What Is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found naturally in the blood. Predominantly produced in the liver, but also found in foods such as butter, eggs, red meat or fat cheese. Cholesterol is essential for maintaining good health and only becomes a problem when the level in your blood is too high.
Foods to eat for lower cholesterol can help you to be fit again. So make sure you add at least few of them to your daily menu if you have a problem with a high cholesterol. These foods can literally save your life as high cholesterol can be very dangerous. Eat healthy foods, have a regular exercise at least 3-4 times a week and your life can dramatically change.
The Two Main Types Of Blood Cholesterol Are:
- low-density lipoprotein (LDL) – also known as ‘bad’ cholesterol because it can add to the build-up of plaque in your arteries and increase your risk of getting coronary heart disease
- high-density lipoprotein (HDL) – is the ‘good’ type of cholesterol. It helps to remove excess cholesterol from the bloodstream and returns it to the liver where it is broken down and passed out of the body.
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Some Causes Of High Blood Cholesterol Include:
- low intake of foods containing healthy, protective fats –this increases your intake of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which tend to increase the HDL cholesterol in your blood
- high intake of foods containing saturated fats and trans-fats –such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, butter, coconut oil, palm oil and most deep-fried takeaway foods and commercially baked products, such as pies, biscuits, buns and pastries. Foods high in trans-fats include most deep-fried takeaway foods and commercially baked products
- cholesterol in food (dietary cholesterol) – this has only a small effect on LDL cholesterol (saturated fats and trans-fats in food have a much greater effect). You can include some cholesterol-rich foods, such as offal (liver, pâté and kidney) and prawns, as part of a healthy, balanced diet low in saturated fats and trans-fats. You can also eat up to six eggs a week as part of a healthy, balanced diet low in saturated and trans-fats, without increasing your risk of coronary heart disease
- genetics – your family history may affect your cholesterol level. Some people will have high cholesterol even if they follow a healthy, balanced diet low in saturated fats and trans-fats. These people may need to take cholesterol-lowering medicine as prescribed by their doctor.
10 Foods That Can Lower Cholesterol And Improve Risk Factors For Heart Disease:
Avocados are a source of monounsaturated fat, which is good for you when eaten in moderation. They’re also rich in vitamins minerals, fiber, compounds that block cholesterol absorption in the body (phytosterols), and antioxidants that can play a role in preventing cancer and heart disease.
Researchers according to a small study in the Journal of the American Heart Association, replaced saturated fatty acids from an average American diet with unsaturated fatty acids from avocados.
Forty-five healthy, overweight, or obese men and women between the ages of 21 and 70 were put on three different cholesterol-lowering diets:
- Lower-fat diet without avocado
- Moderate-fat diet without avocado
- Moderate-fat diet with one avocado per day
Each participant ate each of the three test diets for 5 weeks. The researchers used Hass avocados — the ones with bumpy green skin.
People on a moderate-fat diet who ate an avocado every day had lower bad cholesterol levels than those on a similar diet without an avocado a day or those who were on a lower-fat diet.
Tip#1: Kiwi Avocado Smoothie Recipe
The combination of the creamy avocado with the tartness of a kiwi and lime juice is delicious. A hint of honey makes it just sweet enough to satisfy, but not boost too many calories. I seriously love this recipe! I prefer using my high-powered blender to whip this up instead of a traditional blender. That way the ice cubes really blend into the mixture instead of staying in chunks.
1/2 ripe avocado
2 kiwis peeled
1/8 cup lime juice
1/8 cup – 1/4 cup Almond milk
Honey to taste
2-3 ice cubes
- Place liquid in the blender first, then add your fruit and ice.
- Cover and start on low sped, increasing to high speed.
- Blend until creamy and smooth.
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2) Whole Grain
Eating a diet rich in high-fiber whole grain foods can lower the risk of several chronic conditions, such as high cholesterol, heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes, according to various studies, including a 2007 research analysis of 285,000 people, published in Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases.
The good-for-weight-loss whole grains are those, like brown rice, whole oats, unhulled barley, and buckwheat groats, that have not gone through the grinding, or processing, of their kernels into flour.
These whole grains contain only about 500 calories per pound. That’s a lot of food. It means you can eat them until you’re comfortably full without going overboard on calories.
Tip#2: Barley (Pearled)
It’s not just for soups. Swedish researchers found that if you eat barley for breakfast, the fibrous grain cuts blood sugar response by 44 percent at lunch and 14 percent at dinner.
And the less your sugar spikes, the more stable your energy (and hunger) levels will be.
Serving size: 1 cup, cooked (157 g), 193 calories, 6 g fiber, 4 g protein, 1 g fat, 44 g carbs, 20% manganese, 19% selenium, 16% niacin
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When trying to lower your cholesterol, fish as a source of protein makes for a healthy choice, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Canned tuna packed in oil is low in cholesterol, with 13 to 18 milligrams per 3.5-ounce serving. Cooked monkfish and smoked Chinook salmon are also low-cholesterol fish choices with 32 and 23 milligrams, respectively, per 3.5-ounce serving.
