There is a wealth of scientific evidence showing that a healthy diet can help heart health and improve cholesterol. These cholesterol-lowering foods don’t have to be hard to find or expensive. This is because the most important thing is that you have a commitment to live it.
If you don’t understand the ins and outs of cholesterol, or have tried various ways to regulate cholesterol, let’s understand the facts and complete guidelines for the following cholesterol-lowering foods:
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of fat in the blood that the body produces naturally. You can find Cholesterol in foods, such as eggs, seafood, and animal liver.
In normal levels, cholesterol is a substance that is important for the performance of the human body. In fact, cholesterol also plays an important role such as helping the digestion of food, hormone production and converting vitamin D into an active form.
However, if cholesterol levels are not controlled, it can increase the risk of heart disease. Cholesterol that is too high in the body can trigger the process of atherosclerosis, namely narrowing and hardening of the arteries due to the buildup of plaque on the walls of blood vessels. As a result, blood flow becomes disrupted, and eventually results in a heart attack or stroke.
High cholesterol shows no symptoms at all. Therefore, to find out a blood test must be done. From a blood test, it will be known several types of cholesterol and their levels in the blood. These various kinds of cholesterol are in the blood by a type of lipoprotein protein. Here are the two most common types of cholesterol to know about:
LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein): also called bad cholesterol because it can cause plaques that have the potential to clog blood vessels.
HDL (High Density Lipoprotein): also called good cholesterol because it functions to get rid of bad cholesterol in the blood vessels.
You may also often hear the term triglyceride, which is a type of fat in the body that is because there is leftover energy from food. To measure cholesterol levels in the body, usually both types of cholesterol (LDL & HDL) and triglycerides will be calculated as a benchmark to measure the risk to heart health.
Are Cholesterol-Lowering Foods Effective?
The effect of food on cholesterol levels has to do with the content of saturated fat, trans fat, carbohydrates, sugar, and cholesterol contained in food. The higher the consumption of these ingredients, the cholesterol levels also have the potential to increase.
Doctors and health experts also advise people with high cholesterol to choose foods that are high in fiber and vegetable fat content to control LDL levels in the body.
Food choices are also closely related to body weight which can be a risk trigger for heart disease. Being overweight will result in an increase in LDL, overall cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as a decrease in the good HDL cholesterol. Vice versa.
Keep in mind that cholesterol-lowering foods will also be more effective when combined with some lifestyle changes, such as exercising, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, and increasing your intake of supplements as recommended by your doctor.
1. Wheat germ and whole wheat
One of the easiest and most effective cholesterol-lowering foods is a bowl of oatmeal as a substitute for your breakfast. A serving of whole-grain breakfast can provide up to 1-2 grams of water-soluble fiber, which can be supplemented with fruits such as bananas or berries for extra fiber content.
Cholesterol-lowering foods that are rich in fiber, such as wheat germ, jali, and so on will be very helpful in meeting the daily fiber needs of 20-35 grams per day. As much as 5-10 grams of the count should be water-soluble fiber. Fiber serves to reduce the absorption of cholesterol into the blood vessels.
Nuts are also one of the cholesterol-lowering foods that are rich in water-soluble fiber. It is also take longer to digest. This means you can feel full longer and reduce cravings. Therefore, nuts are often a cholesterol-lowering food as well as effective weight loss.
There are many variations of beans that can be tried in your daily menu, such as lentils, almonds, walnuts, kidney beans, black beans, and peas.
A favorite fruit of millennials, avocados are a cholesterol-lowering food rich in nutrients and monounsaturated fats (MUFA). Research shows that the addition of 1 avocado per day can help heart health, especially in increasing LDL levels in the case of obese people.
You can eat avocados with cucumbers, or added to vegetable salads. A healthy diet like this is very good for you instead of eating avocado with chips, sugar or white bread.
4. Olive Oil
This oil is ideal as a substitute for good fat intake in the diet because it is high in monounsaturated fat. Olive oil also contains no trans fat and is lower in saturated fat than butter or butter. For a maximum cholesterol-lowering diet, try alternative vegetable-based cooking oils, such as canola oil, sunflower oil, and soy oil.
5. Fish and Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Fish that contain lots of oil and Omega 3 fatty acids are very effective in reducing triglyceride levels. While reducing the risk of blood pressure and blood clots. In patients who have already had a heart attack, a diet rich in Omega 3 fats can reduce the risk of sudden death.
Although Omega 3 fats do not directly affect LDL levels, their beneficial effects on heart health make them one of the recommendations by The American Heart Association.
The recommended serving is two servings of fish per week. Use the grilled or grilled method to get the best out of this cholesterol-lowering food. Some examples of fish as cholesterol-lowering foods include sardines, tuna, salmon, and trout.
6. Vegetables and fruits
Eating a variety of colorful vegetables and fruits is the best way to protect your heart and prevent cancer. This is because the content of soluble fiber in vegetables and fruits makes it a cholesterol-lowering food that can lower bad cholesterol.
In order to get the best benefits, consume vegetables and fruits with their skins, such as carrots, pumpkin, and orange/lemon peels in a thin salad mix. Also try uniquely colored vegetables like eggplant and okra.
Delicious cholesterol-lowering foods made from soybeans are very easy to get for the people of Indonesia. Call it tofu, soy milk, tempeh, and variations of edamame beans that are still in the soy family.
Research shows consumption of soy products can help reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, although not in very significant amounts. Prioritize natural soy products.
8. Plant sterols & stanols
Sterols and stanols extracted from plants help prevent the absorption of cholesterol from food into the body. These two substances are often in small amounts in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and cereals.
In order to get benefits, it is recommended to consume foods that have been fortified with stanol, sterols, and stanols. For example, butter, granola, orange juice, peanut butter, and chocolate. Some anticholesterol supplements also contain this substance which can lower cholesterol levels by up to 10%.
9. Herbs and spices
Unnecessary cholesterol-lowering foods that taste bland. Use herbs and spices such as basil, cilantro, rosemary, ginger, garlic, pepper, mint, and oregano leaves are also rich in antioxidants and help improve cholesterol levels. With the addition of these natural flavorings, the diet will also be easier to follow while also reducing artificial flavorings that are high in saturated fat.
10. Whey Protein
Whey protein or lactoserum is a liquid that is often left behind in the precipitation process in the manufacture of dairy products, such as cheese or yogurt. Studies show whey protein functions as a cholesterol-lowering food that can reduce LDL and total cholesterol and blood pressure. Whey protein is also often sold in ready-to-drink powder form, especially as a muscle-building supplement.