The Ultimate Cholesterol-Lowering Diet Plan: Foods to Eat and Avoid
Are you experiencing elevated levels of cholesterol in the blood? Do you wish to lower your cholesterol and keep it in check with natural solutions? If you nodded along affirmatively, adopting the right dietary measures can help. Excess cholesterol in the blood may form deposits i.e. plaques that accumulate on the walls of the artery, thereby narrowing or blocking the artery. If the plaque ruptures, it can result in the development of a blood clot. Plaques and blood clots can reduce the flow of blood through the artery, thereby increasing the risk of various life-threatening health conditions. It makes you more prone to atherosclerosis, heart attack, stroke, peripheral arterial disease, and other cardiovascular conditions. Fortunately, following the right diet and lifestyle habits can help you lower the cholesterol levels in the blood. The guidance of certified dieticians and nutritionists can help you receive a customized diet comprising the best foods for reducing cholesterol and enable you to eliminate the worst foods for high cholesterol. So, you might be wondering what your diet plan for cholesterol management should be, aren’t you? Discover which foods can help and which foods to avoid to keep your cholesterol in check by reading this blog below.
10 Nutritious Foods to Eat to Lower Cholesterol
Here’s a list of foods to eat to reduce cholesterol levels in your blood.
Oatmeal, High-Fibre Foods and Whole Grains
Oatmeal is a healthy food to reduce your cholesterol levels. It contains soluble fibre, which lowers your LDL cholesterol levels. Soluble fibre helps minimize the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. Having five to ten grams or more soluble fibre daily reduces your LDL cholesterol levels. Eating one serving of oatmeal and breakfast cereal helps you have three to four grams of fibre. Besides oatmeal, kidney beans, pears, Brussels sprouts, and apples contain soluble fibre. You may add fresh fruits, such as berries and bananas, to your cholesterol diet plan for more fibre.
Whole grains also reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. They have all nutritious parts of the grain intact which supplies them with a healthy dose of minerals, fibre, plant compounds, and vitamins that refined grains lack. Barley is rich in beta-glucans that help reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol. Oats contain beta-glucan, a soluble fibre, that helps reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol.
Nutritious avocadoes are loaded with monounsaturated fats and fibre. These nutrients help reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) and boost good cholesterol HDL. Avocadoes are heart-healthy and help reduce bad cholesterol levels in obese and overweight individuals. So, add avocado slices to sandwiches and salads when following a health plan for cholesterol. Replace meats with avocadoes to lower cholesterol. The fruit also helps lower triglycerides, cholesterol, and LDL levels.
Legumes are abundant in fibre, protein, and minerals. Including them in your diet can help lower bad cholesterol. Prefer to replace processed meats and refined grains with legumes, such as lentils, beans, and peas. Enriching legumes in your diet helps lower the risk of suffering from heart disease markedly.
Use olive oil as a substitute for butter in your diet. Extra virgin olive oil is heart-healthy. It helps reduce the risk of several major heart conditions, such as heart attack and stroke. Olive oil is a good source of monounsaturated fatty acids that helps boost good cholesterol and reduce bad cholesterol. It also helps minimize inflammation, which is responsible for heart disease.
An age-old spice and healthy food that we add to regular cooking preparations is garlic. It is abundant in allicin, a prominent active compound, which helps reduce cholesterol greatly. Including garlic in your diet plan for cholesterol also helps reduce blood pressure and bad cholesterol significantly. Large quantities of garlic are necessary for heart-protective effects. So, include freshly crushed pieces of garlic in your regular food preparations.
Fruits and Berries
Nutrient-dense fruits and berries are heart-healthy foods. Several types of fruits are packed with soluble fibre, which helps reduce cholesterol levels. Eating fresh fruits helps your body get rid of cholesterol and prevents your liver from producing an excess of cholesterol. The soluble fibre called pectin helps reduce cholesterol by up to 10%. So, add pectin-abundant foods, such as citrus fruits, apples, strawberries, and grapes, to your cholesterol diet plan.
Bioactive compounds in fruits provide you with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that help prevent the risk of heart disease and chronic ailments. Adding berries and grapes to your daily diet helps minimize your bad (LDL) cholesterol and boost good (HDL) cholesterol.
