Food for High Cholesterol Patients

Food for High Cholesterol Patients

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Cholesterol is a key ingredient needed by our body to make new cells. Although it is essential but too much cholesterol can lead to serious problems such as heart disease and stroke. Therefore the food for high cholesterol patients is very important.

What are LDL and HDL cholesterol

Cholesterol needs to combine with protein to travel throughout the bloodstream. Based on this combination called lipoprotein, there are two main types of cholesterol. LDL and HDL. LDL, or low-density lipoprotein, is sometimes called bad cholesterol because it can build up inside our arteries, causing them to narrow and leading to heart disease or stroke. On the other HDL, or high-density lipoprotein is the good kind of cholesterol. It carries LDL, the bad stuff, away from our arteries and back to our liver where it’s broken down and processed by our body. For easy remembering, the “L” in LDL can be taken for lower or lousy and the “H” in HDL can be for higher or healthy.

Is cholesterol bad for you?

Cholesterol is good but only to a certain extent. It is needed for the normal functioning of multiple processes in our body. It is an important component of the cell membrane, hence resident of our every body cell. Our brain, skin and other organs perform their jobs with the help of this cholesterol.  It is not something bad if good quality cholesterol is present in the required amount. It is used in the formation of hormones, vitamins and some other useful substances essential for normal body functioning. It plays an important role in the absorption and production of vitamin D. It is also used to make bile that helps indigestion. It is also a precursor for making some sex hormones. But the problem starts with too much cholesterol in our blood, that too much cholesterol forms plague by combining with other substances in blood vessels and that plague sticks to walls of arteries leading to stiffening, narrowing or even blockage of the blood vessels. If the condition worsens more, it can lead to a heart attack or stroke. That’s why having cholesterol or fat in excess is not a good idea as having high cholesterol puts us at risk for heart diseases.

What reduce cholesterol quickly?

Exercise or regular physical activity, healthy diet plan, weight management and some other heart-friendly lifestyle changes help in reducing cholesterol levels in the blood. Diet and exercise are the real role players in most people. Adjusting diet according to the cholesterol quality and levels in the blood helps in managing cholesterol. Increasing whole food consumption, while decreasing the consumption of foods that have been highly processed or contain large amounts of added sugar can help lower overall LDL. Lots of fruits, vegetables and salads should be part of one ‘diet. Fatty foods like pizzas, chips and other fast foods of this type should be avoided. Healthy food and regular aerobic exercise schedule of at least 30 minutes daily will also have a good effect on weight management. Quitting smoking is also one of the requirements for controlling cholesterol. These all ways prove to manage cholesterol levels within limits. However, if the condition is severe and just lifestyle changes are not enough, then along with lifestyle changes, cholesterol-lowering drugs can also be taken. Lipoprotein apheresis that involves removing LDL cholesterol from the blood using a filtering machine and returns the rest of blood to the person is also one of the treatments.

Food for High Cholesterol Patients
Exercise

Scope of the topic

For cholesterol patients, it is extremely necessary to keep the cholesterol level under check. Diet plays an important role in increasing or decreasing our cholesterol and healthy diet contributes to avoid further complications. It is important to know and avoid foods that contain saturated and trans fat. For that, we should be aware of the healthy foods that can keep cholesterol level in limits and we should also be aware of the unhealthy foods that contribute to the increase in cholesterol level.

What type of foods are high in cholesterol?

Several foods are high in healthy cholesterol while others in bad.  One big egg gives 211mg of cholesterol. Similarly, plain cheese, some seafood, and dairy products like full-fat yoghurt are full of good cholesterol that should be part of our healthy diet. Processed meats, fatty meats, fried foods like deep-fried meat, cheese sticks, fast foods like pizzas and some other baked goods, sugary desserts all are the source of increasing bad cholesterol and are some of the worst foods that increase cholesterol as they have trans-fat that is bad for our heart health.

