Some of the most common chronic diseases that affect millions of people all over the world these days include hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, and heart disease. High levels of cholesterol in the body are known as the primary cause of these diseases.
What is Cholesterol and how did it became dangerous?
Cholesterol is an essential part of every cell in your body, but its amount has to be regulated. Otherwise, cholesterol may crowd into the walls of the arteries, thus making it hard for blood and oxygen to flow freely throughout your body.
If you have high cholesterol levels, a diet consisting of cholesterol lowering foods will definitely benefit you. Remember that cholesterol is also important, so you cannot completely rule out high cholesterol food. The idea is to counter the effects of the high cholesterol and to make sure the level of good cholesterol is higher than that of the bad. All these can be achieved through a diet consisting of cholesterol lowering foods. But what exactly does that diet include?
Here are some of the most effective natural cholesterol lowering foods and how they can lower cholesterol levels:
Garlic is the most well-known natural herb that can lower cholesterol levels. Garlic contains sulfur-based compounds that can lower bad LDL cholesterol and raise good HDL cholesterol. However, since only 20% of your body’s cholesterol comes from your diet and the other 80% is produced in your own liver, garlic also inhibits the production of more cholesterol in the liver and helps the body excrete cholesterol to keep cholesterol levels regulated.
2. Fiber-rich foods
All foods that have high fiber content such as oatmeal are known as cholesterol lowering foods. According to recent studies, fiber can decrease cholesterol levels by 5 to 10 percent.
3. Phytosterol-rich foods
Phytosterol foods are those that contain stanol esters and plant sterol. These are compounds found in whole grains, vegetable oil, and many fruits and vegetables. Phytosterol helps lower bad cholesterol levels by preventing the body from absorbing cholesterol in the intestines.
4. Red yeast rice
Red yeast rice is an effective cholesterol lowering food, which is why it is now used to make over-the-counter cholesterol lowering supplements.
5. Herbs and spices
There are many herbs and spices that can help lower cholesterol levels. These include herbs like basil, yarrow, and artichoke as well as spices like ginger, rosemary, and turmeric.
Soybean is an excellent source of protein that does not increase cholesterol levels. Soybean, or soy protein, to be more specific, is a cholesterol lowering food that targets LDL cholesterol as well as triglycerides. You can enjoy the variety too; choose from soy milk, tofu dishes, soy nuts, soy yogurt, and other soy food products.
7. Orange juice
A daily glass of orange juice can help keep high cholesterol levels controlled, thanks to a study published in the year 2000. After 4 weeks of drinking orange juice daily, you can expect your HDL levels to increase by a 20% margin.
What About Commercial Cholesterol Lowering Medications?
While there are medications intended to help lower cholesterol levels, there is almost no need to go out and spend on such drugs because of the abundance of cholesterol lowering foods. But for serious cases, doctors may advise their patients to take cholesterol lowering supplements.