cholesterol lowering diet plan. Some other fiber rich foods are mentioned below:
|Blueberries||1 cup||4 g|
|Strawberries||1 cup||3 g|
|Barley Cooked||1 cup||6 g|
|Whole Wheat Bread||1 slice||2 g|
|Cooked Peas||1 cup||16 g|
|Spinach Cooked||1 cup||4 g|
Fish is a heart-healthy food because it contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids which play an important role in reducing blood pressure and decreasing the chances of developing blood clots. Doctors recommend omega-3 fatty acids to people who have heart problems because it significantly reduces the chances of sudden death in such people. Moreover, it is recommended that you eat at least two servings of fish every week in order to lower cholesterol levels and stay healthy. The best sources of omega-3 rich fish include trout, salmon, sardines, tuna and sprats.
Certain nuts like walnuts and almonds are some of the best cholesterol lowering foods because they are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids which reduce blood cholesterol. Eating a handful of nuts every day can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease but it is very important that those nuts are not fried or salted. Other cholesterol lowering nuts include peanuts, hazelnuts and pistachios.
Tea has various health benefits because it contains strong antioxidants that help us fight different types of cancer but it also reduces bad cholesterol levels in the body. Some recent studies have shown that regular intake of tea significantly reduces the lipid levels in the blood and thus keeps our heart healthy. The types of tea best for lowering cholesterol are green tea, white tea and oolong tea.
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