Food for High Cholesterol Patients
Foods high in cholesterol

How to control high cholesterol?

For controlling cholesterol, check its level regularly by having proper testing. Higher than normal range cholesterol needs to be controlled with certain changes in lifestyle including a healthy diet, regular exercise and quitting smoking along with some medicines if needed. Regular monitoring of the levels is necessary for proper treatment steps.

10 Best food for high cholesterol cholesterol patients

As we know, diet plays an important role in controlling cholesterol, we need to be well aware of the diets that should be taken in case of high cholesterol. Here are 10 foods that can manage cholesterol levels and improve heart health too:

Whole-grain foods

Whole-grain foods like oats, barley, quinoa, brown rice help in lowering your cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. A bowl full of oats provides 1 to 2 grams of fibre. Beta-glucan is a soluble fibre in oats that lowers cholesterol, this soluble fibre should be 20 to 35 grams of our daily diet according to current nutrition guidelines. Barley also helps in lowering the blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels and regulating the blood sugar levels. Barley is also rich in beta-glucans that reduces cholesterol. Brown rice is also good for people with high cholesterol. Replace your white polished rice intake with brown rice. Whole grains are more packed with vitamins and minerals than their counterpart refined grains.

Beans and legumes

Pulses, beans and chickpeas all are good sources of protein, minerals, B vitamins fibre and antioxidants. Instead of eating too much-processed meats, cholesterol patients should try to get their protein requirement from these pulses. These pulses, beans and chickpeas provide satiety as they can make then person feel fuller for a long time by taking a while to digest. They also have the benefit of low calories along with improving one’s heart health by protecting against plaque buildup. These properties also make pulses, beans and chickpeas good option for controlling weight. Soybeans are also considered to be good for heart health when taken in a considerable amount. Beans are especially rich in soluble fibre that manages the cholesterol levels.

Fruits

Fruits are a low-calorie source of soluble fibre. They are minerals, antioxidants and vitamins rich that are good for high cholesterol patients. Avocado is a nutrient-rich fruit with a high content of monosaturated fat and fibre that replaces LDL with HDL. Apples, grapes, citrus fruits and strawberries contain pectin that lowers cholesterol considerably. Polyphenolic compounds in grapes decrease cellular damage. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of bioactive compounds in fruits help in lowering heart disease risk. Bananas are known for lowering cholesterol by eliminating it from the digestive system and not allowing it to move in the bloodstream and clog arteries. Cherries have heart-friendly antioxidant anthocyanin and blueberries also lower blood pressure. Lycopene in tomatoes decreases LDL significantly.

Food for High Cholesterol Patients
Fruits

Vegetables

Broccoli is a vegetable especially good for lowering cholesterol. Brinjal, potatoes, carrots and okra are a good source of pectin that manages cholesterol well. Brinjal decreases cholesterol and the plaque formation in arteries by reducing oxidative stress. Spinach is a good source of lutein and carotenoids that so heart-friendly. It can decrease cholesterol by encouraging the production of nitric oxide that dilate blood vessels. Chia seeds provide fatty acid, protein, fibre and antioxidants. Pumpkin is low-calorie fibre and antioxidant-rich vegetable good for lowering cholesterol. Potassium, fibre and beta-carotene rich sweet potatoes, butternut squash and parsnip protect from heart disease. Potato in baked form provides more potassium than a banana, this potassium lowers blood pressure and decrease heart disease risk. 

Food for High Cholesterol Patients
Vegetables

Nuts

We must replace bad fat with good fat and for that, we have to eat the foods that can serve this purpose. Nuts are a good source of good fat i.e monounsaturated fats. Walnuts are good for heart health as they are a source of omega 3 fatty acids which are heart-friendly polyunsaturated fat. Almonds help in regulating blood pressure with the help of L-arginine amino acid that helps in making nitric oxide in body and almonds also decrease LDL but maintain HDL. Minerals in nuts like potassium, magnesium and calcium may reduce blood pressure. Pistachios are antioxidant and fibre-packed and they shield the body cells against oxidative stress hence preventing plaque buildup in arteries.

