Does cholesterol really matter? Cholesterol lowering food plays a major role in our health, but it's important to understand that there isn't a clear correlation between high levels of cholesterol and heart disease. There are other factors that contribute to cardiovascular disease, including smoking, diabetes, genetics, stress, etc.
Cholesterol is a necessary part of our body; however, too much can lead to serious health problems. This is why cholesterol lowering food is so important to eat. These include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, and beans.
Cholesterol lowering food
Whole grain and fiber help reduce the absorption of dietary fat by binding with bile acids. Fiber also lowers the amount of cholesterol in your bloodstream. Eating lots of these cholesterol-lowering food will make you feel full longer, which helps you control your calorie intake.
Nuts have healthy fats called monounsaturated fatty acids. MUFAs lower LDL cholesterol without raising triglycerides as polyunsaturated fatty acids do. They’re especially effective at lowering bad LDL cholesterol. You should consume about 30 grams of nuts per day for optimal benefits.
Fish has omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s lower TG and increase HDL, which lowers the risk for CHD. Fish contains EPA and DHA. Most salmon, sardines, and tuna contain both of them. Consuming 3 servings of fish per week may lower your odds of having a stroke by 50%.
Beans are an excellent source of protein and fiber. Beans are an excellent choice when you need something to fill up on while not feeling overfed. They provide slow-release energy and keep you full for hours.
One way to get more fiber into your diet is to eat plenty of legumes like lentils and beans. Beans are low in calories and packed with fiber. Legumes give you extra potassium, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium, phosphorus, copper, manganese, and folate.
Legumes are also a great source of plant-based proteins and amino acids. They're extremely versatile because they can be used in soups, salads, stir fry, pasta dishes, and baked goods. To make sure you're getting enough potassium, eat 2 cups of cooked black beans each week. Black beans contain around 420 mg of potassium per serving.
The most popular cholesterol-lowering food is saturated fat, found mostly in red meat. However, saturated fat doesn't raise LDL as much as trans fat does. It has been shown that eating small amounts of saturated fat daily reduces LDL more than taking statin drugs or using cholesterol-lowering medications. Saturated fat is found in milk, cheese, eggs, butter, lard, bacon, beef, lamb, poultry, red meat, and dairy products.
So don't worry about eating any amount of saturated fat! If you want to start eating more saturated fat, try adding some olive oil to your meals. A tablespoon of olive oil provides 1 gram of total fat and 0 grams of saturated fat.
However, before incorporating olive oil into your diet, consider consulting a doctor first. Olive oil comes from olives, so people who suffer from allergies to tree nuts should avoid consuming olive oil.
Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of antioxidants, phytochemicals, and vitamins. Antioxidants protect against damage caused by free radicals. Phytochemicals activate enzymes that aid digestion and detoxification. Vitamins such as vitamin C, E, B6, folate, thiamine, niacin, and pantothenic acid boost immunity, prevent cancer and promote good vision and muscle growth.
There are several ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet: drink fruit juice, eat fresh fruits and veggies, bake with fruits and veggies, add them to smoothies, snack on dried fruits, and add them to sauces.
Vegetables contain many different nutrients. The main nutrient is the carotenoid lycopene. Lycopene helps fight off heart disease, certain types of cancers, cataracts, macular degeneration, and other eye diseases. Green foods, especially dark green leafy ones, have higher levels of this chemical than orange or yellow items. Carrots, broccoli, spinach, kale, collards, watercress, turnip greens, parsley, chlorella, tomatoes, and eggplant all contain high levels of lycopene.
It's important to note that all these foods contain sugar, carbohydrates, and salt, but they still help reduce blood pressure.
Other useful tips include: drinking 8 glasses of water a day, eating five small meals throughout the day instead of three large ones, losing weight if necessary, quitting alcohol intake, and smoking.
Eating healthy isn't always easy, but it's definitely worth it. You won't even realize how healthy you've become until you start noticing changes in your physical appearance.
These foods can be incorporated into your diet every day without doing harm. They may also help you lose weight, get rid of belly fat, improve your immune system function, and strengthen bones.
