#HealthBytes: Five foods to reduce bad cholesterol in the body
High levels of bad cholesterol are one of the leading causes of heart diseases in the world. High cholesterol is a result of a sedentary lifestyle, a diet comprising unhealthy foods, or a combination of both these factors. However, an active lifestyle and a healthy diet can help reverse the condition. Include these foods as the first step towards lowering your bad cholesterol levels.
The cholesterol in the body is divided into LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol). Green tea is rich in antioxidants that can prevent bad cholesterol from blocking the arteries. Studies also prove that green tea reduces the liver's production of LDL cholesterol. To make the most of it, drink at least three to four cups of green tea every day.
As per researchers, replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats is a sure way to reduce the total cholesterol by 9% and LDL cholesterol by 11% in just eight weeks. Foods like butter, cheese, and red meat have high amounts of saturated fat, and they should be consumed less. Substitute them with avocados, fatty fish, and nuts that contain heart-healthy unsaturated fats.
You don't have to completely follow a Mediterranean cuisine to reap the diet's benefits, but you can customize it to suit your taste by adding a few foods and avoiding a few. Olive oil, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and fish are the common foods in a Mediterranean-style diet. You can also have red meat and wine in moderation but avoid indulging in them.
Consuming more foods that are high in soluble fiber is another way to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol. In fact, a study showed that taking 3gm of soluble fiber supplements every day over 12 weeks lowered LDL levels by 18% among the participants. What's more, oats are rich in soluble fibers, and having a bowl of oatmeal every day can decrease bad cholesterol.
Including herbs and spices in the diet is an effective way to control cholesterol levels. Studies have linked regular consumption of garlic, turmeric, and ginger to effectively lower cholesterol. Herbs and spices also contain antioxidants that prevent the formation of plaques within the arteries. Including mint, clove, cinnamon, turmeric, oregano, etc. in the diet is a proven way to reduce high cholesterol levels.