Adopting healthy habits can help lower your blood cholesterol, or prevent it from becoming high in the first place. Keep in mind that a high level of cholesterol puts you at risk of stroke and heart disease. This explains why organizations like the NHS encourages people who are between 40 and 74 to get their cholesterol checked on a regular basis (annually).
If your blood tests show that you have high cholesterol, then it’s important that you switch to a healthy and balanced diet, as well as maintain an active lifestyle. The following are foods that are dubbed “cholesterol busters” because they are very effective in lowering cholesterol:
Sometimes all it takes to lower your cholesterol is to change your morning meal. One study showed a 5.3% reduction in total cholesterol and 8.7% decrease in LDL cholesterol levels simply by consuming two oat bran muffins for 4 weeks. Oats contain beta-glucan, which absorbs LDL that later on gets excreted by your body instead of staying in the bloodstream.
Salmon contains Omega-3 fatty acids which are helpful in warding off dementia, heart disease and other health problems. In addition, Loma Linda University researchers also found that these healthy fats can lower cholesterol by replacing saturated fats, thus raising good cholesterol by around 4%.
Soy is low in saturated fat and it also contains special proteins that can influence how the body controls cholesterol. By consuming at least 15g of soy a day, you can lower your cholesterol by 6%. You can consume soymilk instead of milk, and even replace your meat with tofu and soya meat.
4. Fruits and Veggies
Fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber that reduces cholesterol in the body. Greens like spinach have lots of lutein which guard against age-related diseases. It’s also been found to protect against heart attacks by flushing out cholesterol in the arterial walls. Fruits like avocado raise good cholesterol while lowering bad cholesterol. Avocado also contains beta-sitosterol which “smashes” cholesterol thus preventing it from being absorbed by the body.
The perfect snack to lower cholesterol is none other than nuts. One study found that people who consumed 1.5 ounces of whole walnuts for six days every week for a period of a month lowered their total serum cholesterol by 5.4% and also reduced bad cholesterol by 9.3%.
6. Dark Chocolate
Most people prefer milk chocolate but dark chocolate actually offers more benefits. It’s loaded with nutrients and at the same time protects the cardiovascular system. One study found that it can increase HDL while lowering total LDL. It also protects LDL cholesterol from oxidation. Oxidized LDL causes damage to tissues including the lining of the arteries. In another study which extended to a period of 15 years and focused on 470 elderly males, it was also found that cocoa reduces cardiovascular death rates by as much as 50%.
To prevent the risks and effects of high cholesterol, start incorporating these foods that lower cholesterol in your diet.