Nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashew help in keeping cholesterol in check. Source: Erich Ferdinand/Flickr
High cholesterol is a cardiovascular disease that affects several people across the world. The most common causes include imbalanced diet, sedentary lifestyle which is further compounded by lack of active exercise. A high cholesterol count in the blood paves the way for a host of ailments like clotted arteries, stroke, besides putting you at direct risk for heart attacks, coronary heart diseases which can ultimately weaken the heart. Once detected, cholesterol levels are kept in check through medication. Dietary modification also plays an essential role. Apart from a diet that’s low in saturated fats like cheese, red meats, cream, butter, it is essential to include certain foods in your regular diet that can help with overall reduction of cholesterol.
Foods rich in soluble fibre like aubergine, citrus fruits, sweet potato help keep cholesterol levels in check. Recent research suggests that their consumption causes a small, but significant fall in cholesterol levels and LDL levels. Including more veggies in your diet can go a long way in keeping your cholesterol count at an optimum.
Whole grains like oatmeal or regular rolled oats have long been hailed as one of the best foods to keep cholesterol levels in check. Recent studies further substantiate that whole-grain oats are an excellent choice as a lifestyle management program and the benefits go beyond total cholesterol and bad or low density cholesterol (LDL) reduction. The advantages include lower risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and weight gain plus nutrients that help keep the cardiovascular system healthy.
Cooked beans and legumes are your best bet when it comes to reducing the bad cholesterol. In fact, studies have shown that a daily serving of legumes over a duration of six weeks brought about a 5 per cent reduction in bad cholesterol levels. A single serving constitutes about three-quarter cup of cooked legumes including chickpeas, kidney beans and black beans, mung beans, among others.
Nuts like almonds, cashew, pecan and even peanuts are rich in nutrients like protein, soluble fibres, and a host of micronutrients. Most notably, they have plant sterols, that according to studies, helps a great deal with bringing down cholesterol levels simply by blocking the absorption of cholesterol from the food consumed. These sterols are present in smaller amounts in nuts, and daily consumption (about three servings) is advised for best results, but make sure these are always unsalted.