Seven foods that help keep cholesterol under control

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There are two types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is commonly referred to as’ bad ‘cholesterol because it builds up in the arteries causing narrowing that restricts blood flow and can lead to heart attack or stroke, and high-density lipoprotein (HD), commonly referred to as’ good ‘cholesterol.  

High cholesterol can be inherited, but in many cases lifestyle, including exercise and diet, plays a big role in keeping cholesterol under control.

The best foods for lowering cholesterol:

1. Nuts

A recent study by the ‘American Journal of Clinical Nutrition’ that reviewed previously published research showed that regular consumption of pistachios and walnuts is an effective dietary strategy to reduce LDL, total cholesterol, and triglycerides.

Nuts contain a high percentage of monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fats, which have been shown to reduce the amount of harmful LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream. Monounsaturated fats also have an anti-inflammatory effect and reduce the degree to which cholesterol adheres to the walls of arteries, causing reduced blood flow, says sports dietitian Jennifer O’Donnell-Giles.

Still, nuts are high in calories, so be careful with your daily intake.

2. Quinoa

The researchers found that people who ate more whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and whole-wheat pasta over 12 months experienced a drop in triglycerides and an increase in HDL cholesterol levels as opposed to those who ate more refined carbohydrates.

Whole grains are rich in fiber, especially soluble fiber, which acts like a sponge that absorbs free-floating cholesterol in the bloodstream and carries it out of the body, thus playing a key role in lowering blood cholesterol,” says O’Donnell-Giles.

3. Apple

In the 2020 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study, 40 participants with mildly high cholesterol who consumed two apples every day for two months experienced some improvement in several risk factors for cardiovascular disease – including a reduction in total and LDL cholesterol levels.

4. Tofu

Studies show that a higher intake of plant proteins such as tofu, lentils, and seeds can lead to improved heart health, including lowering total and LDL cholesterol levels. On the other hand, consuming more red meat can increase triglyceride levels.

The more plants we consume, the higher our fiber intake, and as a result, the lower our cholesterol levels,” says O’Donnell-Giles.

5. Oats

Oatmeal is rich in beta-glucan, a form of soluble fiber that absorbs LDL cholesterol and expels it from the body, while also reducing triglyceride production, O’Donnell-Giles explains.

6. Avocado

A report in the Journal of Nutrition found that adults who ate one avocado every day for five weeks had lower levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol than when they did not consume avocados. Avocados contain monounsaturated fats, dietary fiber, and antioxidants such as lutein, making them good cholesterol-lowering food.

7. Blueberries

Higher intakes of anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants found in colored fruits, including blueberries, blackberries, dark grapes, and cherries, have been found to increase HDL cholesterol while lowering LDL. This is because anthocyanins have the power to reduce the activity of CETP, a type of protein that transmits cholesterol from HDL to LDL molecules.

By: Amber V. – Gossip Whispers

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