At normal levels, cholesterol is a friend as it is an essential substance for normal functioning of the body but when the levels exceed then it poses a risk of a heart attack. The core functionality of cholesterol is mainly it helps in building cell walls, create digestive bile acids in the intestines, allows the body to produce Vitamin D and also make certain hormones. Abnormal levels of cholesterol can lead to
Coronary heart diseases
Kidney or liver diseases
Underactive thyroid gland etc.
Let’s see few top foods that lower your cholesterol levels by following a diet which plays a major role in controlling it. These simple foods along with healthy habits and exercise will help in lowering cholesterol.
Oats contain soluble fibre which reduces the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream. Soluble fibre is also contained in apples, pears, barley, beans etc. Intake of about 5 to 10 gm of soluble fibre a day would decrease your total cholesterol levels. Oatmeal every day would also help you in weight loss and keep you healthy.
Omega-3 fatty acids help in reducing blood pressure and developing blood clots. Fish contain a high level of omega-3 fatty acids. If you do not like fish then food like canola oil, lean meat or vegetables should be supplemented. Mackerel, Sardines, Salmon are few fish which have the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
Almonds, Walnuts and Other Nuts:-
These can reduce blood cholesterol as they are rich in poly-unsaturated fatty acids that keep blood vessels healthy. Nuts are usually high in calories so handful will be sufficient else you will keep gaining weight. Do not eat then salted or coated.
Olive oil contains antioxidants which lower your bad cholesterol and keep good cholesterol untouched. Add olive oil to your diet instead of other fats. Make sure you do not take more quantity as it is usually high in calories.
Foods Which Are Supplemented With Plant Sterols/Stanols:-
Sterols or stanols are substances which are found in plants that block the absorption of cholesterol. Orange juices, yoghurt drinks are now added with these substances and these help in reducing cholesterol more than 10 percent. Also, these plant sterols or stanols do not effect good cholesterol in the body.
Not only these foods but few simple changes in diet and lifestyle would help you. Foods which contain Saturated and trans-fat should be avoided. Meat, full-fat dairy products and few oils increase the total cholesterol levels and they should be avoided. Trans-fats which are present in cookies, cakes etc are bad since they increase the bad cholesterol levels and decrease the good cholesterol levels in the body. In addition to all these, consult a physician who can advise you more based on your health.