Cholesterol levels are an indicator of how healthy your heart is. Cholesterol has two components: HDL (good cholesterol) and LDL (bad cholesterol). HDL, obviously, should be high and LDL should be low. When this balance goes off the chart, you become more prone to heart diseases and stroke. Therefore, it is important to keep a check on LDL levels and also boost the HDL levels of your body.
A healthy diet and lifestyle can help you lower your cholesterol levels. Foods that are rich in unsaturated fatty acids (especially omega 3 and PUFA) help in boosting your HDL levels. Healthy diet, however, does not mean boring and unappetizing. Here are some of the sinfully tempting foods from chocolate to wine that help in lowering your cholesterol.
Tea is packed with flavinoids and anti oxidants. These not only help fight cancer but also help reduce LDL levels. It has been proven by research that regular intake of black tea plays a significant role in reducing blood lipids. Green tea has been found to be very effective as it helps burn cholesterol and blood lipids. Chuck your mocha and latte, switch to tea.
Oats are high in soluble fibers. Soluble fibers reduce the absorption of LDL by the body. The beta glucan present in the fiber absorbs the LDL and excretes it, thereby lowering the absorption.Regular intake of oats, along with fruits, for breakfast is a healthy option.
Salmons are rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids which helps reduce cholesterol, blood pressure and prevent unnecessary clotting of blood. Replace your unhealthy saturated fats with Omega 3 to see up to 4% increase in your HDL. Include at least two servings of salmon per week and make sure you bake or grill to avoid adding unhealthy fats.
Nuts like almonds and walnuts help in reducing blood cholesterol. Especially walnuts, which are rich in poly unsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), make your blood vessels healthy. Snacking on about 1.5 ounce of walnuts for at least 6 days a week helps in significantly reducing the cholesterol levels. Nuts are high on calories so make sure you do not snack on more than 1.5 ounce. Also make sure they are not salted. Nuts can also be added as a topping to your cereals, oats and even yogurt. So why are you waiting? Get them cracking!
It is rich in mono unsaturated fatty acids which help in increasing HDL. The beta sitosterol, present in the food, acts as a fat smasher that reduces cholesterol absorption by the body, there by decreasing LDL levels. This high calorie fruit has to be taken in moderation.
Beans, like black kidney and pinto, are high on fiber. Their intake significantly reduces the amount of LDL absorbed by the body. A handful in your soup is enough to make your dinner healthy.
These are rich in lutein which not only helps prevent macular degeneration (reduced vision as we age) but also lowers the accumulation of cholesterol in the arteries. Accumulation of the cholesterol leads to blockage in the arteries which then makes us highly prone to heart diseases.
One of the wonders of nature that helps the body fight everything from minor infections to cancer, thrombosis (blood clot) and even high cholesterol. It reduces the cholesterol level and accumulation in the artery by not allowing the LDL to stick to the blood vessels.
Unlike butter, this plant product is low in bad cholesterol. They also contain Benecol which helps lower LDL.
10. Olive oil
Olive oil is one of the healthiest cooking oil. It is rich in unsaturated fatty acids, especially the mono unsaturated or MUFAs, which help in lowering the cholesterol level. Moreover, they help in burning the belly fat which makes them one of the best choice for cooking oil.
No one can resist a slab of chocolate and now you can bite into them guilt free. Cocoa is rich in anti oxidants which help in increasing the good cholesterol or HDL.They also prevent formation of blood clots in the arteries. Dark and bittersweet chocolates have high cocoa content making them the best choice. Milk chocolates, though, are less preferred.
The grapes that are used for making wine are effective in lowering LDL levels. Usually, Tempranillo Red Grapes are used which has a high fiber content. Hence, make sure you take in small portions.
Healthy diet, supplemented with these tempting cholesterol reducers, and exercise will help you keep your cholesterol under control.