One of the leading causes of death worldwide is cardiovascular disease. It is said to claim a life every 42 seconds. And the top factor contributing to heart ailments is high levels of cholesterol. High cholesterol level is usually a result of inadequate nutrition with a lack of exercise.
A slight change in diet habits and adopting some healthy food on the plate works wonders when it comes to getting cholesterol levels under control.
The diet tips mentioned below not just control cholesterol levels, but also strengthen the heart while preventing arterial clogs. Your blood pressure parameters stay in check too. These cardio-vascular conditions get benefited too.
- Atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat)
- Atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of arteries)
- Coronary heart disease
- Cholesterol oxidation and plaque formation
Take a look at the below diet tips that help in controlling cholesterol levels. These foods will increase HDL (high-density lipoproteins) cholesterol levels or “good cholesterol” and cut down LDL (low-density lipoproteins) cholesterol levels or “bad cholesterol”.
The human body needs cholesterol to survive. Cholesterol is necessary for the production of cell membranes, hormones, and vitamin D. However, if your cholesterol levels are too high, then you could be at risk for heart attacks or stroke.
Your diet can affect the amount of cholesterol in your bloodstream by either raising or lowering it. There are 5 major causes of high cholesterol that you should know so that you can take steps towards prevention:
To keep your cholesterol levels in check, you must get active and exercise regularly. Even if you don’t think that exercising will help, studies have shown that a little bit of physical activity can reduce the risk of heart disease by 30%. When you are inactive, it puts more strain on your body.
This causes an increase in stress hormones, such as cortisol, which leads to increased production of LDL or bad cholesterol. This increases the likelihood of plaque buildup along with other unhealthy consequences.
Exercise doesn’t need to be strenuous either; even light activities like walking can bring about positive results.
This is one of the most important causes of high cholesterol. Eating foods rich in trans fats, saturated fat, and dietary cholesterol can raise your LDL levels.
They increase plaque buildup along with other negative consequences. A diet that comprises processed food has been a cause of high blood pressure. This leads to heart attack or strokes due to a lack of oxygen reaching certain parts of the body, including the brain.
Unhealthy habits like smoking also affect your body by causing damage, making it more challenging to exercise. Also, reducing HDL production helps clean up LDL from our arteries slower than usual.
Foods such as eggs contain both protein and healthy monounsaturated fats. This may raise HDL levels while also providing other health benefits.
An excellent way to improve your diet is by replacing unhealthy foods with healthier ones. Start by making simple swaps such as swapping out regular soda for sparkling water or using olive oil instead of butter when cooking.
Also, probiotics for cholesterol are one way to help keep your levels in check. If you struggle with knowing what to eat, consult a nutritionist or read up on healthy recipes that fit into your lifestyle. There are plenty of resources online and in libraries that can help get you started on the right path.
Lack of Sleep
Studies have shown that the amount of sleep we get each night can affect our cholesterol levels. When you are sleeping, your body releases cortisol, which helps regulate blood sugar and LDL or inadequate cholesterol production.
If you aren’t getting enough rest, then it will cause an increase in stress hormones. Thus, leading to health problems such as high blood pressure due to lack of oxygen reaching certain parts of the brain.
To help improve how much you’re sleeping, try taking shorter naps during the day (20 minutes). Avoid caffeine after lunchtime since caffeine has disrupted sleep patterns at night time. For example, try not to check social media accounts right before bed; this is a significant factor in lack of sleep.
Some people are predisposed to having high cholesterol levels because of their genes. This means that they may have a more challenging time than others in keeping their cholesterol levels down, even with diet and lifestyle changes.
If this is the case, they need to see a doctor and get regular screenings done to catch any health complications early on. There are many medications out there that can help lower your cholesterol levels if you fall into this category.
Ask your doctor about what options are available to you and whether taking medication is the best course of action.
As you get older, your cholesterol levels naturally increase. This is because of a decrease in HDL or good cholesterol that our bodies produce and an increase in harmful cholesterol particles.
While there isn’t much that can be done about this, it is still essential to keep track of your cholesterol levels as you get older. Also, make sure that you follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
High cholesterol can be a serious issue and should not be taken lightly. Suppose you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above. In that case, it is essential to see your doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan by being aware of the different causes of high cholesterol.
You can take the necessary steps to lower your risk for heart disease or other health complications in the future.
Diagnosis, Understand your risk
The only way to know if you have high cholesterol levels is to have a simple blood test.