Some seafood

Fish is an excellent source of good fat. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are present in fish that increase good cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart diseases. Long-chain omega 3 fatty acids lower our triglyceride levels and help in increasing HDL levels. Trout, Salmon and Tuna are good sources of omega 3 fatty acids. Most fish have low or no saturated or trans fat. So fulfil your meat cravings with a serving of baked fish twice a week. Fried fish is also not a good option, as it can increase cholesterol more. Even for stir-frying fish, just use the oil that has low saturated fat content but the best option is to cook it with no added fats. Please mind that all the seafoods are not the best food for high cholesterol patients.

Food for High Cholesterol Patients
Seafood

Spices

Fresh coriander leaves and seeds are rich in antioxidants and can lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels. Coriander is diuretic hence eliminate excess sodium from a body that decreases the blood pressure. The tension in blood vessels is also relaxed when some chemicals of coriander make interaction with calcium ions and the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Consuming garlic in curries with low fat or especially incorporating some extra raw cloves of garlic in our diet helps in thinning of blood, lowering blood pressure, lowering weight and hence ultimately decreasing heart issues. Garlic is well known as an agent for burning fat in the body. Mint, basil, oregano, rosemary, red and black pepper and ginger are also some of the spices for lowering cholesterol.

Spices

Dark chocolate and cocoa

It seems a little strange but dark chocolate and cocoa are good for lowering cholesterol. The problem starts with that chocolate that is available in the market with too much sugary content. Consuming it can be harmful to hearts health and mostly if people with high cholesterol consume a little bit of chocolate in this form in desserts or else in any other form, they feel disturbance very quickly. So what needs to be consumed for lowering cholesterol is dark chocolate with cocoa content 75-85% or even higher or one should consume cocoa alone in beverages etc. Oxidation of low-density lipoprotein is a major cause of heart disease; this cocoa consumption prevents this oxidation and ultimately prevent heart diseases.

Tea

Green tea is especially effective in burning fat in our body. Black tea is also consumed for this purpose. These teas should not be loaded with sugar but should be consumed plain if we want to attain their benefits. If they are combined with lemon juice, the benefits are also increased further. Lemon juice also helps in burning fat and is rich in multiple vitamins and minerals. Catechins and quercetin in tea are the key compounds that have beneficial properties. Blood pressure is regulated by the activation of nitric oxide by catechins. Cholesterol absorption and its synthesis are also inhibited by them. They also don’t allow blood clots to form and are beneficial in improving the function of blood vessels.

Healthy oils

The quality of fats that we are incorporating in our diet plays a great role in the treatment of high cholesterol patients. If we keep a check on the lipid quality in foods that will significantly improve our overall health and keep the cholesterol in control too. Olive oil, canola oil, avocado oil, sesame oil and sunflower oil have monounsaturated fats and are good options in place of using butter or ghee. Corn oil has plant sterols that reduce the absorption of saturated fat in our body. What we have to remember is that these healthy oils are still fats. We either need to develop our flavour for eating foods without fats or if using them in very little quantity.

Food for High Cholesterol Patients
Olive oil

Conclusion

A combination of foods has to be incorporated in high cholesterol patients’ diet; a single food will not satisfy the purpose. Fruits, vegetables, pulses, beans, chickpeas, whole grains, seeds, spices and nuts are good choices for controlling cholesterol and improving overall health too. A menu that includes a variety of all these foods will be a good idea. Like for breakfast, one can combine any fruit from banana, cherries, apple, grapes, strawberries, blueberries or raspberries with oats or barley and some chia seeds. Incorporating nuts as snacks or in salads lowers the possibility of heart diseases by a significant percentage. One should know all these healthy options and then how to incorporate it in one’s diet is one’s own choice.

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