5 food items to eat for preventing high cholesterol levels
01. Is all cholesterol bad?
Our body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells, but high cholesterol levels can increase the risk of severe health conditions such as heart diseases. Cholesterol is of two main types– low-density lipoprotein (LDL) which is the bad cholesterol, and the other one is high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is the good cholesterol.
High cholesterol can develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels. If appropriate steps are not taken, these deposits will grow and can block the blood flow in the arteries. Sometimes, these deposits can form a clot that causes a heart attack or stroke.
High cholesterol can be inherited, but usually it is due to unhealthy lifestyle choices. On the bright side, with lifestyle modification, these can be changed and the potential health scares can be avoided. What you eat is one such important factor to prevent high cholesterol levels.
02. Role of diet in cholesterol
Your diet has a powerful effect on your cholesterol levels. If you want to lower the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol naturally, then you need to incorporate a variety of healthy and nourishing foods in your daily diet and prevent yourself from buying, stocking or eating packaged and processed food. This natural way of lowering cholesterol is healthy as unlike taking medication, it avoids the risk of any side effects. Here are some foods which you must add to your daily diet, even better, by replacing the unhealthy junk items from your diet.
03. Oats and barley
Whole grains such as oats and barley are high in a type of soluble fibre called beta glucan which decreases the amount of cholesterol absorbed into your system. A review of 45 studies found that consuming three servings of whole grains daily is linked to a 20% lower risk of heart disease and stroke. It gets better if you increase it to seven servings of whole grains per day. You can create a wholesome oatmeal breakfast for a healthy start to your morning and even include vitamin-rich fruits and berries to enhance flavour and nutritional value.
Nuts, such as almonds and walnuts, can be included in your daily diet as your morning snack or evening snack. These are full of nutrients and high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which are great for heart health and regulating blood pressure. Regular consumption of two ounces of nuts can reduce LDL by about 5%. Eating a daily serving of nuts is linked to a 28% lower risk of heart diseases.
Avocados have cholesterol-lowering effects, which is backed by several clinical studies. This is because they’re a rich source of monounsaturated fats and fiber. According to research, those who are overweight can lower their LDL cholesterol levels by including one avocado per day in their diet, compared to those who don’t eat avocados. You can eat slices of avocado or add it to salads and sandwiches.
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