For many anything that has to do with fat is bad. And one of them happens to be cholesterol. So, many stay away from anything high in cholesterol. Well, that’s a good choice, especially if you know you wouldn’t be able to resist just taking a moderate amount. But one thing that you must bear in mind is that not all cholesterol is bad. There is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. Obviously, the good one has a lot of benefits in the body. Another thing that you must bear in mind is that there are foods that actually lower cholesterol levels in the body. And some foods increase the level of cholesterol in the body. Today we’ll just be looking at foods to eat on a low cholesterol diet.
So because many people have an idea of the harm cholesterol can do in the body they try to stay away from it. One of the things that people do is to opt for a low cholesterol diet. On this diet, the aim is to opt for foods that would help reduce the level of cholesterol. And stay away from foods that can cause an elevation level in the body. So what are these foods? Well, we’ll be taking a look at a list of foods that are great for a low cholesterol diet. We will also be taking a look at tips on how to lower cholesterol levels in the body. Keep reading if you want to find out all these.
What is Cholesterol?
This is actually an essential substance needed by the body. But people also consume this substance in foods. So as mentioned before there is the good and the bad cholesterol. When it’s in normal levels in the body it’s quite beneficial in the body. But when it becomes too high then it becomes a problem. This substance when in too much concentration in the body increases the risk of a person having a heart attack.
Cholesterol is actually quite essential in many cells in the body. It’s very important for the production of hormones, digesting food and also producing vitamin D. It is also waxy and has a fat-like appearance.
There are actually two types of cholesterol. And they are LDL and HDL. Low-density lipoprotein is LDL and it’s the bad cholesterol. While HDL is high-density lipoprotein. It’s the good cholesterol in the body.
Cholesterol is known to have 4 major functions in the body. And they are:
- Contributes to the cell wall structure of cells
- Helps the body produce vitamin D
- It makes up the digestive bile acids found in the intestine
- Helps in the production of certain hormones in the body
So as mentioned earlier, there are certain foods that can help in lowering cholesterol level in the body. Let’s take a look at them.
Foods To Eat On Low Cholesterol Diet
They are also referred to as pulses. This is a group of plant foods such as lentils, peas and beans. They contain a lot of fiber, protein, and minerals. So opting for more of legumes instead of processed meats and refined grains is one great way to lower cholesterol levels. According to a study carried out, legumes helped lower the level of bad cholesterol in the body.
This is a nutrient-dense fruit. It’s a great source of fiber and monounsaturated fats. And these two nutrients actually help lower the level of bad cholesterol and increases the level of good cholesterol. According to clinical studies it has been found out that cholesterol actually helps lower the levels of cholesterol in the body.
Nuts such as walnuts and almonds
These are also nutrient-dense foods. There are rich in monounsaturated fats. Walnuts, for instance, is rich in omega-3 fatty acid. This nutrient is great for improving heart health. Also, almonds are rich in the amino acid L-arginine. This amino acid is actually responsible for the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps in the regulation of blood pressure. Another good thing about nuts is that they provide phytosterols. And these compounds are actually quite similar to cholesterol. At the same time, they help lower the level of cholesterol in the body.
This is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty fish like mackerel and salmon help boost heart health. And they do this by increasing the level of good cholesterol in the body. This helps lower inflammation in the body and also reduces the risk of having heart problems. Make sure that when cooking your fish you either stew it or steam it. Frying it would increase the risk of you having heart diseases.
Opting for whole grains such as barley and oats helps reduce the risk of having heart disease. They provide vitamins and minerals that are great for heart health. Oats are known to be one of the best whole grains for heart health. They contain beta-glucan. And this helps reduce bad cholesterol by about 7%. Barley also contains the same compound and is effective for lowering bad cholesterol.
There are many fruits that are rich in fiber. And this helps in the lowering of cholesterol levels. What it does is that it helps get rid of cholesterol in the body. And then prevents the production of this substance in the liver. Pectin which happens to be a soluble fiber found in fruits helps lower cholesterol levels by about 10%. The best fruits to opt for are berries and grapes. While reducing the level of bad cholesterol they help increase the level of good cholesterol.
So the main ingredient in dark chocolate happens to be cocoa. And according to research cocoa helps lower bad cholesterol in the body. It also helps increase the level of good cholesterol in the body and decreases blood pressure. Opting for cocoa alone would be the best option for you. Dark chocolate is a good source of cocoa but it’s high in added sugar. And that, of course, is in no way good for the body.
Now that you know the list of foods that can help lower cholesterol in the body you wouldn’t have a problem adding it to your diet. To reduce the risk of having heart disease, opt for these foods to eat on a low cholesterol diet.