Tip#3: Tuna and Vegetable Salad
In a bowl combine celery, tomatoes, chick peas, onions, parsley and olives. Flake tuna and add to the salad. Dress salad with juice of 2 lemons and about 1/3 cup olive oil. Season the salad with salt and pepper and toss.
Most nuts contain a high concentration of healthy fat. Walnuts are composed of 47 percent polyunsaturated fatty acids, thought of as “good fats.” But while most nuts contain polyunsaturated fatty acids, walnuts are the only ones with a significant amount of a certain type called alpha-linolenic acid.
Alpha-linolenic acid acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and has actually been shown to help reduce plaque buildup in coronary arteries. Eating walnuts has been shown to improve cholesterol levels and the function of the small arteries and vessels within our bodies.
Recently, a study was looking on people who consumed 43 gm of walnuts every day and found the nuts reduced total and LDL cholesterol levels. However, this study showed something even more important. Consumption of walnuts reduced the level of apolipoprotein B, which is a strong genetic risk factor for coronary artery disease.
Tip#4: Waldorf Chicken Salad
The origins of the nut and apple Waldorf salad began at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City in 1896. Since then, it has remained a classic and has influenced many variations and twists on the original. By adding chicken and grapes to the salad, you can create an element of heartiness to this dish that makes it perfect for lunches all week.
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 3 cups chopped cooked chicken
- 1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
- 1 large Gala apple, diced
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup honey mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
How to Make It:
- Preheat oven to 350°. Bake walnuts in a single layer in a shallow pan 6 to 8 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.
- Stir together chicken, next 5 ingredients, and walnuts. Add salt and pepper to taste.
This chicken salad is perfect eaten on its own or scooped between a healthy, whole grain bread. Variations on this could be adding jalapeno for a spicy kick or adding more of an assortment of nuts, like almonds or pistachios.
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Garlic has been used for centuries to promote good health. Research shows that members of the allium family, such as garlic, spring onions and other onions, can be used to lower cholesterol and protect the heart.
Use garlic liberally in cooking and on fresh salads. Researchers also believe that the high garlic content of the so-called Mediterranean diet is one of the factors that make this diet so heart-friendly.
Tip#5: Edamame Soy Bean Dip with Smoked Paprika & Garlic
- 2 packages (9 oz. each) edamame, steamed and shelled
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp water (possibly more)
- Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or a blender.
- Pulse until fairly smooth, leaving a few small chunks of edamame, scraping down the sides as necessary.
- If the mixture is too thick while pulsing, add extra water by the teaspoonful.
- Serve with raw vegetables, such as red bell peppers and jicama.
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If you’ve ever eaten Eastern Asian or Middle Eastern cuisine, there’s a good chance that you have probably encountered turmeric. Turmeric is a yellow colored powder that is often used as a food-coloring agent and as a spice in a variety of foods.
It belongs to the ginger family and has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine to treat inflammation, infections, and various gastrointestinal ailments.
Turmeric is believed to have excellent cholesterol lowering capacities. Increasing scientific evidence is indicative of its ability to act on blockages and damage in the arteries repair them.
For treating high cholesterol related problems it is recommended to consume the herb in the form of turmeric milk(turmeric tea). Golden paste combines turmeric with black pepper to aid absorption by the body.
There is no specific optimal dosage. It varies from person to person based on what suits them. Starting with a low dose is advised to avoid gastric side effects.
Tip#6: Turmeric Tea Recipe (How to Make Golden Milk)
- 2 cups of milk of choice (almond, pecan, coconut and dairy all work in this recipe) or use bone broth in place of the milk for a more hearty tea
- 1 tsp turmeric or turmeric spice mix
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of black pepper (increases absorption)
- tiny piece of fresh, peeled ginger root or 1/4 tsp ginger powder
- pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 tsp raw honey or maple syrup to taste (optional)
- First, blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth
- Then, pour into a small saucepan and heat for 3-5 minutes over medium heat until hot but not boiling
- Drink immediately
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Eating beans, lentils and other legumes may help you cut down on LDL “bad” cholesterol and lower your risk for heart disease, a new review suggests. Canadian researchers examined 26 U.S. and Canadian studies that included a total of more than 1,000 people.
Their analysis showed that one daily serving (3/4 cup) of legumes – foods such as beans, chickpeas, lentils and peas – was linked to a reduction in low-density lipoprotein(LDL) cholesterol by 5 percent. The study couldn’t confirm cause-and-effect, but did show a strong association.
Want to really fight against high cholesterol levels with beans? Try this: when you’re eating a cup or more of beans a day, replace beef with the beans. In other words, go meatless that day. The more days you do that the better.
Beans are a great way to get protein, without the baggage of beef: saturated fat, trans fat and dietary cholesterol–all which raise your cholesterol levels and increase your risk of heart disease.
Tip#7: Southwestern Black Bean Salad
- 3 cans of black beans (15 ounces each) or 4 ½ cups cooked black beans, rinsed and well-drained
- 2 ears of corn, shucked, or 1 cup of canned corn (drained) or defrosted frozen corn
- 1 orange, yellow or red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup chopped red onion (from 1 small onion)
- ½ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro (about ½ medium bunch)
- 1 medium jalapeño, finely chopped (keep the seeds for heat if you’d like, or remove them for mild flavor) or 2 tablespoons finely chopped pickled jalapeño
- ½ teaspoon lime zest (from 1 lime, preferably organic)
- 2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 lime), to taste
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt, to taste
- Optional garnishes: sliced avocado, crumbled feta, lime wedges
- In a large serving bowl, combine all of the ingredients and toss to combine. Taste, and adjust as necessary until the flavors really pop—I usually add another teaspoon or two of vinegar (you can use lime juice instead, for more mild flavor) and another ¼ teaspoon salt.
- Cover and chill to enhance the flavors—preferably for at least 2 hours, or overnight. Serve in individual bowls as is, or with any of the garnishes listed. Leftovers keep well for up to 4 days or so; you might want to wake up the flavors with an extra squeeze of lime juice or tiny splash of vinegar.
8) Red Wine
Moderate alcohol consumption, especially in the form of red wine, is a well-researched way to lower cholesterol naturally. If consumed regularly in light to moderate amounts, red wine is well-known to decrease the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other dire consequences of cardiovascular disease.
One of the primary ways red wine decreases the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease is by improving cholesterol.
Don’t feel guilty if you indulge in the occasional glass of red wine with dinner. This habit may actually be beneficial for your health, lowering your risk for heart disease, according to an article published in “Seminars in Thrombosis and Hemostasis” in 2010. Drinking one to two glasses of red wine per day may help lower your bad cholesterol while increasing your good cholesterol.
To get the advantages of red wine for cholesterol, men should drink about two servings and women should drink about one serving most days of the week, with meals (the exact amounts varied among studies).
And you don’t need to worry too much about the quality or variety of red wine you drink. Hundreds of different wines have been used in studies, and all seem to lower cholesterol.
If there are subtle differences among the cholesterol-lowering effects of different red wines, at this point, it is not clear which variety of wine might work best.
One thing that is clear, however, is that drinking red wine in combination with a healthy diet and other natural cholesterol-lowering therapies, including cholesterol-lowering foods and supplements, can lead to even greater reductions in cholesterol.
Tip#8: RED WINE tastes better when served slightly below room temperature from 53-69 °F (light red wines like Pinot Noir taste better at the cooler end of the spectrum)
9) Dark Chocolate
Researchers at San Diego University recently published a study which revealed eating chocolate can protect against the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering blood pressure, stabilizing blood glucose (sugar) levels and improving blood cholesterol levels.
The study participants were randomly assigned to consume a daily serving of either regular dark chocolate (70% cocoa), overheated or “bloomed” dark chocolate (70% cocoa), or white chocolate (0% cocoa) over a 15-day time period.
When compared to participants assigned to the white chocolate group, those consuming either form of dark chocolate had lower blood glucose and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in combination with increased HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels.
Chocolate has over 300 naturally occurring chemicals within it. The most well-known include caffeine, sugar, and cocoa. One of the lesser-known chemicals in chocolate are flavonoids. Flavonoids are also in red wine, and have been found to lower LDL cholesterol levels as well as exert a protective effect against coronary heart disease.
Additionally, one-third of the fat content found in chocolate is in the form of stearic acid. Although it is a saturated fat, stearic acid exerts a neutral effect on cholesterol levels; that is, while it does not appear to raise cholesterol levels in some studies, it does not appear to lower them either.
Tip#9: Dark Chocolate Dipped Fresh Fruit
- 6 ounce package of raspberries, washed
- 6 ounce package of blackberries, washed
- 16 ounce package of strawberries, washed with leaves cut off
- 1 apple (Fuji or preferred variety), cut, cored, and peeled
- 1 banana, peeled and sliced
- 1 10-oz bag dark chocolate melting wafers
- Wash and prepare your fruit. Dry well.
- Line 1 baking sheet with wax or parchment paper.
- Melt dark chocolate at 30 second intervals (about 3 times, depending on the strength of your microwave) in the microwave in a heat safe and microwave safe bowl, stirring in between each interval.
- Using a fork, dip the fruit and place on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Allow the chocolate to solidify at room temperature or to speed things up, transfer to the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes. Serve individually or on wooden skewers. Enjoy!
There is some evidence that adding soy to our diets, in the form of tofu and other soy-based foods, can lower cholesterol levels. Soy is an isoflavone, which means that it contains plant estrogens (phytoestrogens). Isoflavones have a similar chemical structure to estrogen and can exert a weak estrogen-like effect on the body.
In 1999, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the health claim that 25 g/day of soy protein — as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol – may reduce the risk of heart disease.
There are some concerns, however, that supplements containing soy protein or soy extracts are not as beneficial or as safe as food sources, particularly for women who have had or are at a high risk of breast cancer.
Raised cholesterol is a common problem and a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease, however a visit to your GP and following a healthy diet and lifestyle can help to lower cholesterol levels and will significantly reduce the risk.
Leave a comment below with your preferable foods what can lower a cholesterol to help other people to be fit and healthy again.