Canadian guidelines recommend having your cholesterol tested if you:
- Is a male over 40 years of age?
- Are female over 50 years of age and/or post-menopausal.
- Have heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure.
- Have a waist circumference greater than 94 cm (37 inches) for men and 80 cm (31.5 inches) for women.
- Smoke or have smoked within the last year.
- Have erectile dysfunction.
- Have a family history of heart disease or stroke.
Understand your test results will include:
- HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) – good to have a high number.
- LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) – good to have a low number
- Non HDL cholesterol (total cholesterol – HDL cholesterol) – good to have low numbers
- Triglycerides – high reading may be tracked over time.
- Your doctor will review your test results along with your risk factors, medical history, and present health
Prevention and management
Making some lifestyle changes is a positive way to control your blood cholesterol levels.
What you eat has a huge impact on your health.
Highly processed foods are a major source of saturated fat and are usually high in calories, salt (sodium), and sugar. Saturated fat increases LDL or bad cholesterol levels in the blood.
1. Eat a healthy balanced diet
Choose a variety of whole and minimally processed foods at every meal. This means foods that are either not packaged or have few ingredients.
Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruit at every meal. Choose vegetables and fruit for snacks. Select fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables and fruit. You want them to be plain, without sauce, sugar or salt added.
Choose whole grains. Look for whole-grain bread, barley, oats (including oatmeal), quinoa, brown rice, bulgur, farro, etc.
Mix up the center of your plate. Choose more vegetarian options such as beans, lentils, tofu, and nuts. Include vegetarian options as often as possible in your weekly meal plan. Make sure your meat is lean, poultry without the skin, and include fish a couple of times per week.
Limit your portion sizes.
Choose lower-fat dairy products or alternatives with no added sugar. Select 1% or skim milk, plain yogurt, and lower fat cheeses.
Plan healthy snacks with at least 2 different types of food.
For example, try hummus and baby carrots; apple wedges and lower-fat cheese, or plain yogurt with berries.
- Drink water or lower fat plain milk to satisfy thirst.
- Avoid sugary drinks including soft drinks, sports drinks, sweetened milk or alternatives,
- fruit drinks, 100% fruit juice, and ready-to-drink sweetened coffees and teas.
Note: If your blood cholesterol level is high, your physician or dietitian may recommend restricting your intake of foods high in dietary cholesterol such as egg yolks, organ meats, full-fat dairy products, and processed meats.
2. Cook and eat more meals at home
Cooking at home allows you to select whole and minimally processed foods.
Develop and share skills in food preparation and cooking with your family.
Buy a healthy cookbook or try some of our healthy recipes.
Select the top ten recipes your family loves and get everyone involved in the meal preparation. Reduce the amount of sugar, salt, and solid fats used in your favorite recipes.
3. Make eating out a special occasion
Eating out usually results in you consuming large amounts of food, more fat, salt, and sugar. Try to limit the number of times you eat in a restaurant per month.
When you do eat out, choose restaurants that serve freshly made dishes using whole and minimally processed foods and provide nutrition information.
Share meals, order the appetizer size, or ask for half the meal to be packed up to eat the next day.
4. Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight or obese increases your LDL or bad cholesterol level lowers your HDL or good cholesterol level and raises your triglyceride levels. Reducing your weight is a positive way to reduce your blood cholesterol levels.
5. Physical Activity
Being physically active will help improve your cholesterol levels and general heart health. Aim for 150 minutes a week. That is less than 25 minutes per day!
Choose activities you like. Cycling, swimming, gardening, walking are great ways to keep active.
6. Be Smoke-Free
Smoking is a risk factor for heart disease. It reduces the level of your HDL “good” cholesterol. Once you quit, within a few weeks your HDL levels will start to rise.
Almost every packaged food will have an ingredient listing which is listed in descending order starting with the ingredient in the highest amount.
The package will also contain a Nutrition Facts Table that provides information on single serving size and the calories and nutrients a serving contains.
All of the nutrient information is based on a single serving. You will find information on the amount of fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrate, fiber, sugars, protein, and some vitamins and minerals.
When reviewing the Nutrition Facts Table on a package, always look at the sodium and trans fat values. If you have a high cholesterol level, you may also need to look at the cholesterol value.
The % Daily Value on the label will tell you whether there is a lot or a little of a nutrient in a single serving. 15% or more is a lot and 5% or less is a little.
Research shows that plant sterols can help lower LDL “bad” cholesterol.
