Health Watch

How to lower bad cholesterol

Bad cholesterol is a pain, isn’t it? When was the last time you tried getting rid of bad cholesterol but only quit because the process was too difficult or expensive? Well, reducing bad cholesterol isn’t a straight forward and easy process that happens overnight. It requires complete dedication and time. But then, what if there are certain foods that can make the process much easier?
What is bad (LDL) cholesterol?
There are two types of cholesterol, bad (LDL) and good (HDL).
Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL) or bad cholesterol: Usually, around two-thirds of the cholesterol is transported by LDL particles. These particles are like ferries, which transport cholesterol to different body parts. If you have an excess of LDL in your bloodstream, these particles dump it in the arteries, causing blockages and even heart attacks. Many people refer to LDL as bad cholesterol for this particular ability of creating blockages. The only saving grace is that you can easily reduce the amount of LDL if you follow a regular fat-free diet.
Reducing Bad (LDL) Cholesterol:
LDL cholesterol can lead to blocked arteries, which can lead to heart disease, stroke and other arterial diseases like arteriosclerosis.
Let’s look at some foods that help you reduce LDL cholesterol naturally.
Oatmeal, oat bran & high-fiber foods:
Oatmeal is rich in soluble fiber, an agent known to reduce LDL cholesterol. Having only 5-10 grams of soluble fiber can help reduce LDL cholesterol. You can even eat one and half cups of cooked oatmeal, to get the right amount of fiber in your diet.
Fish and Omega-3 fatty acids:
Eating fish rich in omega-3 can be of great help in your quest to reduce LDL cholesterol. Some fish which contain the highest amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids include: Lake trout, mackerel, herring, salmon, sardines, halibut and albacore tuna.
Remember to grill or bake the fish to ensure that you don’t add unwanted fat to it. Other sources of omega-3 fatty acids include canola or ground flaxseed oil.
Almonds, walnuts and others:
Almonds, walnuts and other types of nuts help reduce LDL. As nuts are also rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, they help keep the blood vessels unclogged. It is recommended that you eat around 45-50 gms of nuts daily. By doing this, you can effectively reduce LDL cholesterol from your body.
Olive oil:
Olive oil is rich in anti-oxidants, which help reduce bad cholesterol. However, these antioxidants don’t reduce or flush the good HDL from the body. As extra virgin oil isn’t that refined or heavily processed it contains more antioxidants. In fact, the lighter the colour of the oil, the more processed it is.
5.    Stanol or sterol fortified foods:
There are many foods available in the market, which are enhanced with stanols and sterols (plant chemicals) that usually inhibit cholesterol absorption. Fruit juices, yogurt and some other foods contain added sterols, which can reduce more than 10 percent of the body’s LDL.
Apart from increasing the above-listed foods in your diet, there are certain precautions that you should take to ensure that you maintain a low LDL cholesterol level.
Avoid junk food:
Junk food contains many trans-fats that usually increase the LDL cholesterol level in the body. Thus, the best thing to do is avoid junk food.
Avoid sweets:
Sweets can increase blood sugar, as well as LDL cholesterol levels. If you are aiming to reduce the amount of LDL in your cholesterol, the best thing to do is avoid sweets.
Follow these tips to get rid of bad cholesterol and stay healthy and happy!

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