Diet is one of the main factors which account for high cholesterol levels in our body. However, maintaining a proper diet can also help maintain cholesterol at requisite levels. If we choose the right foods to include in our diet, it can help manage fats in the bloodstream. We must consume foods that are lower in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. This would allow us to maintain our cholesterol at requisite levels.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is one of the body’s lipoproteins and an important carrier of cholesterol. Having an excess of it is harmful to our body and can lead to clogging of the arteries. They are also known as “bad cholesterol.”
Foods that lower cholesterol naturally in our body do so in different ways:
- Some foods bind cholesterol in the digestive system. Therefore, the cholesterol exits the body before it reaches the circulatory system.
- Some foods increase the amount of polyunsaturated fats in the body. This lowers the LDL levels in the bloodstream.
- Some foods contain sterols. These block the absorption of cholesterol in our body.
Let’s look at some of the best foods that lower cholesterol naturally that can be included in your diet.
One of the best foods that lower cholesterol naturally is oats. You can choose to start the day with a wholesome breakfast of oatmeal. You may also have cold oats-based cereal for breakfast. This has 1 or 2 grams of soluble fibers. If you add a banana or some strawberries, this would add another half a gram of soluble fibers to your breakfast.
Barley and other whole grains
Barley and other whole grains reduce the chances of occurrence of cardiovascular disorders and are among the top foods that lower cholesterol naturally. One of the key mechanisms is by delivering a high percentage of soluble fibers to the body. One must consume 10 to 35 grams of fiber in a day. Out of these, at least 5 to 10 grams must be soluble fibers.
Beans are one of the most soluble fiber-rich foods that lower cholesterol naturally. As these metabolize at a slow pace, they make us feel full for a long time after consuming a meal. This allows us to keep a check on our appetite and eases the process of weight loss. There are many types of beans. Moreover, there are many ways to prepare a meal with beans. This makes beans a food with variety. Some of the key beans that you can in your diet include:
- Navy beans
- Kidney beans
- Black-eyed peas
This exotic vegetable is low in calories and a good source of soluble fibers. Therefore, it is included in the list of foods that lower cholesterol naturally.
Eating nuts is good for the heart. By consuming 2 ounces of nuts in a day, one can reduce LDL levels by around 5%. Some nuts that you can opt for include:
Choose vegetable oils such as safflower, sunflower, and canola over butter or lard. These are the foods that lower cholesterol naturally as they will help reduce bad cholesterol.
A diet high in fruits
Go for a diet high in fruits. Fruits such as apples, grapes, strawberries, and citrus fruits are high in pectin. Pectin is a kind of soluble fiber which works towards lowering LDL.
One must consume around 25 grams of soy protein in a day, which is equal to 10 ounces of tofu or 2 and 1/2 cups of soy milk. This can lower LDL by up to 6%.
Foods high in lycopene
Lycopene is a protein which gives fruits and vegetables their red color. Some of the foods that are high in Lycopene include tomato and watermelon. Lycopene is generally good for heart health. Moreover, the substance has also shown to reduce LDL in many people.
Consuming less than half a clove of garlic (900 mg) every day can be very effective for heart health. This works particularly well in reducing LDL levels. For improved heart health, garlic is best when used in its raw form. Some of the best ways to use garlic include using it as a salad dressing or as a garnishing for soups.
Flax seeds are a very effective way to ensure LDL cholesterol reduction. A fine way of using flax seeds is to combine these with baked products such as muffins. One may even combine these with cereals such as oatmeal.
Ensure to include in your diet foods that lower cholesterol naturally. This would work better than choosing only one or two foods that lower cholesterol levels. It would also allow the body to lower the levels of LDL, triglycerides, and high blood pressure. A diet high in beans, nuts, fruits, and vegetables not only helps lower cholesterol levels but also helps the body in many other ways such as the following.
- It helps maintain blood pressure
- Maintains flexibility of the arteries
- Keeps arteries responsive
- Keeps the bones stronger
- Promotes better functioning of the digestive system
- Improves vision
Some of the alternatives that you must definitely opt for include:
- Lots of fruits and vegetables
- Whole grain instead of refined grains
- Plant protein