Low in calories and abundant in antioxidants and fibre, vegetables are crucial for maintaining a healthy weight and overall good health. The high pectin content in some vegetables makes them the best foods for reducing cholesterol. So, add carrots, okra, potatoes, and eggplants to your cholesterol diet plan.
Dark leafy green vegetables contain lutein and other carotenoids that help reduce the risk of heart disease. Carotenoids act as antioxidants to eliminate harmful free radicals from the body and prevent the hardening of arteries. Devouring dark leafy greens may help in reducing cholesterol. It makes your body excrete more cholesterol. Lutein also helps reduce bad cholesterol and prevent it from binding to artery walls.
Soybeans are quite beneficial for the heart and overall health. Soy foods can minimize bad cholesterol and increase the levels of good cholesterol in the blood. It’s highly recommended for people with high cholesterol to eat soy foods.
Walnuts and almonds are nutrient-dense foods that are rich in monounsaturated fats. Walnuts are also abundant in omega-3 fatty acids that help improve heart health. Almonds are also packed with L-arginine, an amino acid that helps your body make nitric oxide. This aids in regulating blood pressure. Nuts also supply your body with phytosterols, which are plant compounds that help reduce cholesterol by blocking its absorption in the intestines. Magnesium, potassium, and calcium found in nuts help minimize blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. Daily moderate intake of nuts helps reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol and minimize the risk of both nonfatal and fatal heart disease significantly. As nuts are high in calories, eating a handful of nuts is sufficient for lowering cholesterol and enjoying good health.
Fatty Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, fatty fish is a healthy food to minimize your triglycerides. It also helps lower your blood pressure and reduces the risk of developing blood clots. In individuals who already had heart attacks, omega-3 fatty acids help lower the risk of sudden death. DHA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid, helps boost the levels of good HDL cholesterol. Omega-3 fatty acids do not affect the levels of LDL cholesterol. However, these healthy acids have outstanding heart benefits. So, you may eat fatty fish, such as tuna, herring, trout, and salmon. Also, you may eat flax seeds, walnuts, and canola oil. Consult a dietician or doctor to help you eat these foods in the right quantities.
5 Foods to Avoid When Trying to Lower Cholesterol
While you eat the above healthy foods, you need to avoid eating certain foods that can be harmful to your health. Here’s a quick rundown of the foods to avoid when trying to lower cholesterol.
Foods High in Saturated Fats
Avoid the intake of meat, cookies, crackers, bakery food items, and other foods high in saturated fats. Saturated fats make your liver produce greater cholesterol. So, refrain from including foods abundant in saturated fats in your cholesterol diet plan.
Trans fats are harmful to your health. They are found in packaged snacks such as pastries, crackers, cookies, microwave popcorn, fried fast foods, certain types of margarine, doughnuts, cream-filled candy, and frozen pizza. These foods increase bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol. So, they are one of the worst foods for high cholesterol reduction. Avoid these foods containing trans fats for lowering cholesterol and improving cardiovascular health.
Foods with Excess Salt
Excess sodium can boost your blood pressure. It can increase your risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and stomach cancer. So, limit your intake of salt. Avoid eating canned soup, salty snacks, cured meats, pizza, cold cuts, and frozen foods.
Processed meats are high in saturated fats and cholesterol. So, avoid eating sausage, bacon, hot dogs, and other cuts of red meat to lower your cholesterol levels.
Excess sugar can be harmful. Although you may love sugary foods, they can cause undesirable weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and an increase in bad cholesterol. So, make sure that you avoid eating sugary foods when following a diet plan for cholesterol. Stay away from candies, ice cream, soda, cakes, cookies, and sweet tea.
Now that you know what to eat and what to avoid when trying to lower your blood cholesterol levels, follow these dietary measures. Consulting certified nutritionists, such as health experts at Health Total, can help you have a customised cholesterol diet plan comprising the right foods. Our diet plan not only helps you reduce your cholesterol levels but also eliminates nutritional deficiencies, boosts your immunity, and nourishes you with essential nutrients. So, waste no time, reach out to us at Health Total and stay hale and hearty with a personalized diet plan for cholesterol.
Sign up for a FREE consultation with Health Total experts to get more tips for keeping your cholesterol in check with your diet or managing any other health condition. Call toll-free at 1-800-833-171709 and Book Free Consultation!