Low-cholesterol diet: Foods to Eat, Tips To Follow
Stroke, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease are now common among young people. Less exercise, consuming fatty food, and stress contribute to the rise in the numbers of young people affected by serious illnesses. Therefore, many turn to a healthier lifestyle by eating more fruits and vegetables. One of the best choices most noteworthy is low-cholesterol diet.
However, before discussing on low-cholesterol diet, you need to know about what cholesterol is.
Definition of Cholesterol: The Good and the Bad Ones
Cholesterol is defined as fat-like substance needed to produce hormones, vitamin D, and agents that assist you in digesting foods. Cholesterol is found in your body’s cell, but also found in the food you eat every day. It is traveled through the blood linked to proteins called lipoproteins. We know two main types of cholesterol:
LDL (low density lipoprotein) or we know it as bad cholesterol because it has a pretty high amount of cholesterol that can expand in arterial walls. Furthermore, It can raise the risk of developing stroke, heart attack, and cardiovascular disease. The lower your LDL level, the lower the risk you have to suffer from those diseases.
HDL (high density lipoprotein) or also known as good cholesterol as it can help lower risk of stroke, heart attack, and cardiovascular disease
Why Is Low-Cholesterol Diet Important?
Low-cholesterol diet is important as high-cholesterol leads you to suffer from stroke, hypertension, and heart attack. Therefore, you also need to have your cholesterol level checked regularly.
If your LDL level is above 190, it is very high. Doctors usually recommend a statin to stabilize your LDL level. Even if your LDL is lower than 190, you still need a statin. Your doctor will prescribe a percentage of the medicine combined with some efforts to maintain your cholesterol level through physical exercise, diet, and medication (in case you need it). It is after examining 10-year risk.
Foods That Help Lower Cholesterol
Now, you want to reduce your cholesterol level. But how? The answer is starting from what you eat. Watch what you have on your dining table is the most important step to have a healthier life. There are lots of choices that can substitute what you used to eat to help you lower your cholesterol.
Here are some amazing foods for low-cholesterol diet:
Oats and barley
You can start from your breakfast to reduce your cholesterol level. They are among the most perfect choices for your breakfast as they halt your body’s ability to absorb cholesterol. Consuming oats with at least 3 grams of soluble fiber can reduce LDL level and total cholesterol by 5 to 10 percent. Oats seem to be tasteless and boring. You can add berries, apples, or honey to make it sweeter.
Besides oat, you can switch white rice with brown rice, white bread to whole-grain bread can help lower your cholesterol.
Nuts (walnuts, almonds)
According to a research conducted by the Harvard Medical School, including nut in your diet may help lower your cholesterol level. However, be careful. Choose the unsalted ones to avoid hypertension.
Low-cholesterol food does not have to be boring. Indulge yourself a bit with dark chocolate. It has flavonoids, antioxidants that can decrease LDL levels. However, make sure you eat it moderately as it contains saturated fat and sugar as well. Do you like hot chocolate? Try unsweetened cocoa.
Black and green teas are rich in antioxidant properties that can lower your cholesterol level. However, green tea contains more antioxidants as it is made from unfermented tea leaves. Do not add sugar and cream to make your diet a success.
Fish is not only delicious, but also healthy. Salmon, sardines, and albacore tuna contain omega-3 fatty acid that can lower triglycerides in the blood. Grill or bake it, to make it healthy.
It is a plant-based oil, so it is the best choice if you want to get rid of your cholesterol level. You can sautee using olive oil, or use it as a salad dressing.
Apple (choose Granny Smith as it is rich in antioxidant agents that fight bad fat), pear,berries ( all types), oranges, and citrus lemons are rich in fiber that can speed up the success of low-cholesterol diet.
Tips To Follow
If you want to follow low-cholesterol diet, here are some tips you need to follow:
Limit animal-based products consumption
According to Vandana Sheth, RD, CDE, Los Angeles-based dietitian a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietics, you should restrict your meat and dairy consumption if you are planning to shrink cholesterol level, as most fats come from animal.
Know the difference between good and bad fats
Based on the American Heart Association recommendation, you should restrict fat consumption to 25 to 35 percent of your daily calories overall.
Keep focusing on good fats
Good fats are also known as unsaturated fats, which are liquid at room tempereature. Good fats are found in walnuts, fish, flax seeds, olive oil, canola oil, and so on. They offer prevention against heart disease.
Choose healthier cooking methods
If you like fried vegetables or fish, why do you not choose to bake or grill it? It is healthier than frying. Or if you want to fry, pan-frying or stir-frying is good to reduce fat.
Choose healthier substitute when cooking or making something
If you want to make a salad, choose lemon juice or vinegar instead of salad dressing. Also, If you want to make a toast, use margarine instead of butter.
What to expect?
If you follow this guidance correctly, you can see the result in two months. However, the effect will vary, depending on an individual’s former eating habit, family history/genetics, weight, and medical records. For example, an individual who avoids consuming meat, fried food, may see his or her cholesterol level drop drastically than other people.
After two months, you can check with your doctor to make sure whether this diet plan works for you.