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A common health issue most people face these days is higher than normal cholesterol levels. But not all cholesterol is bad. High levels of good (HDL) cholesterol is exactly what you need to stay healthy, and increased amounts of bad cholesterol (LDL) can put you at risk of a number of serious ailments like heart disease. If your recent blood tests show that you need to work on lowering your cholesterol levels, here are 10 common foods that can help you do just that.
Sources of cholesterol
The cholesterol in your blood comes from two sources what your body synthesizes and what you consume through the diet. There may be nothing much you can do about the former but the latter is definitely within your control all you need to do is keep tabs on what you eat.
Fenugreek seeds are a rich source of steroidal saponins that help reduce the body s absorption of cholesterol coming in through the fat-rich foods we eat. Besides, researchers also speculate that these saponins may have a role to play in reducing the body s production of cholesterol. This, along with the fibre present in the fenugreek seed's coat makes methi a valuable weapon in the fight against high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. Apart from lowering your levels of bad cholesterol, methi can also help keep your skin and hair healthy.
How to use methi to lower your cholesterol levels:
Dry roast a tablespoon of methi seeds until they turn brown. Allow it to cool and then powder it. Now add one teaspoon of this powder to a glass of hot water and have this mixture once a day. Alternatively you could also sprinkle a little of this powder as you cook your meals.
Also called linseed, flaxseed is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids that have a protective action on your heart. Like fenugreek, these seeds also contain a lot of fiber that binds with cholesterol, preventing its absorption. The regular use of flaxseed is said to prevent the arteries from hardening due to the deposition of cholesterol; it also helps reduce the risk of coronary artery disease and hypertension. Flaxseeds also helps increase the concentrations of apolipoprotein A1 which forms HDL cholesterol. Read more why flaxeseeds are good for your health.
How to use flaxseeds to lower cholesterol levels:
Grind flaxseeds and have this powder first thing in the morning with a glass of warm water. You can also add the powder to your meal just before serving it or add it to your chutney.
Garlic has long been used in Indian kitchens as a part of various dishes, and now research shows that garlic reduces LDL cholesterol, prevents the rise of blood pressure and also prevents the deposition of plaque on arterial walls, reducing the chances of heart attack and stroke. This is because garlic contains sulphurous compounds that act as antioxidants and also help dilate blood vessels, keeping blood pressure at a normal level.
How to use garlic to lower cholesterol levels:
Crush a few cloves of garlic and have this with a glass of water on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning. If you would prefer adding it to your meals instead of eating it raw, make sure you avoid microwaving or boiling whole garlic cloves as this can destroy the activity of the vital constituents.
Onion contains a constituent called quercetin that is known to be a strong antioxidant; this means it can prevent the damaging effects of free radicals on human tissues. Researchers have linked quercetin of onions with increased levels of HDL cholesterol as well as low levels of LDL cholesterol. But that's not all, onions can help prevent hair loss too.
How to use onions to lower cholesterol levels:
Having a small piece raw onion as a part of your salad is a good way to reap its cholesterol lowering benefits.
Nuts such as almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts and walnuts are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids that help keep your arteries healthy. However, make sure you eat them without salt or sugar as they are healthiest when eaten plain. Apart from keeping your heart healthy, nuts collectively help cut down your risk of suffering from other serious ailments like cancer and respiratory ailments.
How to use nuts to lower cholesterol levels:
While it is okay to snack on a few nuts, eating too many may prove counterproductive because the fats in them can cause weight gain. So have a handful of nuts (an assorted mix is better) once a day for healthy heart and cholesterol levels.
Certain species of fish are a storehouse of the healthy omega-3 fatty acids that reduce LDL cholesterol and protect the heart. Herring (Hilsa), salmon, mackerel (choti samudri machli), sardines, halibut and lake trout are good sources of these fatty acids that help increase good cholesterol levels and their oil can help reduce the risk of diabetes.
How to use fish to lower cholesterol levels:
Whenever you have fish, make sure it is cooked either by grilling, steaming or baking it as any other form of cooking tends to sap the meat of its nutrients and adds to it's unhealthy fat content.
Oats are a rich source of fiber and beta glucan; when these act together they bring about a reduction in the overall levels of LDL cholesterol. Beans also contain a large amount of fiber and can help to reduce the quantity as well as the rate of cholesterol absorption from your diet. If you think eating beans leads to the formation of gas, here are 4 tips that will help you cook them without any such worry.
How to use oats and beans to lower cholesterol levels:
A good way to incorporate beans into your diet is to add both black and white rajma to your meals. As for oats, having it as a regular feature of your breakfast is a great way to help lower your cholesterol levels. To cook oats boil the required quantity in water and then mix it with milk or buttermilk.
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