It’s important to keep your cholesterol levels within healthy limits. If you have other risk factors for developing heart disease, you need to be even more careful — especially with your low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad,” cholesterol level. Here is a week plan to take a control over cholesterol in your body.
Eat oatmeal for breakfast. Whole oats are packed with heart-healthy dietary fibre and nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin E and iron. Oats are an excellent source of soluble fibre, which lowers cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease.
Snack on nuts. They are rich in unsaturated fats. Choose nuts that are higher in unsaturated (mono and poly) fats and lower in saturated fats. These include almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts and pistachios.
Increase your fruit and vegetable intake. They are rich in important nutrients, low in saturated fats and are cholesterol-free. They are also rich in fibre, which has a cholesterol-lowering effect. Aim to have at least five serves a day, and to eat a variety of different coloured fruits and vegetables each day.
Reduce your intake of unhealthy fats. Saturated and trans fats raise blood cholesterol levels. Trans fats are the worst, so limit your intake of processed and fast foods. Choose low-fat dairy products, healthy oils such as olive oil, and flaxseed oil instead of butter. Trim fat from meat and skin from poultry.
Cook with olive oil, a source of healthy monounsaturated fats. It has a higher oxidation threshold than most monounsaturated oils and remains stable at higher temperatures, so is more resistant to hydrogenation and the formation of trans fats. Monounsaturated fats help to lower total cholesterol levels.
Eat more garlic. Studies show that, as part of a low-fat diet, it can help reduce cholesterol levels - lowering levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and raising “good” HDL cholesterol. It also helps to thin the blood, which helps reduce the risk of heart attacks. Studies show countries that eat more garlic have lower rates of heart disease.
Eat more legumes. Legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, beans and peas are good for people with high cholesterol levels. They are low in fat and rich in nutrients such as B vitamins, iron and unsaturated fats. They are also a rich source of soluble fibre, which helps to lower cholesterol levels.