List Of Foods To Help Lower Cholesterol – It has long been known that making changes to your diet can help lower cholesterol levels. A healthy lifestyle can mean you can avoid or at least reduce your reliance on drugs to control cholesterol levels.
Your body needs cholesterol to function normally. It is found in the membranes of each of our cells and is used to make essential nutrients (such as vitamin D) and hormones (such as estrogen and testosterone). In fact, cholesterol is so important that our body is able to provide for itself. However, high cholesterol can cause health problems.
List Of Foods To Help Lower Cholesterol
In general, the lower your LDL cholesterol and the higher your HDL cholesterol, the more likely you are to prevent heart disease and other chronic diseases.
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Saturated fat is “unhealthy” because it raises LDL cholesterol, while unsaturated fat is “healthy” because it lowers LDL cholesterol. Trans fats, although not unsaturated, are an exception to the rule – they raise LDL cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol.
Studies show that replacing unhealthy fats with healthy fats can improve your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease. Learn more about saturated fat, its link to heart disease, and the myths surrounding it.
Soluble fiber is a type of fiber found in plant foods. Because it is not absorbed in the intestines, soluble fiber can bind to cholesterol in the intestines and remove it from the body. It is found in fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes.
Plant sterols actively compete with cholesterol for intestinal absorption and can lower LDL cholesterol by up to 10%. They are found naturally in plant-based foods but only in small amounts, making it very difficult to get the recommended two to three grams per day without a rich diet.
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Plant sterols can also lower blood levels of carotenoids (beneficial antioxidants), so it’s important to eat at least two servings of fruit and five servings of vegetables, especially yellow and orange fruits, to ensure your diet is rich in antioxidants.
While diet is one of the best ways to improve cholesterol levels, other lifestyle changes can help too!
Fortunately, when it comes to improving cholesterol levels, we have a lot of scientific evidence for the ideal diet—moderate amounts of healthy fats and plenty of plant-based foods. If you’re looking for more advice, we recommend you see a registered dietitian for a customized meal plan.
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If your cholesterol levels have risen over the years, you may want to consider whether changing your diet will help. Ideally, your total cholesterol level should be 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or less. But it is harmful LDL cholesterol levels that experts are most concerned about. Excess LDL builds up on artery walls and releases anti-inflammatory substances that increase the risk of heart disease.
“To prevent heart disease, your LDL should be 100 mg/dL or less,” said Dr. says George Plutsky, director of preventive cardiology at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. But many Americans have LDL levels below the ideal (100 to 129 mg/dL) or high (130 to 159 mg/dL).
If you fall into one of these categories, you can lower your LDL by changing what you eat, especially if your current diet may need improvement. However, most people with high LDL levels also need to take cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as statins, Dr. Plutsky says.
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Avoiding foods high in cholesterol is not the best way to lower LDL. Your overall diet — especially the fat and carbohydrates you eat — has the biggest impact on your blood cholesterol levels. “As the American Heart Association points out, you get the most bang for your buck by cutting out saturated fat and replacing it with unsaturated fat,” says registered dietitian Kathy McManus, director of nutrition at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
That means avoiding high-fat dairy products such as meat, cheese and butter, half and ice cream. It is equally important to replace these calories with unsaturated fats (such as those found in vegetable oil, avocados and fatty fish) instead of refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta and white rice. y Unlike fat, these starchy foods are not very filling and can lead to overeating and weight gain.
The other big problem with refined carbs? They are very low in fiber, which helps flush cholesterol out of the body (see “The Fiber Factor”).
Your body cannot break down fiber, so it is not digested by your body. It comes in two forms: insoluble and soluble. Fibrous foods usually contain a combination of both.
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Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. While it doesn’t directly lower LDL, this form of fiber fills you up, removes other cholesterol-raising foods from your diet, and aids in weight loss.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel. This gel traps some of the cholesterol in your body, so it is flushed out as waste instead of entering your arteries.
Soluble fiber also binds to bile acids, which transport fat from the small intestine to the large intestine for excretion. This causes the liver to produce more bile acids – a process that requires cholesterol. If the liver does not have enough cholesterol, it reduces more of the circulating blood and lowers circulating LDL.
Finally, some soluble fiber (called oligosaccharides) is fermented into short-chain fatty acids in the gut. These fatty acids can also inhibit the production of cholesterol.
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The following 11 foods are good sources of fiber or unsaturated fat (or both). But they are in no particular order and are just suggestions. Most whole grains, vegetables and fruits are good sources of fiber. And most nuts and seeds (and the oils made from them) provide monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats.
1. Porridge. This whole grain is one of the best sources of soluble fiber along with barley (see “Grain of the Month” to the right). Start your day with a bowl of steel-cut or old-fashioned rolled oats along with fresh or dried fruit for a little extra fiber.
2. White beans. This variety is also called navy beans and is the highest in fiber content. Try different types of beans, such as black beans, garbanzos, or kidney beans, to add to salads, soups, or chili. But avoid ready-made baked beans, which are canned in sugar-laden sauces.
3. Avocado. Avocado’s creamy, green flesh is not only rich in monounsaturated fat, but also contains soluble and insoluble fiber. Enjoy this fruit sliced into a salad, dipped or mashed and spread on a slice of whole grain toast.
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4. Eggplant. Although not everyone’s favorite, this deep purple vegetable is one of the richest sources of soluble fiber. One idea: Roast or grill whole eggplant until tender and use the flesh in a Middle Eastern dip called baba ghanoush.
5. Carrots. Raw baby carrots are a tasty and convenient snack – and they also give you a good dose of insoluble fiber.
6. Almonds. Among nuts, almonds have the highest fiber content, although other popular varieties such as pistachios and pecans are close behind. Walnuts have the added benefit of being a good source of polyunsaturated, plant-based omega-3 fatty acids.
7. Kiwi fruit. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to peel these fuzzy, brown fruits. But to avoid the skin, cut one in half and scoop out the inside with a spoon, for an easy, high-fiber, sweet snack.
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8. Berry. Since these fruits are full of small seeds, their fiber content is higher than other fruits. Raspberries and blackberries provide the most, but strawberries and blueberries are also good sources.
9. Cauliflower. This cruciferous vegetable not only provides fiber, but can also replace white rice. Grind or whiz in a food processor until it resembles rice, then add a little olive oil and blend until smooth.
10. Soy. Eating soybeans and foods made from them, such as soy milk, tofu and tempeh, was known to be a powerful way to lower cholesterol. More recent analyzes show that the effect is quite modest. However, protein-rich soy-based foods are a much better choice than hamburgers or other red meat.
11. Salmon. Similarly, eating cold-water fish like salmon twice a week can lower LDL by replacing the meat and providing omega-3 fats. Other good fish options are lumpfish
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