Eat right to cut it

Eat right to cut it

Certain foods help regulate and maintain good cholesterol levels, and including them in your regular diet, while still enjoying other foods in moderation, would prove beneficial in weight loss, avows Dr Amrapali Patil .

 Adequate physical activity, quitting smoking and alcohol are important measures to lower the blood cholesterol levels. But more important is the food intake. There are certain foods, most of which are already in your kitchen or available at the local grocery, that help reduce cholesterol levels.

While there are many foods that lower the blood cholesterol level, the mechanism by which they work varies: 

n Some plant foods are rich in sterols and stanols. These obstruct and impair 

cholesterol absorption by the body.

n Some foods deliver soluble fibre, which binds cholesterol and its precursors in the digestive system. Before they hit the blood circulation, the soluble fibre throws them out of the body. 

n Some foods provide the body with Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acid (PUFA), which 

directly lowers LDL or the bad cholesterol.

Therefore, you would be wise to include a little of all the above kinds of food.

 

Here’s looking at foods that help cut your bad cholesterol levels most effectively. While these foods certainly help regulate and maintain good cholesterol levels, they do not give you the license to binge on fatty foods; moderation is key. 

n Multigrain flour - basically a mix of whole wheat, soy, oat bran, corn and barley - is an excellent source of fibre, which helps reduce LDL. At the same time, it is also a rich source of nutrients and vitamins.

n Apple cider vinegar is commonly used in aiding digestion and as a health tonic. Some clinical studies have shown that it can help reduce LDL. For this 

purpose it is to be consumed with equal parts of water. It may also be used as an alternative for oil in pickles.

n Brown rice is unpolished and, therefore, retains most of its fibre. It is also a good source of plant nutrients, vitamin B, selenium and magnesium. A cup of brown rice supplies about 14-17 percent of the daily recommended value for 

fibre. This high-fibre content helps lower blood cholesterol and regulate blood glucose levels.

n The fibre in oatbran helps 

collapse raised blood cholesterol levels. For people with diabetes or high blood cholesterol, it is advisable to consume about 1 1/2 cups cooked oatbran. 

n The fibre in broccoli lowers cholesterol by binding with bile acids in the digestive tract and excreting it through the faeces. Steamed broccoli, rather than raw one, is best for this purpose.

n Celery prevents oxidation of LDL 

cholesterol. This is because of its high 

antioxidant levels.

n Boil two tablespoons of coriander seeds in a glass of water. Strain the decoction. Let it cool. Drink as frequently as you like. For flavour, you can add a teaspoon of 

cinnamon powder. Cinnamon is also known to exhibit blood cholesterol and glucose normalising abilities.

n Cluster beans are extremely rich in fibre content, and therefore help regulate 

cholesterol levels with efficacy.

n Eggplant (brinjal) and okra (ladies 

finger) contain soluble 

fibre which, again, helps lower cholesterol level. 

n Fenugreek seeds, when consumed on a regular basis, have shown to lower total cholesterol, LDL and triglyceride blood levels. 

n Fatty fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel are a rich source of omega 3 fatty acid, which reduce triglyceride levels, increase levels of good cholesterol or High Density Lipoproteins (HDL), and thus regulate blood cholesterol levels.

n Fruits such as pear, apples, oranges and watermelon have been known to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood due to their high-fibre content.

n Green tea contains catechin polyphenols, which lower bad cholesterol levels and actually increase good cholesterol 

levels. Rich in antioxidants and zilch in calories, green tea is a superstar when it comes to health and lowering blood 

cholesterol levels. 

n Garlic contains allicin, which is known to lower total cholesterol, LDL and 

triglycerides levels by a good 10-12 

percent. Best to chew on a clove of garlic everyday, especially on an empty stomach early in the morning.

n Studies have shown that ginger reduces cholesterol, triglyceride and blood sugar levels. It also raises HDL levels.

n Husk of psyllium, also called isabgol, contains high levels of soluble fibre and is an adjunct to statins in lowering blood 

cholesterol levels. Studies show  that daily 

consumption of one to two teaspoons of psyllium lowers total cholesterol levels by 5-12 percent and LDL by 8-15 percent.

n Limonoids present in lemons is known to reduce the production of apo B, a 

substance associated with higher cholesterol levels. Along with vitamin C, lemons are a rich source of flavonoids, anti-

oxidants, which reduce LDL oxidation.

n Walnuts, almonds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds and flax seeds are rich sources of omega 3 fatty acids, fibre and other 

nutrients, which help in lowering blood cholesterol levels. However, don't indulge in more than a handful per day as they are calorie-dense foods. Avoid salted, pepper or chocolate-coated varieties and go for the plain ones.

n Bran oil is extracted from the rice bran layer and contains mono unsaturated fatty acids or MUFAs, shown to lower LDL. Don't overindulge though, just because it is healthy. 

 

(The writer is a weight management expert, founder and director, Trim N Tone)


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