There is always a risk of increasing cholesterol due to an unbalanced diet and not taking enough nutrients. Cholesterol is a wax-like substance, which is found in every cell of the body. The brain and nervous system are completely dependent on cholesterol.
Cholesterol helps in the formation of hormones, vitamin D and other substances. It also helps in digesting food. As long as its level in the body is balanced, it is beneficial. At other hand, its increasing quantity may cause many health problems such as diabetes and heart diseases. [Trusted Source 1]
There are two types of cholesterol —
- Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL or bad cholesterol)
- High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL or good cholesterol)
Eating high-fat foods in high cholesterol may trigger LDL or bad cholesterol levels in your blood. It is known as high cholesterol, hypercholesterolemia or hyperlipidemia.
When low-density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol level starts to increase, high-density lipoprotein or good cholesterol level decreases. Due to low levels of good cholesterol, the coagulation of fat in the blood vessels starts, which causes obstruction of blood flow. If the blood flow is not in a proper way, there is an increased risk to the heart and brain.
Your body makes cholesterol as per requirement, apart from this you also get cholesterol from your diet. So you should know what to eat and what not to eat when having high cholesterol problem. Apart from this, you should also know what things should be avoided in high cholesterol and what should not be avoided.
Risk Factors of Having High Cholesterol Level
Many types of problems can be faced if the amount of cholesterol in the body is high; including [Trusted Source 1] —
- When cholesterol is increased in the blood, it combines with other elements in the blood to form plaque. This plaque sticks to the walls of the arteries. This leads to the problem of atherosclerosis, in which arteries begin to shrink or are blocked. This condition is not good for the heart.
- Reduced blood flow to the heart muscle can cause chest pain or even heart attack.
- Blood does not reach the brain and other organs due to clotting in the arteries. This can lead to arterial disease, stroke, and cardiovascular problems.
What to Eat to Reduce Cholesterol?
The question of what to eat in cholesterol often comes to everyone’s mind. Here we are talking about the diet to reduce cholesterol. It may include —
1. Fruits :
Many types of fruits are low in fat, sodium and calories, as well as they have zero cholesterol. Fruit has been considered the main source of many essential nutrients such as potassium, fiber, vitamin-C and folate (folic acid). [Trusted Source 2]
According to a research published on the website of National Center for Biotechnology Information, the nutrients present in the fruit can help to reduce cholesterol.
Fiber is the major component in these nutrients. Apples, kiwis, mangoes, pineapples, pomegranates, watermelons, grapes, oranges, plums, strawberries, bananas, peaches and pears are considered good sources of fiber. [Trusted Source 3] [Trusted Source 4]
2. Vegetables :
Nutrients like fiber can help in controlling cholesterol levels in the blood as well as helps to increase good cholesterol levels.
You may also include lycopene foods into your diet. Lycopene is a carotenoid pigment that is responsible for giving vegetables and fruits their red color. They may include tomatoes, watermelon, grapefruit, papaya, red cabbage, and red bell peppers. Studies are conflicting as to whether these foods reduces LDL cholesterol or not. Some studies report a 10-17% reduction while other studies find no difference. [Trusted Source 5] [Trusted Source 6] [Trusted Source 7]
3. Whole Grains :
It is known to reduce many types of physical problems. It can be effective in reducing the level of cholesterol and removing the problems caused by it.
Fiber is found in good quantity in whole grains. It can help to reduce the level of cholesterol present in the blood. [Trusted Source 9]
Also, according to a research published on the NCBI, certain nutrients, including fiber, are potentially found in whole grains. These nutrients can help to reduce harmful LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol. [Trusted Source 10]
4. Dairy Products :
Many foods made from milk are considered effective in reducing cholesterol.
According to a scientific research published on the NCBI website, phytosterols are found in low-fat milk. It can be beneficial in reducing serum cholesterol levels as well as reducing LDL levels by 8 percent.
Further research has found that yogurt can help to reduce total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels by 7.2 and 10.3 percent, respectively.
Studies suggest that these products may help to reduce cardiovascular risk by lowering serum cholesterol levels. [Trusted Source 11]
5. Protein :
When talking about controlling cholesterol, protein has been considered very useful.
One research used whey Protein for about twelve weeks on seventy men and women. This research found that there was a decrease in the total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels present in the blood by the 12th week. [Trusted Source 12]
In addition, according to an another study, plant foods are major sources of protein. They comprise 57 percent of the daily protein.
6. Nut and Seeds :
According to research published on the NCBI website, nuts and seeds contain unsaturated fat and other bio-active compounds as well as many other nutrients.
Research found that nuts and seeds contain unsaturated fat, fiber, antioxidants and phytochemicals, which can lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels.
7. Herbs and Spices :
Research conducted in Chennai found that herbs and spices have anti-hypercholesterolemic, antioxidant, anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties found in it can help to protect against diseases like diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and cancer.
Antioxidant and anti-hypercholesterolemic properties can help to increase HDL levels by lowering bad cholesterol.
8. Beverages :
The polyphenols and antioxidant properties found in it may be beneficial in reducing the level of cholesterol present in the blood, but no effect of black tea on cholesterol has been observed. [Trusted Source 16]
9. Healthy Fat :
Two types of fat have been considered, polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat. Polyunsaturated fat is found in vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds. Eating moderate amounts of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats in place of saturated and trans fats is healthy.
Polyunsaturated fat can help to reduce bad cholesterol or LDL. Polyunsaturated fat contains omega-3 and omega-6. It is considered essential for brain functioning and cell growth.
Polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat are found in walnuts, sunflower seeds, olive oil, corn oil, soybean oil, canola oil, peanut oil, saffron oil, red meat, butter, cheese, and whole-fat dairy products. [Trusted Source 17]
Foods to Avoid in Cholesterol
If anyone is troubled by the problem of increasing cholesterol, then the following substances should not be consumed at all. [Trusted Source 14]
a] Limit the Amount of Salt :
Salt means one should try to limit the intake of sodium. Not more than 2,300 mg (about 1 teaspoon of salt) should be eaten in a day. [Trusted Source 18]
Limiting salt will not lower cholesterol, but it can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases by helping lower blood pressure.
b] Limit the Intake of Cholesterol-Enhancing Food :
Cholesterol levels should be less than 200 mg a day. Cholesterol is high in meat.
In addition, egg yolk, lobster and dairy products may have higher cholesterol. Therefore, they should be consumed in limited quantities.
c] Do Not Consume Alcohol :
Additional Dieting Tips for Cholesterol
Apart from cholesterol diet food chart, some changes in lifestyle can also be very beneficial to reduce cholesterol. Those measures are as follows —
- A healthy lifestyle can change your cholesterol. Exercising daily is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.
- Eat fiber-rich food. A diet rich in fiber can help to prevent cholesterol from rising.
- Eliminating the habit of smoking can also make your lifestyle healthy and can help to reduce the effects of cholesterol.
- Good and healthy diet helps to overcome the problem of cholesterol as well as other problems. Therefore, follow a balanced and nutritious diet daily.
In this article of cholesterol diet plan, you have learned how you can reduce cholesterol by including some things in your diet and what things should be avoided in increased cholesterol.
Keep in mind that not everyone’s health is the same, so to avoid cholesterol, what to eat and what not, you must ask a dietitian once.