.Some cholesterol-lowering foods deliver a good dose of soluble fiber, which binds cholesterol and its precursors in the digestive system and drags them out of the body before they get into circulation. Others provide polyunsaturated fats, which directly lower LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. And those with plant sterols and stanols keep the body from absorbing cholesterol. Here are 5 of those foods:
Oats.An easy way to start lowering cholesterol is to choose oatmeal or an oat-based cold cereal like Cheerios for breakfast. It gives you 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber. Add a banana or some strawberries for another half-gram.
Beans.Beans are especially rich in soluble fiber. They also take a while for the body to digest, meaning you feel full for longer after a meal. That’s one reason beans are a useful food for folks trying to lose weight. With so many choices — from navy and kidney beans to lentils, garbanzos, black-eyed peas, and beyond — and so many ways to prepare them, beans are a very versatile food.
Nuts.A bushel of studies shows that eating almonds, walnuts, peanuts, and other nuts is good for the heart. Eating 2 ounces of nuts a day can slightly lower LDL, on the order of 5%. Nuts have additional nutrients that protect the heart in other ways.
Foods fortified with sterols and stanols: Sterols and stanols extracted from plants gum up the body’s ability to absorb cholesterol from food. Companies are now adding them to a wide variety of foods. They’re also available as supplements. Getting 2 grams of plant sterols or stanols a day can lower LDL cholesterol by about 10%.
Fatty fish.Eating fish two or three times a week can lower LDL in two ways: by replacing meat, which has LDL-boosting saturated fats, and by delivering LDL-lowering omega-3 fats. Omega-3s reduce triglycerides in the bloodstream and also protect the heart by helping prevent the onset of abnormal heart rhythms.
People often think they shouldn’t eat avocado because it is a “fatty” fruit. But this creamy teardrop-shaped fruit contains oleic acid, the same monounsaturated fat found in olive oil and known to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. A study published in the Archives of Medical Research showed that people with moderately high cholesterol levels who ate a diet high in avocados increased their levels of HDL (good) cholesterol by 11% and decreased their levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and total cholesterol.http://myhealingkitchen.com/medical-conditions/heart-disease/heart-disease-healing-food/arteries-love-avocado/
The soluble fiber found in whole grains such as whole-wheat bread, brown rice, and oatmeal binds the cholesterol in your meal and drags it out of your body, Madden says. “And, when your body needs to utilize cholesterol in the future, it draws on your blood cholesterol supply, effectively lowering your total blood cholesterol level and your risk for heart disease.” And oatmeal isn’t just for breakfast; you can enjoy it any time of day with these easy recipes.
3.Olive Oil :
A 2011 study found that people ages 65 or older who regularly used olive oil (for both cooking and as a dressing) were 41 percent less likely to have a stroke compared to those who never use olive oil in their diet. Use a little olive oil instead of butter or drizzle some over pasta, salad, or veggies to take advantage of its high mono- and polyunsaturated fats, Madden says. “And although it’s a healthier option, remember to use these oils sparingly, as all fats still contain the same number of calories.”
Grabbing a handful of nuts is a heart-healthy way to beat the afternoon itch for a cookie, Madden says. “Almonds are very high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, and fiber, while walnuts are a great plant-based source of an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid.” According to the American Heart Association, monounsaturated fats can help reduce levels of bad cholesterol in your blood and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Sterols are compounds that compete with the cholesterol in your food for absorption within your digestive tract, Madden says. “Sterols have been shown to lower both total and LDL cholesterol and can be found in certain brands of fortified orange juice, margarine spreads, and milk.” Just be sure to check the label—make sure the margarine is trans fat-free and that “partially hydrogenated oil” does NOT appear on the ingredient list.
6.Salmon (or Other Fatty Fish) Fatty fish such as mackerel, herring, tuna, and salmon are chock full of omega-3 fatty acids, Madden says. “Eating fish twice a week can reduce your risk of developing heart disease by decreasing inflammation and lowering triglyceride levels, and it may even help boost your HDL levels.” Try any of these heart healthy and delicious salmon recipes for dinner tonight.
Asparagus is one of the best, natural artery-clearing foods around, says Shane Ellison, an organic chemist and author of Over-The-Counter Natural Cures. “Asparagus works within the 100,000 miles of veins and arteries to release pressure, thereby allowing the body to accommodate for inflammation that has accumulated over the years.” It also helps ward off deadly clots, Ellison says. We just love the versatile vegetable’s crunch in this salad recipe.
