Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the fats in your blood. While your body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells, too much cholesterol can lead to a buildup of plaque in your arteries, increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke. To reduce your risk of these life-threatening illnesses, it’s important to include cholesterol-busting foods in your diet. Here are four foods that can help lower your cholesterol levels:
- Oats: Oats are a great source of soluble fiber, which helps to lower cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber binds with bile acids in the gut, which are made from cholesterol. This binding process helps to remove bile acids and cholesterol from the body. Oats also contain beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber that has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol levels, the « bad » cholesterol.
- Nuts: Nuts are a great source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which can help to lower cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that eating a handful of almonds, walnuts, or other nuts each day can reduce LDL cholesterol levels by as much as 5%. Nuts are also a good source of protein and are low in saturated fat, which is the type of fat that can raise cholesterol levels.
- Fish: Fish, particularly fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines, are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s have been shown to lower triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood that can contribute to heart disease. They also help to decrease the risk of abnormal heart rhythms and lower blood pressure, which can help to reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Plant Sterols: Plant sterols are naturally occurring compounds found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains. They have been shown to lower cholesterol levels by blocking the absorption of cholesterol in the gut. Plant sterols can be found in fortified foods such as margarine, orange juice, and cereal. They also can be found in supplements, but it’s important to consult with your doctor before taking any new supplement.
In addition to eating these cholesterol-busting foods, it’s important to make other healthy lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of heart disease. This includes quitting smoking, getting regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight. By making these changes and incorporating these foods into your diet, you can help to lower your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of life-threatening illness.
It is worth mentioning that, It is important to seek guidance from a healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet or taking supplements. They can help you develop a personalized plan that takes into account your individual health needs and goals.
In conclusion, Eating foods that are high in fiber, healthy fats, and plant sterols can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Incorporating oats, nuts, fatty fish, and plant-sterol-fortified foods into your diet can provide a number of health benefits and help to keep your cholesterol levels in check. Remember to always seek guidance from a healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet.