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10 Foods To Lower Cholesterol

September 12, 2022 10:03 IST

Water is one of the most under-rated ingredients of our diet!
Drinking plenty of water will help keep your blood clean and reduce the build-up of excessive toxins -- cholesterol being one of them, suggests nutritionist Ishti Saluja.

Tips to lower your cholesterol

Kindly note the image has been posted only for representational purposes. Photograph: Kind courtesy Malavika Mohanan/Instagram

What is cholesterol?

Is it good or bad?

What is the normal cholesterol level required in a human body?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat like substance that is found all over the body.

It's in your blood, cells and tissues.

Cholesterol is an important element in the body that helps build hormones and enables you to digest certain foods.

Experts recommend an HDL (high density lipoprotein or good cholesterol) level of 60 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) of blood or higher. Having HDL under 40 mg/dL increases your risk of developing heart disease and stroke.

When you have high levels of cholesterol it causes a lot of problems.

High levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein, also called bad cholesterol), VLDL (very-low-density lipoprotein) and triglycerides in particular are extremely harmful to the body.

They indicate cells with high levels of fat and low levels of protein.

Increased risk of heart diseases, obesity, weak bones, high blood pressure, risk of diabetes are some of the risks of high cholesterol levels.

High levels of cholesterol are often linked to poor lifestyle -- lack of exercise, smoking, excessive body weight, and unhealthy eating habits.

Processed foods, deep fried items, sugar and a lack of protein are diet related issues that could cause a rise in your cholesterol numbers.

Here's a list of foods that can help you lower cholesterol naturally, without depending on statins (medication to lower your lipids):

1. Wheatgrass

Consuming this on an empty stomach in the morning helps gradually detox your liver, which helps to reduce LDL and triglyceride levels.

2. Good protein

Good protein include legumes, paneer, chickpea, eggs (yes, yolks too), tofu and edamame.

Protein has high satiety levels (other than just nutritional benefits). You feel full for longer, thus reducing cravings for carbs and processed foods.

With an increase in protein, each cell in the body will eventually reduce the fat content (LDL, VLDL, triglycerides) and replace it with HDL which is the 'good kind of cholesterol' and reduces health risks discusses above.

3. Green vegetables 

Green vegetables are high in fibre!

Consuming vegetables like spinach, kale, tinda, broccoli will help reduce LDL levels and may also help prevent bad cholesterol from binding to the arterial wall.

4. Chia seeds and flax seeds

High in fibre and high in antioxidants, these seeds form a gel like consistency when soaked in water and helps to remove cholesterol that that is stuck to artery walls and bloodstream.

5. Fruits and berries 

Rich in antioxidants, certain fruits like kiwi, apples, grapes, citrus fruits and berries are rich in pectin.

This helps the liver function well and also reduce the build-up of cholesterol.

6. Oats

The soluble fibre in oats reduces the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream.

7. Healthy fats

Almonds, walnuts salmon, avocado, are all monosaturated fats. They don’t contribute in increasing cholesterol levels.

Hence, these foods help reduce the risk of blood clots and keep the heart healthy -- a common health risk among those with high cholesterol levels.

8. Probiotics

The link between a healthy gut and cholesterol is undeniable.

Supplement your diet with probiotics (yoghurt, kimchi, kombucha) or tablets if you require a heavier dose.

Certain strains of good bacteria prevent cholesterol from being made and absorbed, as well as by helping break it down.

9. Water

Water is one of the most under-rated ingredients of our diet!

Drinking plenty of water will help keep your blood clean and reduce the build-up of excessive toxins -- cholesterol being one of them.

10. Say No to sugar and pressed foods

As important it is to add the correct foods to your lifestyle, it’s equally important to eliminate foods that damage your system.

Focus on home cooked food, whole grains, fresh and seasonal produce and ditch the sugar, butter, full fat dairy to keep bad cholesterol at bay!

Ishti Saluja is a registered associate nutritionist with the Association for Nutrition and Diplôme de Cuisine, Le Cordon Bleu.

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