The strong connection between cholesterol and cardiovascular health is clear. Changing what you eat can help bring down cholesterol levels as well as helps improve the composition of the fat present in your bloodstream. A plant based diet comprising of vegetables, fruits, whole cereals and legumes is a heart-healthy one. Alongside, you must consume certain specific foods which are especially good at lowering cholesterol levels.
Is your cholesterol off the charts? Here’s what you can do!
- Plagued by the question - how to reduce cholesterol? You need to know that a primarily vegetarian menu of cholesterol-lowering foods decreases LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides appreciably. Including foods which diminish LDL is the most optimal way to managing your lipid profile. The chief elements of your diet ought to be – fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.
- Saturated fats, trans fats, and processed carbohydrates are the real enemy. Your body utilizes these very rapidly, and consequently, your blood sugar and insulin levels sky rocket and nose-dive erratically. Subsequently, the level of free fatty acids in the blood shoots up as well. This in turn, increases inflammation in the body, impairs the blood vessels and raises cholesterol. To prevent this, steer clear of – pizzas, pastries, chips, fried fish, hamburgers and creamy pasta. Limit your intake of – greasy, salty and sugary snacks, such as cookies, cakes, crisps, biscuits, and caffeinated drinks to once a week.
- Opt for lean meat; low-fat or no-fat milk and yoghurt.
- Use monounsaturated oils – sunflower, olive, sesame and peanut oils.
Making a transition to a cholesterol-reducing diet takes quite a bit of an effort; it’s more than just popping an everyday statin. It is a natural way to lower cholesterol levels, and also keeps side effects associated with statins at bay.
3 foods that improve your cholesterol profile
Here are the top choices to help lower cholesterol levels:
Beans: Beans are full of soluble fibre. They take a while to be digested, thus keeping you fuller for longer and preventing spiking of blood sugar as well as fatty acids. The fibre binds with the cholesterol and taking it out of the body, thereby keeping the cholesterol report normal. Beans, pulses and lentils must be part of your daily diet. Always opt for unpolished pulses. Tata Sampann pulses are unpolished and full of nutrition. They undergo strict quality checks and follow scientific methods of processing and packaging.
Nuts: Studies demonstrate that eating almonds, walnuts, and pistachios is very good for the heart. They help lower LDL to some extent and their nutrient profile protects the heart in other ways too.
Strawberries: Strawberries are rich in pectin, a soluble fibre which helps reduce LDL. In fact, the strawberry has been touted a top ‘heart-happy’ food.
Exercise and cardiovascular health
Exercise is good for your heart! Clinical trials show that regular exercise helps increase HDL (good cholesterol) levels by about 25% within a time span of 3 months. HDL cholesterol holds on to the LDL (bad) cholesterol and ferries it out of your body. So, ensure that you exercise for at least half an hour on most days of the week.
These are natural ways to improve your cholesterol levels. If you'd rather make one change at a time, begin with your diet, then move on to exercise and stress management. It’s prudent to first make lifestyle modifications to tackle cholesterol levels. In case you already take cholesterol lowering drugs, these changes will help improve their effect.
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