Are you looking for foods that can lower your cholesterol naturally? Then the list I have for you should get you on your way.
It is well-known that having a high cholesterol level is linked with heart disease and stroke. Our diet is primarily responsible for the development of high cholesterol though a large part of it is also contributed to by genetics.
In other words, if a family member of yours such as your father, mother or siblings have high cholesterol, it is very likely that you too will have high cholesterol.
Not only that, if you indulge in fried and fatty foods on a regular basis and do not perform any exercise, you risk your cholesterol levels increasing to alarming levels.
When you undergo a lipid profile test, you may find that your cholesterol levels and LDL-cholesterol levels are quite high. In addition to this, you may also notice that your triglyceride levels are high and your HDL levels are low.
This is very typical in the Indian population.
When I see reports like this of patients of mine, I often start with simple lifestyle changes and dietary changes. This of course depends upon how high their cholesterol is and what the other medical problems are.
For example, if an individual suffers from diabetes and has high cholesterol levels, treating them with medication in addition to dietary and lifestyle changes is strongly recommended.
This is because clinical studies have shown that doing so can reduce their chance of developing heart disease and stroke.
However, if the individual is normally fit and well and had a lipid profile test that showed elevated cholesterol levels, then exercise and diet alone should suffice.
In other words, it is easy to lower cholesterol through natural means.
Lower Your Cholesterol Naturally With These Foods
In this article, I will briefly review some of the foods that you could consume that can lower your cholesterol naturally without medicines.
Let’s take a look at this in a little more detail.
Oats are gaining more and more importance and are now considered to be super foods. This is because they are rich in soluble fiber.
Soluble fiber has a property of forming a thick gel when mixed with water in the digestive system. This thick gel goes and coats the lining of the bowel, forming a protective coating that prevents fat from being absorbed into the bloodstream.
Oats also contain a substance called beta glucan that can absorb bad cholesterol and reduce its levels by pushing it out through our excretory system.
Clinical studies have shown that eating two servings of oats every day can reduce bad cholesterol levels by 5.3% in around six weeks.
Currently, it is recommended that we consume at least 5 to 10 g of soluble fiber every day. However, this is very difficult to achieve as most of the foods that we do consume contains insoluble fiber which does not have much of a cholesterol-lowering effect.
In addition to this, not many people enjoy consuming oats and would prefer to have traditional Indian foods.
Some of these foods do have soluble fiber so read on to learn more about them.
Okra (Lady’s Finger)
Okra, also called lady’s finger, is a kind of a ‘love it or hate it’ vegetable. It is very high in soluble fibre and also low in calories. Not many people enjoy eating lady’s finger due to its texture and sticky feel.
Consuming okra in the form of a simple curry can provide you with the nutrition that you need to help bring down your cholesterol levels.
By beans, I refer to kidney beans i.e. rajma, black eyed peas and similar such beans.
The choices are far and many and they make an excellent food that can reduce cholesterol levels. Once again this is due to the high level of soluble fiber in them.
In addition to this, beans have a property of filling your stomach up and staying in your stomach for a lot longer than other foods. This can help you prevent snacking and can reduce your intake of junk food in between meals.
Make sure you have beans on a regular basis or a few times a weak for a natural fix for your high cholesterol levels.
Some of the best fruits that can reduce cholesterol include apples, citrus fruits, grapes and strawberries.
This is because these fruits are not only rich in multiple vitamins and minerals but also contain a compound called pectin.
Pectin has a property of lowering the bad cholesterol levels i.e. LDL levels. By doing so, it can protect your heart by keeping the blood vessels clean and avoiding them from getting clogged up.
It is for a reason that they say “an apple a day…”
Previously, soy was considered an excellent food to reduce cholesterol. In fact, many of the medical authorities started recommending increased consumption of this food as it was believed to have powerful effects.
Clinical studies have now shown that the degree to which cholesterol is reduced with soy is only modest.
Nonetheless, it still does reduce cholesterol and consuming around 25 g of soy protein a day can reduce your bad cholesterol level by up to 6%.
