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Home / Healthy Eating

Five foods that lower cholesterol

 High cholesterol levels can lead to cardiovascular diseases (Image: Shutterstock)

If you’re guilty of eating too much fats, you may be at a risk of increasing your cholesterol levels. This includes overweight individuals who have high triglycerides, smokers and those with a family history of high cholesterol.

Having no symptoms, the only way a doctor can rule it out is through blood screening. Though an essential substance for the body to function properly, if taken too much, with time it can buildup in your arteries resulting in a plaque which eventually blocks your arteries and blood flow.

The result? You may develop coronary disease and other heart related diseases.

But what exactly is cholesterol? Well, this is a type of a fat produced naturally by your body and is also found in certain foods such as shellfish, eggs and kidneys.

A waxy type of substance that moves through the blood stream, the low-density lipoprotein or LDL is what is considered as the bad cholesterol while the high-density lipoprotein is the good cholesterol that helps get rid of the excess cholesterol from the body through the liver.

According to doctors, lifestyle changes, a healthy diet and exercise are some of the best ways to prevent high cholesterol in your system.

That said, here are some of the foods that will help reduce your LDL:

 Fish is rich in omega 3 (Image: Shutterstock)
  • Fish
  • Omega 3 rich fatty fish like salmon, sardines, tuna and mackerel improve how HDL works by lowering triglycerides and help in the prevention of abnormal heart rhythms. Triglycerides is a type of fat that enters the blood after having a meal.

    According to studies, the polyunsaturated fats in the fish protect blood vessels lowering the risk of contracting a cardiovascular disease.

    Replacing meat with fish and eating it at least two times a week has been shown to drastically lower LDL.

     Nuts are rich in polyunsaturated fats and omega 3 fatty acids (Image: Shutterstock)
  • Nuts
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    As little as a handful of walnuts has been discovered to lower chances of cardiovascular diseases due to its high content in polyunsaturated fats and omega 3 fatty acids. Other nuts such as peanuts and almonds are good for the heart too.

    A daily serving of nuts in yogurt or as a snack will help regulate blood pressure due to the amino acid, L-arginine, lower cholesterol due to phytosterols and other nutrients which help lower the risk of heart related diseases.

     Oats contain beta-glucan that helps remove excess fats (Image: Shutterstock)
  • Oats
  • Porridge made of oats contains beta-glucan a type of soluble fiber that absorbs water in the GI tract and removes excess fats before it enters the blood stream. Because of this, it helps lower cholesterol.

    Rich in minerals, vitamins and plant compounds, ingesting whole grains is one of the best ways to improve a healthy heart and drastically lower stroke and cardiovascular diseases.

     Leafy greens help to counterbalance sodium levels in your body (Image: Shutterstock)
  • Leafy vegetables
  • Minerals in leafy and cruciferous vegetables like cabbages, Brussels sprouts, kales and spinach contain lutein and other carotenoids that lower hypertension risk by counterbalancing the sodium levels in your body.

    Low in calories and jam packed with fiber and antioxidants, green leafy veggies deliver the necessary nutrients that lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation and are good for the heart.

     Fruits help to lower triglycerides in your body (Image: Shutterstock)
  • Fruits
  • For a balanced diet, fruits must make up your daily serving. Rich in pectin, a soluble fiber found mostly in apples, berries and citrus fruits, they lower triglycerides in your blood. This in turn helps increase HDL.

    A rich source of plant compounds, fruits are rich in antioxidants which help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of chronic and heart diseases.

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