Cholesterol is a type of fat that is essential to maintain the cell membranes intact and is normally produced within the body in sufficient amounts. Now-a-days we hear a number of people complaining about obesity and high cholesterol levels. It is mainly due to poor dietary habits. But, few people become obese due to hereditary reasons. Whatever the cause, obesity and high cholesterol results in health disorders such as diabetes and cardiac problems. There are many surgical procedures and drugs available to cut down those extra calories and the cholesterol levels. But, they are very expensive and may also cause certain side effects. So, if you are looking for some natural way to lower your cholesterol levels then read on the list of top 10 foods that definitely lower your cholesterol levels.
1. Chocolate: Many people suffering with high cholesterol levels stay away from chocolate with the fear of raising their cholesterol levels. But, the fact is that the powerful antioxidants in them help to increase the good cholesterol i.e. HDL levels. But, choose only the dark chocolate as it has three times more antioxidants compared to milk chocolate. The antioxidants not only help in increasing the levels of HDL but also prevent the sticking of blood platelets and thereby blocking of the arteries. If you love to have dark chocolate have it or search over the internet to find wonderful recipes you can try with dark chocolate.
2. Fruits and Vegetables: Lutein rich foods such as Spinach help to lower the cholesterol levels. It clears the cholesterol sticking to the artery walls. You can have raw spinach leaves in salads or make delicious dishes with spinach. Spinach is also good for preventing blindness that results due to aging. Have 1/2 cup of spinach daily and forget about your cholesterol levels. Pectin rich fruits such as apples also give good results by drawing cholesterol out of your system. The flavonoids present in apples and grapes prevent the absorption and accumulation of LDL cholesterol in the blood. To have better results select grapes that are dark in color. Pomegranate juice that enhances the nitric oxide production which reduces the risk of plaque production is also a good cholesterol lowering diet. Other fiber rich vegetables such as beans also play role in reducing the cholesterol levels. Increased intake of beans that is rich in unsaturated fat serves as a substitute for red meat.
3. Margarine: Who does not love to eat butter? But most of us stay away due to the unwanted fats that come along with it. Margarine is an excellent alternative for all butter lovers. It is rich in plant sterols that help to lower the cholesterol levels by reducing its absorption. Regular intake of plant sterols is found to lower the cholesterol levels by about 3.5%.
4. Avocado: To lower the cholesterol levels it is essential to have unsaturated fats than saturated fats. Avocado is one such plant food that is rich in monounsaturated fats that help to lower the cholesterol levels and increase the HDL cholesterol levels. Apart from increasing the cholesterol levels the beta-sitosterols present in it reduces the absorption of cholesterol contained in other foods. Though this useful plant food is beneficial it has to be used in limited quantities as it is also rich in calories and fat.
5. Garlic: Any food item cooked with garlic will just taste awesome. Apart from its taste it also has wonderful medicinal value. Allicin present in garlic has anti microbial properties which alleviates the digestive disorders. Garlic also helps to check blood clots, offers protection against infections, keep the blood pressure under control and also lowers the cholesterol levels. So, regular intake of garlic prevents formation of blockage of artery walls as it prevents the cholesterol particles from sticking to the artery walls. Have two to three cloves of fresh garlic early in the morning and it will do miracles.
6. Olive oil: Olive oil when added to a salad or any dish enriches its taste. It not only makes the foods delicious but is also healthy for your heart. It is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids that lower the blood cholesterol levels. You can use it to cook fish, in salads or even to roast the vegetables. You can even try including olives in food while cooking. Search over the internet to find wonderful recipes that can be made with olives.
7. Whole grains: People who take rice as their staple food are found to show high cholesterol levels. But, brown rice is totally different. It helps to lower the cholesterol levels. Being a whole grain it serves as a good source of fiber, B vitamins and magnesium. Brown rice combined with beans is perfect protein rich diet with loads of unsaturated fat. Oats is another whole grain that lowers the LDL levels. Intake of about 1.5 cups of oat meal a day provides enough of fiber to lower the LDL levels.
8. Cinnamon: About half teaspoon of cinnamon a day keeps the blood sugar levels under control and also reduces the triglyceride levels. It also keeps the LDL cholesterol levels as well as the total cholesterol levels under control.
9. Salmon: Omega-3-fattyacids and proteins in salmon fish lower the bad cholesterol levels. Majority of doctors recommend cardiac patients to have two servings of fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines and herring per week to keep the cholesterol levels under control and to have a healthy heart.
10. Soy products: Isoflavones and the soluble fiber content present in soybeans reduce the LDL cholesterol levels and raise the HDL cholesterol. Soybeans are also rich in proteins and you can make a number of delicious dishes with soybeans. A number of soy products such as soy nuts, tofu, soy milk and tempeh are also available in the market.
Apart from these listed foods, nuts such as walnuts and almonds also have the property to reduce the blood cholesterol levels and maintain healthy blood vessels. Regular intake of these nuts is found to show wonderful results in just four weeks. Given the benefits of having before mentioned foods, make sure to include them in your regular diet and enjoy a healthy life with minimum use of drugs and keep the life threatening diseases under control.