Superfoods that Naturally Lower Cholesterol

Superfoods that Naturally Lower Cholesterol

Cholesterol is an important element in our bodies. It’s used in the body to make vitamin D, hormones and to support digestion. The liver generates cholesterol, but it can also be found in some foods. The two main types of cholesterol are low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). When it comes to LDL vs. HDL cholesterol, there’s a huge contrast. Cholesterol is transported through the body inside lipoproteins, and they’re made of fat and proteins.

LDL is referred to as “bad cholesterol” because it takes cholesterol to the arteries. This leads to a build-up called atherosclerosis which may lead to a stroke or heart attack. HDL (good cholesterol) gets rid of excess cholesterol by transporting it to the liver. The following are some of the superfoods that naturally lower cholesterol:

1. Nuts

They are nutrient-rich foods especially walnuts and almonds. Nuts are dense in L-arginine that produces nitric acid, which regulates blood pressure. They also help prevent cholesterol from being absorbed into the intestines by producing phytosterols. Consumption of nuts reduces the risk of heart disease by 28%.

2. Legumes

There are a lot of proteins, fiber and minerals present in legumes. They include foods like peas, lentils, and beans, which lower the risk of heart disease. Replacing processed meats with legumes lowers LDL cholesterol.

3. Fatty fish

Most preferably salmon and mackerel, provide long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3s increase HDL cholesterol, therefore strengthening heart health. They also help reduce the risk of a stroke and inflammation. Fish protein contains peptides that help lower the risk of heart problems.

4. Avocados

Being one of the most nutrient-dense fruits, avocados are good for lowering cholesterol. They produce lots of monounsaturated fiber and fats, the nutrients that increase HDL and lower LDL cholesterol.

5. Whole grains

Whole grains, especially oats and barley, reduce the risk of heart disease. Whole grains contain more minerals, vitamins and plant compounds. Oats and barley contain beta-glucan which helps with reducing LDL cholesterol.

6. Vegetables

Vegetables are very rich in antioxidants and fiber. They contain few calories hence they are vital in any heart-healthy diet. Some vegetables like eggplants and okra contain high amounts of pectin which is a cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber.

7. Garlic

Garlic is a popular ingredient in cooking and also in making medicine. It mainly contains allicin among other powerful plant compounds. Garlic helps with lowering blood pressure, and also it may reduce LDL cholesterol when taken in large amounts in the form of aged supplements.

8. Fruits and berries

A variety of fruits contain soluble fiber, which helps with lowering cholesterol levels. It stops the liver from producing cholesterol and encourages the body to get rid of it. There are also bioactive compounds in fruits which help with preventing cardiovascular and chronic diseases. Adding more berries and grapes to your diet will help in the reduction of LDL cholesterol and an increase in HDL cholesterol.

9. Extra virgin olive oil

Extra virgin olive oil has a 30% lower risk of heart diseases, hence it’s an important part of a heart-healthy Mediterranean diet. It contains monounsaturated fatty acids that increase “good” HDL cholesterol and reduces “bad” LDL cholesterol.

10. Tea

It contains two vital compounds. Catechins which help with activating nitric acid, hence inhibit cholesterol synthesis. The other compound is Quercetin which lowers inflammation and improved blood vessel function. Tea lowers “bad” LDL cholesterol.

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