Cholesterol build up in the body can lead to many conditions – heart related diabetes, stress, stroke, high blood pressure etc. It is better to prevent cholesterol development in the body at early stage itself. Consumption of foods with low fat and no trans fat is first step and soluble fiber diet will help to prevent cholesterol accumulation in the body. Some of the common foods that help us to prevent bad (LDL) cholesterol development and improving good cholesterol (HDL) are below:
OATS: Nutrient recommendation of daily soluble fiber is about 25 to 30 grams per day. Start your day with soluble fiber. Have cereal for breakfast that contains oats or barley or whole grains. These cereals are rich with soluble fiber content, about 1 to 2 grams. To make it interesting add banana, blueberry, honey or strawberries to your cereal. Advantage of having this in the morning – reducing heart conditions.
OKRA: Also known as ladies finger or bhindi (Hindi) has about 3 grams of soluble fiber. Whether you have okra raw, make curry or stew or totally cooked it has lot of benefit for the body. The soluble fiber in okra help diabetics because of its ability to keep blood glucose levels stable. It also boosts immune system!
EGG PLANT: Some people do not like egg plant. However, it is such a good vegetable loaded with lots of medicinal values. It is rich in potassium, vitamin-C, vitamin B-6, phytonutrients and of course, fiber. Research shows that consuming egg plant (baked, cooked) reduced LDL level.
BEANS: Beans are rich in soluble fiber and protein. Advantage of eating beans is it feels that stomach is full for a longtime and people go for less snacking after eating beans. Beans are very versatile and have many varieties – Mung bean, black bean, green bean, cowpea, lentil, chickpea etc. One can prepare various dishes out of beans. Fiber and protein helps in heart conditions.
NUTS: Various types of nuts also give full benefit for the body. Peanuts, almonds, cashew, walnut, pecan, pine nuts, pistachio and other nuts are good for the heart. Eating nuts daily reduces LDL. Nuts have additional nutrients that protect the heart in other ways. Nuts are energy source of new plants as well as of humans.
VEGETABLE OILS: Instead of using fats like butter, lard or shortening for cooking it is better to consume canola, sunflower, olive oil or safflower oil. Canola and olive oils are rich with Omega -3 fatty acids. This increases good cholesterol level.
PLANT STEROLS AND STENOLS: “Eating sterol and stanol-containing foods is an easy way to lower your LDL cholesterol, which helps reduce the risk of heart disease,” says Ruth Frechman, RD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association (ADA). The molecular structure of sterols and stenols resemble cholesterol and in digestive system, they will come in way of cholesterol and prevent cholesterol’s absorption in blood. Thus, cholesterol washes away as waste from the body. Wheat germ, wheat bran, peanuts, vegetable oils (corn, sesame, canola and olive oil), almonds and Brussels sprouts contain plant stanols and sterols.
FRUITS & VEGETABLES: Eating fruits like blackberry, blueberry, cranberry, nectarines, guava, mango, papaya, carrot, avocado, apple, leafy vegetables, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce all have good soluble fiber. These fruits and vegetables help to reduce LDL cholesterol.
There are many other foods that help lowering blood cholesterol -food supplements containing soluble fibres, garlic, artichoke leaf extract, yarrow, ginger and turmeric to name a few. Avoid or reduce eating foods that contain high fat, clarified butter, white bread, transfats etc. – this will help body to build good cholesterol.