Eating the wrong type of food can raise your cholesterol to alarmingly high levels. Likewise, making some deliberate changes in your diet can help you reverse the condition. Yes, diet can play an important role in lowering your cholesterol and protecting your heart. Health authorities have listed the foodstuffs that can improve your cholesterol numbers.
According to a Harvard Health report, including the following food in your dietary regimen can make a considerable difference in your cholesterol level.
- Oats: Start off your day with a bowl of oats. The goal should be to get about 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber. A substance in oats called beta-glucan absorbs LDL or bad cholesterol. According to current nutrition guidelines, a person needs 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day with at least 5 to 10 grams from soluble fiber. So add a banana or some strawberries to add another half gram to your bowl of oats.
- Nuts: Eating 2 ounces of nuts everyday can help lower LDL up to 5%. The additional nutrients in nuts protect the heart in many other ways.
- Barley and other whole grains: These foods contain soluble fiber that can help lower the risk of heart disease.
- Beans: They are a very versatile food choice. They are rich in soluble fiber and take a while for the body to digest, helping you to feel full for longer after a meal.
- Vegetable oils: To lower LDL, use liquid vegetable oils such as canola or sunflower in place of butter, lard, or shortening.
Other options that the Harvard Health report recommends for cholesterol control are: eggplant, okra, soy, fatty fish, apples, grapes, strawberries, citrus fruits, foods fortified with sterols and stanols, and fiber supplements. On the other hand, the report recommends avoiding saturated-fat-rich foods and trans fats.
An article in Prevention magazine highlights the role of red wine, chocolate, avocado, spinach, garlic, and tea in lowering bad cholesterol levels.
Managing your weight and exercising regularly is important to control your cholesterol numbers. Being overweight and not exercising negatively affects fats circulating in the bloodstream. While inactivity lowers protective HDL, excess weight increases harmful LDL.
Doctors prescribe drugs called statins to reduce cholesterol levels. The advantage of adopting these natural ways to lower cholesterol is that it will avoid the risk of muscle problems and other side effects experienced by some people who take statins.