Pomegranate contains phytochemicals that act as antioxidants to protect the lining of the arteries from damage, explains Dr. Gregg Schneider, a nutritionally oriented dentist and expert on alternative medicine. A 2005 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that antioxidant-rich pomegranate juice stimulated the body’s production of nitric oxide, which helps keep blood flowing and arteries open.
Broccoli is rich in vitamin K, which is needed for bone formation and helps to keep calcium from damaging the arteries, Dr. Schneider says. Not to mention, broccoli is full of fiber, and studies show a high-fiber diet can also help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Enjoy this veggie for dinner tonight with this side dish recipe.
The spice turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory,” Dr. Schneider says. “It contains curcumin which lowers inflammation—a major cause of arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries.” A 2009 study found that curcumin helps reduce the fatty deposits in arteries by as much as 26 percent. Sounds like a good reason to try some in this delicious recipe for spicy chicken soup from pop star Rihanna.
Forget the old ‘an apple a day’ adage—it seems eating a daily persimmon is a better way to keep the doctor away. Research shows the polyphenols found in this fruit (which has twice as much fiber and more antioxidants than an apple) can help decrease levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
12. Orange Juice.
A 2011 study published online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that drinking two daily cups of 100-percent orange juice can help reduce diastolic (resting) blood pressure. OJ contains an antioxidant that has been found to help improve blood vessel function.
A daily 4,500mg dose of this blue-green algae (usually found in supplement or powder form) can help relax artery walls and normalize blood pressure. It may also help your liver balance your blood fat levels—decreasing your LDL cholesterol by 10 percent and raising HDL cholesterol by 15 percent, according a recent study.
Just one teaspoon a day of antioxidant-rich cinnamon can help reduce fats in the bloodstream, helping to prevent plaque build up in the arteries and lower bad cholesterol levels by as much as 26 percent, according to recent research. Sprinkle some on your morning coffee or on these delicious crepes.
Research shows that potassium-rich cranberries can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels and help raise the good HDL levels in your body, and regular consumption of the holiday favorite may help reduce your overall risk of heart disease by as much as 40 percent.
According to researchers in The Netherlands, people who drank more than two, but no more than four, cups of coffee a day for 13 years had about a 20 percent lower risk of heart disease than people who drank more or less coffee or no coffee at all. Moderation is the key to coffee’s heart-health benefits—the caffeine is a stimulant which can cause a temporary increase in blood pressure, and in excess, can lead to irregular heart beat.
Believe it or not, cheese could help lower your blood pressure! A recent study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School found that people who eat three servings a day of low-fat dairy have lower (three points less) systolic blood pressure than those who eat less. Here are some tasty, low fat picks to start snacking on today.
Talk about a perfect snack—watermelon is not only a diet-friendly food, but it can help protect your heart too! A Florida State University study found that people given a 4,000mg supplement of L-citrulline (an amino acid found in watermelon) lowered their blood pressure in just six weeks. Researchers say the amino acid helps your body produce nitric oxide, which widens blood vessels.
The flesh of cucumbers is primarily composed of water but also contains vitamin C and caffeic acid, both of which help soothe skin irritations and reduce swelling—which is why cucumbers are often used to help swollen eyes and sunburn.
A complete cholesterol test — also called a lipid panel or lipid profile: — It is a blood test that can measure the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. A cholesterol test can help determine your risk of atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaques in your arteries that can lead to narrowed or blocked arteries throughout your body. High cholesterol levels usually don’t cause and signs or symptoms, so a cholesterol test is an important tool. High cholesterol levels are a significant risk factor for heart disease.
An extended lipid profile may include very low-density lipoprotein. This is used to identify hyperlipidemia (various disturbances of cholesterol and triglyceride levels), many forms of which are recognized risk factors for cardiovascular disease and sometimes pancreatitis.
It is recommended that healthy adults with no other risk factors for heart disease be tested with a fasting lipid profile once every five years. Individuals may also be screened using only a cholesterol test and not a full lipid profile. However, if the cholesterol test result is high, there may be the need to have follow-up testing with a lipid profile.
If there are other risk factors or the individual has had a high cholesterol level in the past, regular testing is needed and the individual should have a full lipid profile.
For children and adolescents at low risk, lipid testing is usually not ordered routinely. However, screening with a lipid profile is recommended for children and youths who are at an increased risk of developing heart disease as adults. Some of the risk factors are similar to those in adults and include a family history of heart disease or health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), or being overweight. High-risk children should have their first lipid profile between 2 and 10 years old, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Children younger than 2 years old are too young to be tested.
A total cholesterol reading can be used to assess an individual’s risk for heart disease, however, it should not be relied upon as the only indicator. The individual components that make up total cholesterol reading –- LDL, HDL, and VLDL –- are also important in measuring risk.
