Following are the 11 food items which help in lowering the cholesterol levels, and hence people with high cholesterol must eat them:
1.Whole grains especially Oats and Barley:
Oats and Barley are rich in a type of fiber known as beta-glucan, which helps in lowering cholesterol. Beta-glucan, when taken in your meal, forms a gel which binds the cholesterol and bile (made from cholesterol) in the intestines. This helps in restricting the amount of cholesterol that is absorbed in the blood. The liver has to take more cholesterol from the blood, thereby reducing the blood cholesterol.
2. Fruits, Vegetables (especially green leafy vegetables) and Vegetable Oils (like olive oil):
Fruits are a great and important component of heart healthy diet. Fruits are rich in pectin, a type of soluble fiber which helps in lowering the LDL. Fruits also have bioactive compounds that help prevent heart diseases and other chronic diseases. Fruits and vegetables can be fresh, tinned, frozen or dried. Plenty of fruits and vegetables are an important component of low cholesterol diet. Vegetable oils such as canola, sunflower, safflower are way better than butter and hence must be preferred over butter.
3. Eggplant and okra:
Eggplant and okra are good source of soluble fibers, which helps in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.
Nuts have lots of nutrients in it. Eating almonds, walnuts, peanuts, and other nuts are good for heart. They help in lowering LDL and also help the heart in numerous other ways. Apart from lowering the cholesterol level, other benefits of nuts are reduced blood pressure and lowering the risk of heart diseases.
5. Soya beans and soya foods:
Soya beans and soya foods are great in keeping cholesterol levels down. Switching from regular meat and dairy products to soya alternatives is advisable for people with high cholesterol levels.
Fishes are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 strengthens heart health by increasing good cholesterol levels and lowering the risks of inflammation and stroke. However, you must keep in mind that the best way to cook fish is steaming or stewing. Fried fish may in fact increase the risk of heart diseases and stroke.
7. Legumes or Pulses:
Legumes or pulses are the plant foods that include beans, peas and lentils. They contain lots of fiber, minerals and proteins. They can lower the risk of heart diseases and also lower the LDL bad cholesterol.
Avocados are a rich source of monounsaturated fats and fiber, which help lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise good cholesterol (HDL). They are a good diet element for over-weight and obese adults.
9. Dark chocolate and cocoa:
Cocoa is one of the main ingredients of dark chocolate. Both dark chocolate and cocoa can lower the levels of bad cholesterol. However precaution must be taken while having chocolate, which is high in sugar, which can adversely affect the heart health. And therefore dark chocolate must be taken in limited quantities only.
Garlic, which is usually used as a common food ingredient and also as a medicine, helps lower blood-pressure and LDL bad cholesterol.
Tea possesses numerous plant compounds like Catechins and Quercetin that improve heart health. While Catechins helps in maintaining healthy blood pressure and helps prevent blood clots, Quercetin helps improve blood vessel functions and lower inflammation.