Food has a tremendous impact on our bodies. While good food choices keep us healthy and lively, bad ones can put us at risk of various health conditions. Interestingly food is also the cure to those health conditions, with high cholesterol levels one among them. While cholesterol is an essential compound for proper body functioning, its excess can put you at risk of heart diseases. Cholesterol can be classified as HDL and LDL. HDL (often known as good cholesterol) keeps the heart healthy and boosts immunity. Whereas LDL, also known as bad cholesterol, is responsible for plaque formation, which can block the arteries and causes heart diseases.
There are various approaches for keeping the cholesterol levels up to the mark, and for this, you don’t need to look anywhere else but your kitchen pantry. Numerous diets are available that promise to lower LDL and boost HDL. Some of the popular high cholesterol diets are:
Mediterranean Diet: Not just any diet, it’s almost similar to a lifestyle change that takes you to the age-old traditions of the Mediterranean region. A typical Mediterranean diet usually involves freshly produced fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, lean meats, and olive oil. The diet cuts are all the saturated fats, refined grains & additives altogether. It is rich in fiber that helps lower your cholesterol levels. Moreover, it keeps your digestive system working and keeps you full for longer. The Mediterranean diet is flexible, adaptable, tastes good, and is a perfect choice for anyone trying to lower their cholesterol.
DASH Diet: While the DASH diet is primarily for lowering blood pressure, it is often recommended & practiced for lowering high cholesterol levels. It is somewhat similar to the Mediterranean diet as it’s also about eating fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats but limits the salt intake, sugar, sweets, and red meat to keep the blood pressure at optimum levels.
Vegan Diet: This plant-based diet is a blessing for your heart. Vegan food is full of essential vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber that support healthy cholesterol levels. While vegan diets can be nutritious, not all of their ingredients are healthy. The processed vegan ingredients used in cooking are high in sugar & sodium content and made with artificial ingredients that may contribute to high cholesterol levels. If you choose to go with a vegan diet, you must add as much fresh produce and unprocessed food ingredients as possible to your meals. Also, if you are suffering from other medical conditions, consult your doctor or nutrition expert before practicing a vegan diet to make sure it is safe for you.
Vegetation Diet Plan: Skipping meat from your diet is another way to lower your high cholesterol levels, as the significant portion of saturated fats comes primarily from animal products, which is responsible for high blood cholesterol levels. Vegetarian diets are low in total fat and saturated fat and high in fiber, which can help you lower your cholesterol. Do you know the other best part about a vegetarian diet? It is versatile, flavorful, tasty, and healthy.
Sample Diet Plan
A typical vegetarian high cholesterol diet plan goes as
Early Morning: Methi seed infused water with 2-3 soaked almonds or walnuts.
Breakfast: A bowl of oats porridge made in milk/ A bowl of sprouts
Mid-morning: Green tea/low-fat yogurt with an apple or guava
Lunch: 1 bowl Salad, cooked vegetables, dal with 2 chapati and brown rice
Evening snacks: Buttermilk/fresh lemonade/tea with 1 cup boiled black chana or khakhra.
Dinner: 1 bowl vegetable soup, 2 Bajra or Jowar roti, 1 cup cooked vegetables
Home remedies to reduce cholesterol you can adapt to bring down cholesterol levels:
Turmeric: This fabulous therapeutic spice is known to dissolve the cholesterol deposits or plaques from the arteries. It’s a versatile spice that you can add to your curries, vegetables, or milk to reduce LDL cholesterol levels. For best results, add half a teaspoon of turmeric into the water and have it first thing in the morning.
Garlic: It is probably one of the most commonly used ingredients in your kitchen. But did you know garlic is one of the effective ways to reduce cholesterol levels? Garlic has several active ingredients that give it the healing properties to cure various conditions, including high cholesterol.
Green tea: What if we say that regulating cholesterol levels is everyone’s cup of tea? It stands true when talking about green tea. It is so because green tea is rich in polyphenols that help lower LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol. Try to sip 2-3 cups of green tea a day to flush out the deposited plaques from the arteries.
Fenugreek seeds: Popularly known as methi dana, it is a medicinal spice that possesses antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. Rich in Vitamin E, fenugreek seeds contain saponins which help remove from the body, and their fiber reduces the cholesterol synthesis in the liver. Having a teaspoon of fenugreek a day is sufficient to counter cholesterol and its effects.
Amla: Amla is rich in amino acids and antioxidants, making it ideal for lowering cholesterol levels and reducing the damage due to oxidation. Have fresh amla or a glass of lukewarm water with a teaspoon of dried amla powder every day.
High cholesterol levels can pose a threat to your heart’s health. Incorporating the foods you already eat in a well-planned diet that focuses on mindful eating is all you need to control it.