Foods That Help Lower Bad Cholesterol Levels
Here are the top 10 foods that will help you lower your bad cholesterol. These foods include:
Blueberries are one of the best foods for lowering cholesterol because they are full of fiber, polyphenols, and anthocyanins. Anthocyanins prevent the oxidation of fats in our bodies. As we age, these compounds decrease in our bodies. When we consume blueberries regularly, we increase their production and concentration. Blueberry extracts have also been shown to significantly lower cholesterol levels in animals.
A study published in Nutrition Journal showed that mice fed a regular diet supplemented with blueberries had lower levels of triglyceride and lower LDL cholesterol compared to those not fed berry powder. Other studies show similar effects in humans.
Spinach contains the antioxidant lutein, which inhibits an enzyme called acetylcholine esterase. This enzyme prevents the accumulation of harmful substances in the brain. Studies suggest that increased intake of lutein lowers cholesterol by inhibiting the synthesis of new cholesterol in liver cells. Lutein has also been used successfully to treat people who have elevated cholesterol.
According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, spinach is better than any prescription drug currently available for lowering cholesterol. Three cups of cooked spinach provide more than 100 percent of the daily value for folate, a B vitamin needed in the development of red blood cells. It's also loaded with iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, vitamin A, C, and K.
Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it great for lowering cholesterol. In addition, oat bran contains soluble fibers, which bind cholesterol in your intestines and prevent its absorption. Soluble fibers also slow down glucose absorption and help regulate insulin levels. Finally, oats are a source of essential fatty acids like omega 3 and 6. Both of these kinds of fats are needed for normal cell functioning and support cardiovascular health.
Avocados are very rich in monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats cause arteries to relax since they do not clog up. Eating avocado helps reduce total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein. The latter is known as "bad" cholesterol.
Avocados contain carotenoids such as beta-carotene and alpha-carotene, both of which help protect against cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, diets high in fruits and vegetables tend to cut back risks of heart disease.
Flaxseeds are a wonderful food for increasing HDL cholesterol and decreasing LDL cholesterol because they're packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. One tablespoon of flax seeds contains 15 grams of dietary fiber, 30 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acid, 300 mg of phytosterols, and 40 IU of vitamin E.
The combination of plant sterols and fibrous whole grains appears to lower cholesterol levels. However, research shows that when consumed alone, flaxseed oil does not offer this benefit.
Olive oil reduces the number of calories absorbed from the stomach. It also lowers levels of cholesterol and increases satiety. Regular consumption of olive oil may also help reduce risk factors for heart disease, including hypertension and diabetes.
Olive oil's polyphenolic compounds may help boost the immune system and fight infections. Furthermore, olive oil is one of the best sources of vitamin E, which protects membranes throughout the body from free radical damage. Vitamin E also plays a role in regulating healthy blood clotting.
Soybeans are loaded with protein and other nutrients such as zinc, copper, manganese, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, and phosphorus. Most importantly, soybeans are a good source of plant estrogens or phytoestrogens. These plant hormones closely resemble human estrogen and can help keep cholesterol levels under control.
Beans and lentils are excellent sources of protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. They can be served either raw or cooked. Raw beans are easier to digest and provide a full range of amino acids. They also tend to increase the amount of insoluble fiber in our digestive tract. Insoluble fiber binds cholesterol in the gut so it doesn't pass through into the bloodstream.
Apples are an excellent source of pectin, a natural compound that dissolves cholesterol and bile salts. Pectin works by binding cholesterol and bile salts in the intestine so they cannot enter the body. Since apple pectin is naturally found in apples, you don't have to consume large amounts of apples to reap the benefits.
Walnuts are the richest source of omega-3 fatty acids. Unlike most nuts, walnut oil also contains plant sterols that bind cholesterol and remove it from circulation. A diet rich in walnuts significantly lowered triglycerides and increased HDL cholesterol.
Note: These foods do not mean you don't need to limit your fat intake; rather, they just offer a way for you to get enough saturated fats.
If you find yourself struggling with cholesterol, consult your physician. He might suggest some dietary supplements to help reduce cholesterol.
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