It is not a bad idea to add soy chunks to your regular food once in a while.
I have previously talked about how healthy nuts are for us and why we should consume a fistful of them every day.
In one clinical study, it was found that individuals who ate 1.5 ounces of whole walnuts regularly for six days a week reduce the level of that bad cholesterol by nearly 9.3% after one month.
Among the available nuts, it appears that almonds, walnuts and peanuts consumed on a regular basis can reduce bad cholesterol levels by up to 5%. This is because they contain higher levels of good fats that protect the heart.
Grab a fistful of them and munch on them as a healthy snack once in awhile. Just make sure you avoid the salted versions as these can affect your blood pressure.
Also, don’t overeat nuts and they are very high in calories and you could gain some weight.
If you are a non-vegetarian, then it is essential that you consume oily fish at least 2 to 3 times a week to lower your cholesterol levels, especially the bad cholesterol.
This is because oily fish are rich in omega fatty acids that have been proven to bring down bad cholesterol levels in various clinical studies.
Not only that, the omega 3 fatty acids can also protect the joints, improve skin health and reduce triglyceride levels. They have also been shown to reduce the chances of development of irregular heart rhythms.
Some examples of oily fish include sardines, mackerel and salmon.
Have you ever wondered why the Mediterranean diet is considered the best diet in the world? This is because of their consumption of olive oil in addition to fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meat.
Olive oil contains high amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids which are good fats. By changing your regular cooking oil to olive oil, you could replace the unhealthy saturated fats in your diet to healthier fats that do not affect the levels of bad cholesterol.
Over a period of time, with a regular consumption, you will find that all the while will bring down your bad cholesterol levels and improve your blood cholesterol levels.
However, make sure that you do not deep-fry food or over heat olive oil as this can take away its health benefits.
Tea has been proven time and again to provide the body with antioxidants needed to fight harmful free radicals in the body.
But did you know that regular consumption of black tea could reduce bad cholesterol levels by up to 10% in just three weeks?
Of course, once you add milk and sugar into the tea, it takes away its health benefit and could be more harmful than beneficial. When possible, make sure you have black tea.
I am sure many of you will love the fact that I have mentioned chocolate as one of the foods that can help lower your cholesterol. I have previously discussed how it could be great for your heart too!
However, take note that it is only dark chocolate that has a high cocoa content that could reduce your overall cholesterol levels while increasing your good cholesterol levels.
In addition to this, dark chocolate also contains antioxidants that can fight harmful chemicals within the body and keep you healthy.
Overindulgence is a vice and should be avoided. A small piece of good quality dark chocolate regularly will certainly do you some good and will help you lower your cholesterol naturally.
Make sure you ask your doctor before you indulge in dark chocolate, especially if you have diabetes. Many of the dark chocolate varieties in India tend to contain added sugar in them which takes away the benefit.
Indian foods are rich in garlic which not only gives it its delicious flavor but also provides a number of different health benefits.
Garlic makes the blood cells less sticky, thus preventing heart attacks. It also prevents cholesterol from attaching itself to the wall of the blood vessels, preventing atherosclerosis.
Garlic has cholesterol lowering properties, so make sure you have at least 3 or 4 cloves a day.
Avocados are not too hard to find in India nowadays. Though they are a little more expensive than other veggies, the nutritional value they pack makes it worth the cost.
Avocados are full of good fats. These fats replace bad cholesterol with good cholesterol. They also contain Beta Sitosterol which can help reduce the amount of cholesterol absorbed from the food we eat everyday.
This helps unclog the arteries of the heart.
Use avocados in salads or guacamole as a great way to bring down your cholesterol levels without medicines.
So there you have it. A big list of foods that can help you lower your cholesterol naturally. I hoped you liked this! Why not share your thoughts in the comments below!!?
Latest posts by Dr Vivek Baliga B (see all)
- Plant Sterols – A Natural Way To Lower Cholesterol - May 21, 2019
- Why A Good Breakfast Can Be Great For Your Health - May 12, 2019
- Treadmill Test Positive? What Now? - April 14, 2019