For instance, one’s total cholesterol may be high, but this may be due to very high good (HDL) cholesterol levels –- which can actually help prevent heart disease. So, while a high total cholesterol level may help give an indication that that there is a problem with cholesterol levels, the components that make up total cholesterol should also be measured.
The “lipid profile” is a popular component of master health check ups.There is no ideal age for the first evaluation. Elevated levels have been found in children as young as two if there is a history of adults in the family having elevated lipids or early heart attacks. Genetic studies have consistently shown changes in the Apolipoprotein E (APOE) locus in affected families. But for this gene to express itself, environmental factors like diet, obesity and inactivity also play a part.
If there is no such family history, lipids should be evaluated for the first time at the age of 20. If the results are “desirable”, the next reading can be taken after five years. In an older person (over 45 in men and 55 in women) the values need to be checked every year.
The blood should be taken after a nine-hour fast (water can be consumed). There should be no fever, infection, inflammation or pregnancy as these can alter the values.
Everyone has fat deposits under the skin, where it serves as insulation against heat and cold. Cholesterol is a fat that is produced by the liver and is essential for normal metabolism. It is not soluble in blood, it is transported through the body by LDL (low density lipoproteins), HDL (high density lipoproteins) and VLDL (very low density lipoproteins). Of these HDL is a “good” lipid as it transports excess cholesterol to the liver for excretion. VLDL and LDL transport cholesterol from the liver back into the blood.
As long as blood cholesterol remains in the normal range, the blood circulates freely. When levels are elevated, it precipitates in the blood vessels, forming obstructive deposits called plaques. This eventually leads to high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.
TGL or triglycerides are different from cholesterol. They are derived from food when the calorie intake is greater than the requirement. It combines with cholesterol and gets deposited in the blood vessels.
A person with elevated lipids may develop a yellow deposit of cholesterol under the skin, usually around the eyelids. They may also have a crease on the earlobes.
A fat deposit (lipoma) can appear as a painless mobile lump just under the skin anywhere in the body. When multiple, it is a hereditary condition called multiple lipomatosis. These are not markers for elevated lipids. The lumps are not cancerous but may be cosmetically unacceptable. They do not respond to the lipid lowering medications and need to be surgically removed.
An elevated lipid profile can often be reversed by changes in lifestyle. Quit smoking immediately and drink in moderation only — two drinks a day for men and one for women. The much publicised cardio protective actions of alcohol are outweighed by the other problems of regular drinking.
Try to achieve ideal body weight and bring down the BMI (body mass index, which is found by dividing the weight by the height in metre squared) to 23. This can only be achieved with a combination of diet and exercise. Try to stop snacking, especially on fried items and “ready to eat” snacks. Increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables to 4-6 helpings a day. Walnuts, almonds and fish are rich in protective omega -3 fatty acids and Pufa (poly unsaturated fatty acids). Oats contains dietary fibre. Lower oil consumption to 300ml per month per family member. Try to use olive oil. If that is not practical or feasible, use a mixture of equal quantities of rice bran oil, sesame oil, mustard oil and groundnut oil.
Exercise aerobically (walking, running, jogging or swimming) for 60 minutes a day. This need not be done at one stretch but can be split into as many as six 10-minute sessions.
If lipids are still elevated after 3-6 months despite these interventions, speak to your physician about regular medication.
The “statin” group of drugs are very effective. They lower cholesterol, prevent its deposition and stabilise the plaques in the blood vessels. They can be combined with other drugs like ezetimibe (which limit the absorption of cholesterol), or bile acid binding resins, or niacin or fibrates. Natural supplements of fish oil or pure omega-3 fatty acid capsules also help. Lipid lowering medications are usually well tolerated and very effective.
“For instance, those who stuck with the Mediterranean diet as compared to eating their regular foods or a low-fat diet trimmed their waistlines by about 0.43 cm (0.16 inches) on average. They also showed slashed their blood pressure by 2.35 points on the top reading, and their fasting blood sugar by 3.89 milligrams per deciliter.”
Scientists have discovered the method by which dietary trans-fats cause hardening of the arteries. A study on mice suggests that high levels of trans-fats cause atherosclerosis by reducing the responsiveness of a key protein, transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta, that controls growth and differentiation in cells.
The findings of the study reinforce research that has linked the predominantly man-made fat with a range of health problems.
Food Navigator reports:
“Trans-fats are attractive for the food industry due to their extended shelf life and flavor stability, and have displaced natural solid fats and liquid oils in many areas of food processing.