Plant sterols occur naturally in small amounts in vegetable oils, nuts, whole grains, vegetables, and fruit.
It is recommended that you consume 2g of plant sterols per day to help lower your LDL cholesterol.
It is not possible to obtain enough plant sterols naturally from foods.
Foods are now allowed to have up to 1g of plant sterols per serving added to them.
Look for foods fortified with plant sterols such as mayonnaise, margarine, and salad dressing
Dietary fats and oils provide our bodies with energy, provide essential fats, and help absorb fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K.
There are different types of fats:
- Polyunsaturated fats (Omega-3 and 6)
- monounsaturated fats
- trans fats
- saturated fats
Both the quality and amount of fat you eat matter. It is important to not focus on just one nutrient – it is your overall diet that will make the biggest difference to your health.
For example, foods marketed as “low fat” can be highly processed and contain lots of refined carbohydrates, calories, sugar, and sodium. choose more often:
Polyunsaturated fat (omega-3)Food sources:
fatty fish: salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, herring
oils: canola, soy, sunflower, flaxseed
nuts and seeds: walnuts, flaxseeds (ground), chia seeds
legumes: soybeans and tofu
omega-3 fortified products: omega-3 soy beverage, omega-3 yogurt, omega-3 eggs
Choose more often: monounsaturated fat
- fats and oils: olive, canola, peanut, safflower, sesame, non-hydrogenated margarine
- made from these oils, salad dressings made from this oil
- nuts, nut kinds of butter and seeds: almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, peanuts, pine nuts,
- sunflower seeds
- Eat-in moderation: polyunsaturated fats (omega-6)
Food sources: fats and oils:
- safflower, sunflower, corn
- legumes: soybeans
- nuts and seeds
Choose less often: saturated fats
- Food sources:
- fatty meats
full-fat dairy products
- fats and oils: butter, hard margarine, lard, coconut oil, ghee, palm oil
highly processed foods are a major source of saturated fat and are also usually high in calories, sodium, sugar, and sometimes trans fat:
- Processed meats such as sausages, bologna, salami, hot dogs, liver, meat pate
- Prepared foods
- Snack foods
- Chocolates and sugary drinks.
- Saturated fat intake should not be an issue if you are eating a healthy, balanced diet and
- few or no highly processed foods, and appropriate portion sizes.
- Medication to lower cholesterol Sometimes diet and exercise are not enough to lower your blood cholesterol levels. Several drugs are available to lower your blood cholesterol.
- Your doctor may prescribe medications including statins and other cholesterol-lowering medication.
- These medications do not cure high blood cholesterol or replace a healthy lifestyle.
A lipid Profile Medical test done after taking your blood identifies your total, LDL, and HDL cholesterol along with triglycerides The CDC defines the following blood cholesterol levels as healthy.
Only include polyunsaturated fat in your meals. It lowers blood cholesterol. This kind is only found in certain vegetable oils, such as corn oil, soy oil, wheat germ oil, and flaxseed oil. Only buy cold-pressed oil—never, never hydrogenated oil (even partially hydrogenated oil). Never put cottonseed oil into your body.
The very best oils for your health are wheat germ oil and flaxseed oil. Prepare your meals without oil, fat, or grease. Then add a spoonful or two of wheat germ oil or flaxseed oil to the food after it has been dished onto your plate.
In this way, you can carefully measure how much you get, and you ensure that the oil was not cooked.
|Below 100 mg/dL||Ideal|
|From 100 to 129 mg/dL||Close to ideal|
|From 130 to 159 mg/dL||Borderline high|
|From 160 to 189 mg/dL||High|
Top 30 Superfruits to lower cholesterol
Cholesterol Can be lower with Proper diet and daily exercise we have listed down ten super-fruits to normalize cholesterol.
- Monounsaturated oils lower cholesterol faster than low-fat diets do, and the type they selectively lower is the bad LDL.
- Do not eat fried food, fatty food, meat, vegetable loaves, etc.
- Do not eat processed or junk food. Do not eat regular peanut butter.
- The peanut oil has been taken out, and cheap, hydrogenated oils (sometimes lard) are put in its place. Only buy peanut butter from a health food store.
- You can open the lid and smell the difference. Learn how to smell good food.
- Do not eat corn chips, crackers, and other snack foods.
- Eggs contain a lot of cholesterol (275 mg per egg), yet studies reveal that, in most people, they do not appreciably raise cholesterol levels.
