With the increasing health risks brought about by high cholesterol levels, people are becoming more and more conscious about their diet. A common question nowadays is how to lower cholesterol and what foods lower cholesterol levels. Of course it is great to be health conscious since we only have one body. So rather than face the consequences of abusing your arteries with a daily intake of the wrong types of food, we should be active in lowering our cholesterol levels before it’s too late.
People often think that lowering cholesterol is to avoid fatty and oily foods, but it really is not that simple. Lowering cholesterol does not rely on how much cholesterol intake you are getting, but in the kind of cholesterol you are putting inside your body.
An understanding must be made that there are different types of cholesterol, HDL (good cholesterol) and LDL (bad Cholesterol). Unlike certain nutrients, cholesterol does not dissolve in blood. It gets transferred to cells by small carriers called lipoproteins. HDL is high-density lipoprotein and LDL is low-density lipoprotein. HDL is considered to be good cholesterol since doctors say that this carries cholesterol to the liver where it is broken down. This process protects the body from certain heart diseases since it flushes out the bad cholesterol from the arteries. Now LDL is considered bad cholesterol since it builds up deposits in your body. These deposits harden and make arteries less flexible. Once the LDL builds up completely, it blocks arteries and a stroke or heart attack occurs.
So when we talk about lowering cholesterol in the body, we actually mean to lower LDL or the bad fats which are saturated fats and trans fats. And to lower bad fats, a low cholesterol diet is the key. We should minimize foods that are high cholesterol foods like red meat, processed foods, foods full of trans fat from hydrogenated oil, dairy products and baked foods. What we need to do is to eat foods that lower cholesterol levels. We should actively increase our intake of HDL which are the good fats.
So what are the foods to reduce cholesterol levels?
Nuts and seeds are healthy sources of good oils. Examples of these are flaxseeds, almonds, peanuts, cashew nuts, walnuts, and sunflower seeds. These nuts and seeds raise HDL levels and are rich in nutrients and fiber as well. Certain studies show that a daily intake of nuts and seeds can raise HDL level from 8 to 12%. People whose diets involved these types of food showed relative weight loss and lowered cholesterol count altogether.
A diet filled with Omega-3 fatty acids also raise HDL levels. Fishes such as tuna, salmon, mackerel are great sources of Omega-3 which are examples of foods to reduce cholesterol level.
Of course we all know that vegetables and fruits are naturally healthy. Spinach, potatoes, bananas and pineapples have been shown to lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar levels, and lower blood fats and lower bad cholesterol.
Avocado is a fruit proven to greatly reduce cholesterol. Contrary to the belief that avocados are a fattening fruit, they really full of nutrients that not only lower LDL but help you lose weight as well.
Pineapple, orange juices and cranberry juices should be part of a diet to lower cholesterol levels. These fruit juices are the answers on how to lower cholesterol naturally. They are tasty add-ons to any meal and it’s often good practice to at least drink fresh fruit juices every day. Be wary of canned juices though, sometimes they are filled with artificial flavors and sugars. Going natural and using a good old blender is still the best way.
Virgin coconut oil is also known to be a sort of miracle oil against LDL. VCO is the only true natural oil and it does wonders for the body. It is produced in fresh coconuts and contains lauric acid which acts as a natural cholesterol stabilizer. Aside from lowering cholesterol, it also provides energy for the body.
Soluble fibers should also be part of your daily diet to lower cholesterol. Examples of fiber rich foods are oats, wheat and grains. Wheat bread is a popular food to reduce cholesterol levels. Try eating grain based snacks and have oatmeal for breakfast. Doing so will result in both a reduction in LDL cholesterol and an increase HDL cholesterol. Another fact is that two servings of fiber rich foods a day also relieve constipation.
And in conclusion, eating these cholesterol lowering foods will not only reduce LDL, but will also help condition your body. When people ask how to lower cholesterol without medication, these foods are the answer. Blood pressure, excess fat, blood sugar, as well as certain types of cancers can be reduced with cholesterol lowering diets. Eating these types of foods everyday will also create renewed vigor in a person and encourage them to maintain a clean lifestyle. But first and foremost, discipline will always be the first step.