Cholesterol is one of the common reasons of stress in today’s world. Many people are suffering from high levels of cholesterol in their body.
And the advertisements shown in different media channels scare us all the more about having this dreaded disease.
But its not that scary, neither is it that tough to get out of this problem as it seems to be.
Whatever the reason be for your increased levels of plasma cholesterol –hereditary or diet the first line of treatment that doctors prescribe is diet.
Only if a diet that is low in fat and calories does not lower your cholesterol, medications are supplemented with your diet for ideal results.
Your plasma levels are checked for different types of cholesterol. Total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides.HDL is also known as good cholesterol as some amount of cholesterol is always needed by our body to carry out certain important functions and those are HDL.
Hence care should be taken always to increase HDL levels and LDL, triglycerides and total cholesterol should be low. A high HDL level automatically lowers LDL which is also known as bad cholesterol.
By following a diet low in calorie, saturated fat, cholesterol, and high in polyunsaturated fat; your increased level of cholesterol should be taken care off.
There are certain foods that have a positive effect on a person’s health, physical performance and state of mind.
These kinds of foods are called functional foods. There are few functional foods which play a very important role in lowering cholesterol.
Some of them are mentioned below:
- Soy protein: Soy reduces the plasma total cholesterol concentration. It also reduces the risk of atherosclerosis (the blocking of arteries). Soy protein sources include soy milk, tofu, soy sauce, isolated and textured soy protein supplements.
- Garlic: Garlic consumption for extended period of time is followed by a modest reduction in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride concentration in many. One half or one clove of garlic per day is sufficient to reduce cholesterol level. Garlic extracts and several of its constituents possess significant antithrombic properties. For those who don’t like the odor and taste of garlic, deodourised garlic preparations and garlic pills are also available which is also equally effective.
- Nuts: Scientific evidence suggests that tree nuts such as pecans, walnuts and almonds have potential beneficial effects. Magnesium and copper present in nuts prevent heart disease. Since they are rich in calories and fat it should be consumed in small quantities. Not more than 1-2 walnuts and almonds are recommended in a day.
- Yogurt and milk: Synthesis of cholesterol is reduced when yogurt and milk are consumed. But only skimmed milk and yogurt prepared out of skimmed milk should be consumed.
- Apples& guava: Pectin present in these fruits lower the levels of serum cholesterol, though triglycerides and HDL levels are not affected.
- Guar gum (extracted from seeds of cluster beans): It has hypocholesterolaemic effect (cholesterol lowering effect).
- Veggies, legumes and fruits: This category is well known of its effect in reducing triglycerides and increasing HDL.
- Oat products: It contains high level of betaglucan which has a hypocholesterolaemic effect. Fiber present in oats flushes out LDL from the body.
- Fenugreek Seeds: The fiber present in fenugreek seeds brings about reduction in serum cholesterol by preventing its absorption.
- Vitamin E: It maintains the integrity of all membranes by preventing the oxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids. It also reduces LDL oxidation. Food sources of Vitamin E include vegetable oil, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts and whole grain cereals.
- Fish: They contain omega-3 fatty acids which lowers LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol.
- Combination of oils: A combination of oils should be used for food preparation to balance the amount of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat in the body. Combinations like rice bran oil and sunflower oil (1:3), groundnut oil and soybean oil (2:1) etc can be used.
These are some of the foods that help in lowering cholesterol. A combination of proper diet, exercise and active lifestyle can help you lead a happy and healthy life.