20 Amazing Foods That Lower Cholesterol Quickly
Having high cholesterol instantaneously increases the probability of heart disease and peripheral arterial diseases and is often directly related to an individual’s lifestyle and diet. Still, the awareness regarding Cholesterol lacks somewhere in our society. In this post, we have shared about Cholesterol and foods that lower cholesterol (1).
Some Facts About Cholesterol
Cholesterol is naturally produced in the human body to create hormones, vitamin D as well as digestive fluids. Apart from its natural production, it is also produced on the consumption of food.
Cholesterol is a crucial building block for every cell in the human body and is primarily produced by the liver. It is often misconceived in the healthcare industry as ‘dangerous’. It serves as a protective healing agent and is vital in the event of arterial inflammation. Now, if an individual is unaware of the causes of such inflammation and continues to live an unhealthy lifestyle, there will be a continuous process of healing which precipitates the cholesterol resulting in an increase in its level. It leads to the development of fatty deposits in the blood vessel and eventually clogs up the arteries which in turn reduces blood flow. The deposits left on the walls of the arteries is known as plaque. Plaque can narrow one’s arteries or even block them (2).
Types of Cholesterol
There are essentially two main types of cholesterol:
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is a combination of fat and protein that travels through the bloodstream and deposits cholesterol to the tissues that require it, such as nerve cells. It is considered unhealthy since it leads to the clogging of arteries and reduces blood flow.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) contain a much higher ratio of protein and fat. There function is to scour the bloodstream by transporting excess cholesterol from the arteries to the liver, where it is discarded from the body. HDL also helps in keeping the blood vessels and arteries clear and is often referred to as good cholesterol.
Factors causing High Cholesterol
Cholesterol levels usually increase with age. There are usually no signs or symptoms indicating high levels of cholesterol. The only way to detect high cholesterol is through a blood test. However, there are several factors that lead to high cholesterol levels. They are as follows:
- Unhealthy Diet –Regular consumption of red meat and the inclusion of saturated fats and dairy products in one’s diet results in a rise of cholesterol level.
- Obesity – Any person who has a body mass index (BDI) of 30 or more is at a greater risk of possessing a high level of cholesterol.
- Large waist circumference – In case of males, the risk of high cholesterol is probable if a man has a waist circumference of at least 40 inches. In relation to females, a woman must have a waist circumference of at least 35 inches to be under the threat of high cholesterol.
- Lack of exercise – Regular exercise and maintaining a certain level of fitness helps in boosting the presence of HDL or ‘good cholesterol’ and increases the size of the particles which comprise of LDL making it less of a threat. Being overweight directly affects the fats which are circulated in the bloodstream. Inactivity diminishes the production of HDL and promotes the accumulation of LDL in the arteries.
- Smoking – High cholesterol levels is only one of the detrimental effects of smoking cigarettes as it damages the walls of the blood vessels and decreases the level of HDL which increases the possibility of artery blockage.
- Diabetes – Increased blood sugar levels is an indicator of high cholesterol since it reduces the level of HDL cholesterol and increases the formation of LDL cholesterol.
It is established that having high cholesterol is directly related to an individual’s lifestyle and daily eating habits. It is known there are several pharmaceutical drugs available in the market to curb the dangerous effects of high cholesterol, however, it is a more feasible option to adopt a healthy lifestyle and follow a balanced diet to reduce cholesterol levels naturally and organically. There is a wide range of healthy foods available which directly combat the ill effects of high cholesterol level and help in restoring it to its normal state. The following list of food items helps in reducing high levels of cholesterol and are cholesterol-lowering foods.
20 Foods that Lower Cholesterol
1. Green Tea
Green tea is believed to have a wide array of health benefits due to its herbal components. Its antioxidants act as a preventive for cancer. Studies have shown that the consumption of green tea reduces the levels of LDL although it may be on a minimal scale.
Nuts are known to have a high percentage of vegetable protein along with unsaturated fats which are beneficial for the heart. A handful of nuts on a daily basis can reduce cholesterol levels considerably. It is rich in magnesium and potassium and includes several plant nutrients that are favourable. Almonds and walnuts are known to be good for the heart. Nuts serve as a quick, healthy and easily accessible snack with tremendous health benefits and form a part of a healthy diet. Nut is one of the foods that lower cholesterol.
3. Red wine
Research has shown that alcohol has the capacity of increasing HDL levels from 5 to 15 percent. Although, red wine, in particular, is beneficial cause it not only increases levels of HDL but simultaneously has the capacity to reduce LDL levels of cholesterol due to the presence of its polyphenol antioxidants. For people who are averse to the idea of consuming alcohol can consider grape juice as a viable option.
Apart from its sharp and distinct taste, garlic is known to reduce high levels of cholesterol. It is considered to have the ability to prevent blood clots and protect against blood infections. Researchers have unravelled that garlic also helps in the prevention of plaque in the arteries at the earliest stages of formation. Adding 2 to 4 cloves of garlic in a dish escalates its taste and also ensures lower LDL levels of cholesterol.
