Keeping your health in check should always top your priority list, no matter the circumstances. And when we talk about health, know that there are four primary pillars- exercise, nutrition, sleep, and stress. When these four factors are doing well, your body does well. However, as vital as they are, there are some more critical health factors to keep track of, one of them being your level of cholesterol. Unfortunately, the cholesterol level continues to be quite an underrated area of thought among many people. More than 94 million Americans suffer from high cholesterol, which greatly hampers their overall health. That’s more than 20% of the total US population. This is primarily a nutritionally poor diet, which is a serious concern as it leads to several other heart issues. So, to help you tackle this issue, here’s a guide with some of the top foods you should be eating to lower your cholesterol. Let’s get started! You may wonder, what’s the worst thing that can happen if your cholesterol levels are on the extreme end. To answer the question, know that when you have high cholesterol levels, your body starts depositing an excessive amount of fat content in your blood vessels. This obstructs the blood vessels up to a great extent, resulting in a not-so-smooth flow of blood across the body. Disrupted blood flow is never good for your body as it creates a lot of issues, particularly to the heart. This is one of the fundamental reasons behind taking care of your cholesterol level and keeping it under control at all times. Let’s find out which foods contribute to that.
Fish, particularly fatty fish, is one of the most excellent sources of omega-3 acids, known for lowering cholesterol levels. Omega can effectively reduce the number of triglycerides present in the bloodstream, which keeps the heart protected. This is why fish is often recommended to people with a weak or stroke-prone heart. It can significantly increase the good HDL cholesterol while controlling the bad cholesterol and preventing the risk of strokes.
Whole grains are always good for health, and barley is no exception. The reason behind this is that whole grains keep all the essential nutrients intact. The vitamins, minerals, and fiber remain stored in whole grains like barley, making it nutritious. In addition, barley is high in beta-glucans, one of the important properties for lowering bad cholesterol. Last but not least, the presence of soluble fiber keeps the heart protected as well.
There are essentially two crucial nutrient requirements- monounsaturated fats and fiber to lower the level of cholesterol. And the good thing is that both these nutrients are packed in high quantities in avocados, making them a superfood for controlling cholesterol. Avocados are likely to show positive effects in lowering cholesterol within a period of just five weeks, which is quite impressive. So clearly, avocado is a must for those who find it challenging to control cholesterol.
Oats are easily one of the healthiest breakfast choices, irrespective of which health concern you wish to target. As mentioned previously, whole grains are packed with nutrients and are great for keeping the heart-healthy. Well, there’s another strong player under this umbrella, which is oats. Speaking of cholesterol levels, it also contains beta-glucan, which can significantly lower your cholesterol levels by 5%, making it one of the best foods for lowering cholesterol.
Garlic has been in medical use for centuries and has proven to be a cure for many illnesses. Therefore, its addition to any food makes the food tasty and nutritious. Moreover, it includes an active compound called allicin, which can lower bad cholesterol by up to 7%. So, keeping these numbers in mind, people struggling with high cholesterol are often guided to include a substantial amount of garlic in their food.
Many people tend to avoid nuts because they think nuts are too fatty and harmful for their health. It is important to know that nuts only contain good sources of fat, which are unsaturated fats, making them healthy and vital for lowering cholesterol. Nuts such as almonds and walnuts are high in monounsaturated and fatty acids, which, as we mentioned previously, are great for lowering bad cholesterol. They also tend to regulate the blood flow in the body, making them heart-friendly.
All in all, several foods encourage heart health while lowering bad cholesterol levels. In addition to the list of foods mentioned above, you may consider adding foods like lentils, apples, kale, okra, eggplant, etc., to your diet. Make sure you engage in regular exercise, sleep sound and control your stress levels to achieve sustainable health.