- Eat more fruit and beans. Both have pectin, which surrounds cholesterol and takes it out of the body. Pectin is in all kinds of beans and fruit. Carrots also help lower cholesterol, because of their pectin content. Cabbage, broccoli, and onions also have calcium pectate.
- Oat bran lowers cholesterol in the same way that pectin does it. Make oat bran muffins, and eat one or two every day. Oatmeal is also effective.
- You need 6 grams of soluble fiber every day. Corn and wheat bran are also useful.
- Fresh garlic lowers cholesterol, but not cooked or deodorized garlic. It is said that Kyolic may also lower cholesterol.
- Psyllium seed also lowers cholesterol.
- Exercise does it too. Vigorous exercise raises HDL and lowers LDL levels.
- Do not drink coffee, use tobacco, or drink. Avoid drugs of all kinds.
- Here are other things found to lower cholesterol: barley, spirulina, lemongrass oil, and activated charcoal.
- Vitamins C, E, and niacin also lower cholesterol, along with calcium.
- At least 30 minutes of walking daily are necessary to lower cholesterol.
- Do not take stress Be positive to keep yourself busy.
- Avoid sitting for long hours.
- Walk at least 10-15 minutes after each meal so that its food digest well and does not add more fats to your blood.
- Eat At least one cup of Beans daily.
- Dry Fruits help to lower cholesterol.
1 Soy-Based Food
A study published in 2010 in the Journal of Nutrition found that eating soy daily and adding it to your diet to replace foods high in saturated fats can help lower LDL cholesterol by nearly 8 to 10 percent.
2 Include More tomatoes in meals
A 2011 Meta-analysis of studies published in the journal maturity revealed that consuming 25 milligrams of lycopene the antioxidant that gives plants their red pigment daily can reduce LDL by about 10 percent.
3 Magnesium intake should be Increased
A high cholesterol level has often been associated with magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is abundant in Statin that controls two enzymes responsible for the production of higher levels of cholesterol. Foods high in magnesium content – almonds, cashews, walnuts, peanuts, tofu, millet, rye, and dark chocolate.
4 Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an excellent option to reduce bad cholesterol. A clinical study has shown that an increase in Vitamin C intake has significantly decreased LDL cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations. Foods high in Vitamin C content – Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, sweet potatoes, kiwi, papaya, pineapple, strawberries, and citrus fruits.
5 Monounsaturated Fats
These are great to be included in the everyday diet (in moderate amounts) when it comes to maintaining the right cholesterol level. It also prevents clogged arteries. A precise clinical study conducted with 24 adults having high blood cholesterol concluded that a rich monounsaturated fat diet increased their HDL (good cholesterol) by 12%.
These are healthy fats as they decrease LDL cholesterol levels and harmful oxidation while increasing HDL levels. Foods are rich in monounsaturated fat content – Canola Oil, Olive oil, cashew nuts, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, and avocados.
6 Polyunsaturated fats
These are also known to reduce bad LDL cholesterol, thereby reducing heart disease risk. There have been quite a few studies where a saturated fats diet has been replaced by polyunsaturated fats to see the results.
One such study involved a group of 115 adults whose saturated fats diet got replaced by a particular diet rich in polyunsaturated fat for eight weeks. By the end of the research, the LDL cholesterol levels were reduced by 10%.
Polyunsaturated fats Foods are rich in polyunsaturated fat content – Omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood and fish oil supplements.
7 Gluten-free whole Grains
These are a winner when it comes to reducing cholesterol levels naturally. It is already known that whole grains reduce cholesterol levels while improving heart health.
But gluten, usually present in whole grains, have inflammatory properties that irritate the gut lining. The safest bet is to opt for a gluten-free diet comprising brown rice, quinoa, amaranth grain, or millet.
Fish is an excellent natural source to maintain cholesterol levels. Good fats are found in fish like mackerel, tuna, trout, herring, salmon, bluefish, sardines as they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Consumption of these fish reduces triglycerides and prevents the development of any cardiovascular diseases.
But if you don’t eat fish, pop in a fish oil capsule every day. These supplements are rich in EPA and SHA (types of omega-3 fatty acids). If clams are your thing, you are in for something good. These are rich sources of sterols and prevent your body from absorbing cholesterol.
9 Green Tea
Green tea is rich in Catechin and anti-oxidants are excellent natural sources to lower LDL cholesterol levels. It boosts the production of HDL or high-density lipoprotein that is good cholesterol.
