Have you done any research on your cholesterol level and how to lower it lately? If you just did, your mind is probably still hazy and confused about what you ought to really do and how you really should adjust your diet to lower your cholesterol. That’s perfectly understandable, inasmuch as the information on the Internet is perplexing as it is troubling. This much is true: most of what you’ve read are false and a significant portion will only try to get you to buy one of their cholesterol-lowering products.
With all the propaganda and brainwashing you’ve done, here’s the real deal on how to really lower your LDL, or bad cholesterol level and ultimately reduce the risk of heart diseases. This list is a transparent list of cholesterol-lowering foods backed by studies and research. And no, it doesn’t contain meat products—which make this list perfect for vegetarians and those who truly want to lower reduce their cholesterol.
Whole wheat grains have been linked to protection against obesity, ischemic stroke, atherosclerosis, and diabetes, but is there a basis for such claim? A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says so. An analysis of the benefits of wheat grains ultimately recommends that with 3 servings of whole grains in a day, the body is well protected against heart problems brought about by high bad cholesterol levels.
The cholesterol-lowering combatants are responsible for the ensured protection against cardiovascular diseases. One of these is fiber, which has the ability to de-clog the harmful toxins that get in the pathways of blood activity and digestion. Wheat bran, which is found in whole-grain kernels but is absent in processed wheat flour, help in curbing the ill and long-term effects of toxins in your body.
Other nutrients in whole wheat-based foods that help in lowering your cholesterol are oligosaccharides, plant sterols, saponins, and vitamin E, phenolic acids, tocotrieonols, selenium, phytoestrogens, and lignans. Each of these contributes in lowering your insulin level.
The problem now lies in where you can actually find wheat-based foods. Here a few wheat-based foods to lower your cholesterol level:
- Whole wheat bread
- Sprouted wheat berries
- Wheat pita bread
- Whole wheat paste
Omega 3-Rich Foods
Surely, you’ve heard of Omega-3 fatty acids before! For the past 20 years or so, you’ve been hearing of its highly commended quality of being good for the heart. But what exactly does it mean? Omega 3 fatty acids, found in plants and fish, have a twofold function: first, they lower bad cholesterol or triglycerides; second, they increase the good cholesterol or your HDL cholesterol level. Over years, studies have also shown that it helps in lowering blood pressure and the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease (as published in the Journal of Neuroscience, 2005).
Omega 3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in fish such as herring, sardines, and salmon. In fact, the American Heart Association has gone as far as to suggest that two servings of any of the mentioned in a week is food for the heart. Although you may well go overboard, this may adversely affect your weight management efforts. After all, these are also fatty fish.
Aside from fish, there are many plant-based foods that are rich in omega 3 as well. These are soybeans, flax seed, walnut, pumpkin seeds, tofu, and soy beans. Beware, however, of foods that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids but might not be best for you, such as cod liver oil and flax oil pills.
The impact of the oil you use in cooking your recipes is unfortunately not as heavily impressed as it should be. Because of this, people focus too much on eating the right foods—not on the right way of cooking it. This is where olive oil enters the picture. Olive oil has long been used in Mediterranean recipes, with the remarkable effect of a significantly lower rate of heart diseases among people who follow a Mediterranean diet than those who follow an American diet.
Olive oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids, which, as numerous studies have evidence, reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Although it has as much amount of calories as other types of oil, the monounsaturated fat helps in lowering bad cholesterol levels. It also contain plant sterols and stanols that are effective in lowering blood cholesterol. As a matter of fact, a study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry states that the matrix of nutrients, including monounsaturated fats, stanols and plant sterols, combine together to ultimately lower LDL cholesterol. The synergy of such nutrients is unique in olive oil.
A study in the Medical Science Monitor suggests that two tablespoons of olive oil daily can result in significant reduction of LDL cholesterol. This is supported by an experiment where 28 outpatients where given the same amount of olive oil daily.
Cranberries, Grapes, Grapefruits, and Blueberries
First of all, what do these fruits that make them such good cholesterol-lowering agents? The antioxidant compound pterostilbene, known for its ability of prevent cancer, is apparently just as effective in lowering your bad cholesterol. This is the result of a study made by a group of scientists in the USDA Agricultural Research Service. The research compared the cholesterol-lowering effect of ciprofibrate with pterostilbene. The result showed that by including cranberries, grapes, and blueberries in your groceries, you’re actually packing up on nutrients to help fight off bad cholesterol.
But this isn’t the only research that links these fruits to lower cholesterol levels. The combination of phytonutrients in grapes are also effective in protecting your body against cholesterol buildup and inflammation. This was the result of a study among postmenopausal women published in the Journal of Nutrition last August 2005.
Wheat-based foods, omega 3 fatty acids, olive oil, and purple fruits… what do all these have in common? Not only are they easy to include in your regular diet, they are also effective in lowering your bad cholesterol and empowering your body to live healthy!