Cholesterol is a necessary evil. In its optimum quantity, it plays an important role in normal functioning of the body, but when its amount increases more than required, it passes on to the blood stream and creates quite a good ruckus for the health.
High levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream block the blood vessels and increase the possibility of heart diseases and stroke. But the good news is with a few lifestyle changes, all of us can manage the cholesterol well.
A healthy diet and exercise can help cut the level of bad cholesterol (LDL). Try adding following ingredients into your diet:
Red wine significantly lowers bad cholesterol levels. A study conducted by the Department of Metabolism and Nutrition at Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain has found that when a person consumes red wine, his/her LDL levels is decreased by 9 per cent.
This oil has tremendous health benefits as it contains antioxidants that can bring the level of LDL down without affecting the HDL level. Just about two tablespoons of oil in a day is enough to reap its benefits.
Flaxseed, Almonds and Nuts
One must consume flaxseed, nuts and almonds daily. About one teaspoon of flaxseed, 10 almonds and a few nuts are enough for a healthy body. Omega 3 fatty acids present in these products increase HDL. Fish is also a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids.
Consuming two to four fresh cloves a day does wonders for cholesterol. It lowers cholesterol, prevent blood clots, reduce blood pressure, and protects the body against infections. What’s more, when added to dishes, it tastes delicious.
Black tea is a great defense against bad cholestrol. One cup of black tea a day is good enough to keep bad cholesterol under check.
Guava leaf tea
Consuming two cups of guava leaf tea helps decrease bad cholesterol without affecting good cholesterol levels.
Eat more fibre-rich foods
Oats, oat bran, barley, peas, yams, sweet potatoes, legumes, beans (pinto beans, black beans, garbanzo beans) and peas are good sources of fibre. Vegetables rich in soluble fiber include carrots, beetroot, okra and eggplant, while among fruits berries, passion fruit, oranges, pears, apricots, nectarines, and apples are rich sources of soluble fibre.
Psyllium husks are seed grains sold as a soluble fiber supplement and laxative. Studies have shown that about three teaspoons of psyllium husk is effective in reducing bad cholesterol level in the body. One must take one teaspoon of this with water about 15 to 30 minutes before a meal.
One must indulge in at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. It helps control weight, and thereby, reduced the chances of developing conditions that may put a strain on the heart, like high blood pressure and diabetes. It also reduces stress, which is a major factor that causes heart disease.
In addition, one must also limit intake of foods full of saturated fats, trans fats, and dietary cholesterol. These kinds of foods include butter, fatty flesh like red meat, full-fat and low-fat dairy products, palm oil, and coconut oil. Also avoid egg yolks, organ meats and shellfish, as these contain dietary cholesterol.
And, QUIT SMOKING. Quitting might improve your HDL cholesterol level. And the benefits don’t end there. Within 20 minutes of quitting, your blood pressure and heart rate decrease. Within one year, your risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker. Within 15 years, your risk of heart disease is similar to someone who never smoked.