10 Orange Juice
Orange juice has multiple health benefits. Lowering unhealthy cholesterol levels is one of its essential functions. A study conducted on a group of participants found out that having three glasses of orange juice a day increased HDL levels by 21% while reducing the LDL/HDL ratio by 16%.
A glass of freshly squeezed orange juice every day will prevent the development of LDL cholesterol levels.
11 Coconut Water
It is believed to have positive effects on lowering cholesterol levels. There was a study conducted on rats to test the impact of coconut water on cholesterol.
After a certain period, it was found that there was a significant fall in the levels of blood cholesterol and triglycerides.
12 Fruit & Herbal Juices
Relaxes the artery muscles preventing the formation of arterial plaque. This, in turn, regularises blood flow to the heart, thereby reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Sip on a glass of juice every day. Sauce made from cucumber, beetroot, basil, wheat-grass, or carrot is highly beneficial in controlling high cholesterol.
Being rich in plant sterol and fibers, Nuts are an excellent natural option to lower high cholesterol levels. These crunchy bites can be savored at any time of the day.
Walnuts, almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, pecans & other nuts and seeds are found to have beneficial effects on cholesterol levels. However, walnuts need a special mention as these nuts are the best source to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Oatmeal works like real magic when it comes to being healthy. It is a rich source of soluble fiber that lines the intestine like a gel preventing the absorption of unhealthy fats from food. Eat about 1 1/2 cups of oatmeal a day to reduce LDL levels by up to 24%.
15 Coriander Seeds
Coriander seeds have a lot more health benefits than can be imagined. A 1999 study showed that a high level of antioxidant enzymes in dry coriander seeds triggered its ability to improve cholesterol and lips levels.
It reduces LDL levels and triglycerides while increasing levels of HDL cholesterol. How can you use coriander seeds to improve your cholesterol levels? Boil a cup of water with about two tsp. of coriander seed powder. Strain and drink the power concoction twice a day.
Garlic is another natural source to nip down harmful cholesterol levels. Add a few cloves of garlic to your diet daily to lower cholesterol.
17 Avoid these foods to control Cholesterol
Foods with added sugar and refined carbs mess with the cholesterol ratio. It decreases the levels of good cholesterol in the blood. Too much alcohol, caffeine, and trans-fats only add to LDL cholesterol levels.
18 Eat Cocoa chocolate
A meta-analysis in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that cocoa consumption lowered LDL cholesterol by more than 5 mg/dl in people at risk of heart disease.
19 Oats and Barley
- The soluble fiber that oats and barley contain called beta-glucagon is particularly powerful with at least 3 grams of soluble fiber; every day can lower LDL and total cholesterol by 5 to 10 percent.
- Mix Beans is delicious for cholesterol Beans to lower cholesterol, including LDL.
- Avocado Fruit Avocado Raises HDL and lowers LDL cholesterol levels.
- The Best ingredient for cholesterol is Garlic, Garlic Reduces Cholesterol and prevents blood clots.
20 Onion lowers bad cholesterol
Adding Onions in your daily meals will lower cholesterol and prevent blood clots as well as help treat bronchitis ASTHMA, ounces of gout, and for reducing blood sugar because of its potent diuretic and Antibacterial powers.
21 Nuts Protect Heart health
ounces of nuts a day can slightly lower LDL by as much as 5% nuts have additional nutrients that protect the heart in another way.
21 Almonds are rich in fiber
The heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and fiber contained in almonds help raise good cholesterol HDL and reduce the bad LDL. A 2011 study published in Nutrition Review found that Eating almonds help lower LDL cholesterol, a primary target for coronary disease prevention, by 3 to 19 percent.
Also, a 2015 study published in the Journal of American Heart Association states that daily almond consumption may be a simple dietary strategy to prevent the onset of cardio-metabolic diseases.
Heart ailments and high cholesterol also come from a family history of these diseases. Old age also is considered another factor. Keep your cholesterol levels on the check at regular intervals and go for tests and follow-ups with a cardiologist. Find the Best Cardiologists near you and Book an Appointment Online.
Kiwi Protect the heart and prevents cardiovascular diseases. Kiwi Protect from cardiovascular diseases lowers bad cholesterol levels helps manage blood pressure boosts the immune system helps out clean toxins from the body.
Avocado Contains monounsaturated heart-healthy fats AvacadoContains Monounsaturated Fats which help to make the heart more healthy reduce cholesterol from the body and keep the blood pressure normal.
24 Walking is heart-healthy
Walking is more than exercise it is a way of meditation that reduces cholesterol improves functions of the lung and heart.