Cholesterol Diet: 7 Foods That May Help Lower Cholesterol And Keep Your Heart Healthy

Fast paced modern world and changing work environments have tremendously altered the way individuals live their lives today. People are always on the run; to schools, offices, meetings, last-minute shopping scenes, and even to well-in-advance planned social gatherings. In all this, what suffers the most is their health due to adjustments in the food intake and lowering exercise levels. Their shift to junk food, on-the-go snacks, ready-to-eat meals, and lack of attention to a balanced diet also makes most people suffer from many lifestyle diseases.

But, how is it actually harming the human body? Obesity, heart diseases, hypertension, and diabetes are common sights. High cholesterol is an add-on to such problems which today, has become the most common issue amidst adults and aged people.In the medical parlance, LDL or Low-Density Lipoprotein is a harmful cholesterol-carrying element that hampers the normal functioning of the arteries. A rise in LDL level is primarily associated with imbalanced lifestyle and intake of an unhealthy diet. This is precisely the reason why dieticians and medical practitioners urge individuals to consume foods which are healthy and carry less LDL-promoting elements.

The situation…

As per a report published by one of the leading medical associations of the world, most people lose their lives to lifestyle-related diseases, especially high cholesterol. An intake of a poor diet, excessive smoking, lack of exercise, and sedentary lifestyle are some common factors that contribute to high cholesterol among people making them highly prone to cardiovascular diseases. And, the bad news is that people are still ignorant of the problem. But, it is essential to understand that brining a change sooner than later can help save them from the upcoming health adversities.

The answer…

Healthy living is the need of the hour. The healthier you are, the longer you will live. Cholesterol, either bad or good, must be strictly within the prescribed limits. Just like an increase in junk food intake can upscale cholesterol levels, a decrease in the same can help live a healthier, happier lifestyle. Eating a healthier diet (essentially, a cholesterol-lowering diet) alone can significantly lower cholesterol level, which in turn can further help in maintaining a healthy heart.

Listed below are 7 cholesterol-lowering foods which every individual must add to their daily diet.

1. Legumes

Beans, pulses, lentils and other sources of plant-protein are good to go! Eat these to revive the much need portion of protein, fiber and minerals. Switch to legumes and get over with processed grains. Pulses especially help in losing those extra kilos.

Tip: Add kidney beans, baked beans, lentils, chick peas (boiled is better) to your diet.

2. Fish

Broiled, steamed, baked, or grilled, whatever may be the ones chosen favorite, adding fish to daily diet is a must for those suffering from high cholesterol issues. Fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel, are the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish protein is effective in maintaining a healthier heart as it reduces the risk of heart diseases to a great extent.

Tip: Say no to Fried fish (in fact, anything fried for that matter).

3. Whole Grains

Barley and oats are a pack of essential minerals, vitamins, much-needed fiber and plant compounds. They keep the whole grain intact, which is absent in other refined grains. A rich source of beta-glucan, the two food items if added to one’s daily diet, can do wonders.

Tip: Salty oats are a great start to your day. Add those veggies and simple salt and pepper for a quick recipe of delicious oats.

4. Fruits

No doubt, fruits are a power-packed wonder! Citrus fruits are the best source of beneficial soluble fibers which significantly reduce the risk of heart strokes. Have a plate full of grapes, apples, oranges, etc. to add that extra pool of fiber and antioxidants. In addition, berries too are great for lowering down cholesterol. Blueberries, strawberries, cranberry, etc. help restore essential body metabolism as well.

Tip: Switch from packed or canned aerated drinks to healthy, freshly made fruit juices.

5. Soy

Soy in any form; soy milk, tofu and soya bean can help reduce LDL cholesterol to significant levels. Find any weight loss diet chart online and it will surely have Soy as an essential dietary intake. It is low in saturated fats, high in fiber content and is absolutely cholesterol-free. These days a lot of healthier versions are available in the market keeping in mind the growing demand of diet-cautious people; soy nut butter, soy cheese, and soy milk breakfast mixes are some items to name.

Tip: Soya bean and stiff tofu can effectively substitute meat and chicken. Make a habit of using soy milk in place of usual cow milk.

6. Olive oil

Substitute saturated oils with extra virgin olive oil. It is a major ingredient of low-fat diets owing to its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids. A simple switch to olive oil can help increase the HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) levels and lower down your LDL cholesterol(bad cholesterol).

Tip: Try using olive oil in preparation of your regular veggies. Plus point: It doesn’t taste much different!

7. Dark Chocolate

Cocoa, especially in the form of dark chocolate is actually good for the heart’s health. Flavonoids contained in both the products help maintain lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Cocoa beverages and dark chocolate bars are great for health, provided they are consumed with no, or very less added sugar.

Tip: Dark chocolates are low on calorie-content too. Eating Dark chocolate can in fact help during those exhausting days of mood swings.

Say a big “NO” to foods that contain high levels of saturated or trans-fats, and welcome these healthier substitutes to maintain a cholesterol-friendly diet. While it takes some time to adjust to new food textures, flavors and variety, but, trust us; it is worth it for sure!

Have you got similar results from some other food substitutes as well? Do tell us in the comment section below!