However much we debate about the health hazards of cholesterol-raising foods in the Indian context, there is a significant gap between thought and action when it comes to eliminating them from our diet. The Indian diet is rich in fatty foods and oil, which naturally puts us at more risk of heart disease as we grow older. The easiest action-step might be one of switching to healthier versions of foods we already take, to control the intake of cholesterol.
Given below are some foods to decrease cholesterol naturally.
Foods to reduce cholesterol naturally
Want to reduce your cholesterol levels naturally? Keep on reading below to know about these healthy foods to reduce cholesterol levels, naturally.
1. Swap canned soda with cold-brew coffee
Canned sodas can be surprisingly refreshing. However, the sugar content increases your risk of obesity, blood sugar, and cardiovascular episodes. Coffee consumption has been associated with lower incidence of cardiovascular diseases, as per a study by NCBI. It also states that coffee might even be good for your heart function if taken in moderation. Switch to a cold brew coffee that is light and tastes delicious without added sugar. Not only is it refreshing, it boosts your energy levels as well.
2. Swap chips with unsalted nuts
Chips contain saturated fats that can increase your LDL cholesterol. Consumption of peanuts, tree nuts, and walnuts have been associated with a 13%-19% lower risk of total cardiovascular disease. Moreover, it also lowers a 15–23% risk of coronary heart disease, as per an NCBI study. It has also been found that higher consumption of total and specific types of nuts was inversely associated with total cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease.
3. Swap white carbs with greens
White rice, pasta and bread are rich in starchy carbohydrates and can contribute to elevated blood sugar levels. It can thereby put you at a higher risk of heart disease. Green vegetables such as kale, broccoli, and spinach, are low in carbs and supply Vitamins A, K and C along with other nutrients and minerals to your body. They help lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation.
4. Replace vegetable oil with avocado oil
Vegetable oils such as sunflower oil, canola oil, soybeans oil are obtained with the help of chemicals. It is modified before it reaches the grocery stores. Vegetable oils are rich in polyunsaturated fats that our body is not meant to consume. They cause mutations in the cells and clog the arteries. Avocado oil has been linked to reducing LDL (bad cholesterol) and increasing HDL (good cholesterol) as it is rich in oleic acid, an unsaturated fat. Additionally, the oil has anti-inflammatory properties, which help prevent damage in the walls of arteries caused by plaque buildup. Harvard University states that replacing saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats leads to a decreased risk of coronary heart disease by 19%.
5. Choose dark chocolate over milk chocolate
The main ingredient, cocoa, contains flavonoids that help in lowering blood pressure and improving blood vessel function. An NCBI research suggests that eating chocolate a few times a week could reduce your risk of experiencing a heart attack, stroke, or chest pain by 11%. On the other hand, milk chocolates have less cocoa and more sugar which increases your blood sugar level and also has less flavonoids.
6. Swap red meat for high Omega-3 fish
Red meat such as beef, lamb, and pork are high in saturated fat which can increase LDL levels in your body. High LDL cholesterol levels can cause plaque buildup in the arteries, which can increase the risk of heart disease. On the other hand, fish that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Omega-3 fatty acids are important for heart health because they help to lower triglycerides, reduce inflammation, and prevent blood clots. They may also help to lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels.
7. Whole oats over commercial cereals
Whole oats are rich in fiber which helps to lower LDL cholesterol levels, by binding to cholesterol and carrying it out of the body. They also contain plant compounds called polyphenols, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. They may also protect us against heart disease.
Breakfast cereals are highly processed as they are often packed with added sugar and refined carbs. They do not contain as much soluble fiber as whole oats.
8. Replace cow milk with soy milk
Soy milk is touted to be an excellent source of potassium which maintains blood pressure and lowers cholesterol levels. NCBI states that 25 grams per day of soy protein, like that found in soy milk and tofu, may reduce your risk of heart disease.
Cow’s milk is relatively high in saturated fat, which can contribute to high cholesterol levels and an increased risk of heart disease.
Moreover, soy milk can commonly be used as an alternative to cow’s milk for people who suffer from lactose intolerance.
9. Whole fruits over cold juice
Whole fruits contain dietary fiber, which is important for heart health as they can help lower blood cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, and improve digestive health. Cold-pressed juices have lower fiber content as the process of juicing removes the fiber-rich pulp and skin from the fruit. Due to the lack of fiber in juices, sugar is absorbed more quickly into the bloodstream. This can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels.
Whole fruits are typically lower in sugar and calories than cold-pressed juices. Fruit juices can be high in natural sugars, contributing to weight gain and increasing the risk of heart disease.
Additionally, you can also take supplements to lower your cholesterol levels. TrueBasics Heart Omega-3 is made from India’s first clinically researched Antarctic Superba Krill Oil. It is proven to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels by up to 33%, after 26 weeks of daily dosage.
A balanced, nutritious diet is just a few swaps away. You need to weigh your options carefully and switch to foods to reduce cholesterol, naturally! It’s time to pave your way into a healthier life!