Unhealthy level of cholesterol has become a cause of concern for males and females worldwide. Managing cholesterol numbers doesn’t have to be tough and it all begins with diet modification. Adding smart foods to your diet, such as oats, healthy oils, soy, nuts and plenty of fiber is the key.
High cholesterol remains one of the greatest threats to heart diseases that claims more lives than most cancers. Luckily, there are ways to lower your cholesterol count by making diet changes and prevent the odds of diseases.
Confusing as it may seem, countless foods carrying labels that shout out how they can protect heart healthy by cutting cholesterol are actually hoax. To know what you should and shouldn’t eat to keep your cholesterol numbers normal, you need to follow a basic diet guideline.
Smart Foods for Cholesterol
Smart foods are basically those foods that contain sterols and stanols. Some of the best examples are Benecol yogurt shots and Flora pro.activ. Stanols and sterols are naturally occurring molecules, commonly sourced from plants, which blocks dietary cholesterol absorption in the body and excretes it with other toxins and wastes.
There are several studies to prove how plant sterols can reduce cholesterol count by up to 10% in 3 weeks.
The best way to include smart foods in your diet is to have 2g of yogurt shot with the biggest meal of the day (breakfast, ideally) to get excellent result.
Fiber for Cholesterol
Pulses, beans and legumes contain high amount of fermentable-fiber that cannot be easily digested by the gut. The fiber then binds to cholesterol and removed through excretion of waste. High-fiber foods like bread can be included in your diet to boost overall fiber intake.
Fibrous foods like beans, according to studies, can reduce the level of bad (LDL) cholesterol significantly. Fibrous foods also trick the system into absorbing lesser amount of saturated fat that helps in controlling weight and protects arteries from all kinds of heart diseases.
For cholesterol, 18 grams of fiber per day is needed. Vegetables, fruits and oat-based foods are beneficial.
Nuts for Cholesterol
Most nuts, which include walnuts, almonds, peanuts, and pecans, are beneficial for reducing cholesterol levels. However, you must avoid salted nuts, as they can increase blood pressure levels. How nuts are beneficial in lowering cholesterol numbers is still not clear, but they also contain plant sterols and certain amount of monounsaturated fats, which prevents blood vessel damage. Nuts also contain vitamin E and fiber.
A daily dose of 25 to 50 grams of nuts is healthy.
Soya in any form – soy nuts, soy yogurt, soya milk and tofu – may help in reducing the level of bad cholesterol. Soy can be used as an alternative to meat and dairy, and it also displaces saturated fat.
There is evidence to prove that soy is a beneficial source of protein that reduces total cholesterol levels in the body. Experts suggest that you can have at least 2 to 3 portions of soy every day.
Oils for Cholesterol
Rapeseed oil and olive oil, which mainly contain monounsaturated fat, are better options. They have no effect on your cholesterol level. However, they usually help in strengthening the arterial walls so that they are not damaged by increased cholesterol. These fats get cleared by the body very easily.
Studies reveal that saturated fats like butter and lard can be replaced with these oils to lower cholesterol count.