Spinach is packed with an abundance of lutein, which is the sunshine-yellow pigment present in egg yolks and dark green leafy vegetables. Lutein also helps in defending against age-related macular degeneration which is considered to be one of the prominent causes of blindness. A study unveils that including half a cup of lutein-rich food to one’s diet can severely diminish the chances of a heart attack from occurring. It helps in prevention of clogging of arteries which result in a lower level of LDL, also known as bad cholesterol.
Chocolate is an unlikely item on this list. However, chocolates are considered to be a formidable antioxidant which helps in promoting HDL cholesterol levels. Particularly dark chocolates have shown results of increasing one’s HDL levels drastically. A study conducted in 2007 showed results that participants who consumed cocoa powder accounted for a staggering 24 percent increase in HDL levels of cholesterol. It helps in keeping the arteries unclogged and ensures the prevention of blood platelets from sticking to one another.
7. Vegetable Oil
Replacing butter or lard while cooking and substituting it with liquid vegetable oil such as sunflower can help in reducing levels of LDL.
Here is an informative video from Dr Axe
Okra is a vegetable low in calories vegetable which is a good source of soluble fiber.
9. Olive Oil
Olive oil is one of the most commonly used products when it comes to cooking as it used in salad dressings, marinating chicken and fish. It is known to have a wide range of health benefits as well since it is comprised of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids which are good for the heart. Monounsaturated fatty acids are known to lower the levels of LDL in the bloodstream. Olive oil also helps in weight reduction and assists in lessening belly fat. Olive oil is one of the best foods that lower cholesterol.
Avocados are known to be enriched with monounsaturated fatty acids which help in promoting the HDL levels of cholesterol, also known as good cholesterol while reducing the levels of LDL in the bloodstream. Avocadoes are also abundant in beta-sitosterol, which is a plant-based fat and is known to reduce the amount of cholesterol which is absorbed from food. It is to be noted that avocados are high in calories, therefore consumption should be moderated.
Apples consist of antioxidants which can help in the reduction of LDL levels of cholesterol which in turn help in the prevention of artery blockage and induce the free flow of blood.
12. Chia Seeds
Several studies promote the positive effect of chia seeds in relation to lowering LDL and triglyceride levels and increase HDL levels of cholesterol.
13. Fatty Fish
By substituting red meat and consuming fish for about two to three days in a week can help lower high cholesterol levels considerably. The consumption of fatty fish help in reducing cholesterol primarily by delivering Omega 3 fats which are known to reduce LDL levels instead of stimulating saturated fats which increase the level of LDL. Omega 3 is known to reduce triglyceride in the bloodstream and also helps in protecting the heart from abnormal rhythms.
Beans are particularly rich in soluble fiber and help in maintaining the health and functionality of the heart. It takes a considerable amount of time to digest as compared to others. It is beneficial for people trying to lose weight since it keeps a person full and reduces his intake of food over the course of the day.
Grapes have a low content of saturated fats and rich in a soluble fiber called pectin which helps in reduction of LDL. Thus, increasing the intake of fruits in general help in keeping the level of saturated fats on a low level.
16. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are rich in soluble fibres which help in the reduction of LDL and in turn, help in reducing cholesterol levels.
17. Barley and Oats
Barley and Oats are rich in a type of soluble fiber which is known as beta glucan. Once it is consumed, it forms a gel-like substance which helps in binding the cholesterol in the intestines and prevents its absorption. Foods which contain 1g or more of beta-glucan can significantly help in reducing high cholesterol levels. Whole grains are generally beneficial for the deliverance of soluble fiber.
Ginger is a plant rhizome and is commonly used as a cooking spice. It has been used as a remedy to treat and cure arthritis as well as nausea for a considerable period of time. It is known to decrease the severity of an inflammation, which has triggered researchers into considering it as a potential remedy to lower LDL levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream. Researchers have concluded that ginger has the potential to activate an enzyme which increases the use of cholesterol in the human body and lowers it. However, researchers have proclaimed that more investigation as required for it to be considered as a viable remedy for high cholesterol levels.
Turmeric is a yellow coloured powder which is commonly used as a spice or a colouring agent for the preparation of a particular dish. It has found a prominent place in Chinese medicine as it has been used for decades to treat inflammations and cure infections. After conducting several studies to reduce the benefits of turmeric, it is found that turmeric affects triglyceride and LDL levels. Its ability to reduce LDL levels of cholesterol has been consistent in the studies conducted so far. Unfortunately, these studies have been conducted on animals, however, it is believed that the same benefits can be reaped if applied to humans. It is known to positively affect your lipids.
Strawberries are rich in a soluble fibre known as pectin which is known to lower the levels of LDL. It also contains a low content of saturated fats which helps in keeping the intake of saturated fats on a low scale.
A large number of people are affected by the negative effects of cholesterol in modern times because of their lifestyle and eating habits. It is important to understand that these adverse effects can be prevented without any external help and can be avoided completely by just adopting a healthy lifestyle.