Posted on May 18, 2018, 8 p.m.
Cholesterol is a small detail often overlooked in the journey to good health. Have you had your cholesterol checked recently? Whether there is a concern of high cholesterol or just trying to prevent it, it is never too late to try and improve health.
Cholesterol is a waxy like substance found in fats within the body. Not all cholesterol is bad, the body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells. With high cholesterol fatty deposits can build in the blood vessels, fat built up in blood vessels can make it difficult for proper blood flow through the arteries, and the heart may not be getting as much oxygen rich blood as needed increasing risk of heart attack.
High cholesterol can also be inherited, regular physical activity and avoiding smoking can help control it, but the primary way to lower or prevent high cholesterol is to consume a healthy balanced diet.
Foods made from whole grains such as oatmeal, rye, whole wheat, quinoa, wild rice and brown rice can help to significantly lower cholesterol levels, as they are packed with essential vitamins such as folate, thiamin, niacin, and vitamin B2. Whole grains boost iron levels that carry oxygen to the blood. Oats and barley are high in viscous fiber which can decrease serum low density lipoprotein cholesterol and blood pressure, while improving insulin and glucose responses. Grains such as wheat are high in insoluble fiber which can provide a prebiotic effect and lower glucose and blood pressure. Whole grain diets starting with a well rounded breakfast can lower calories, and lower cholesterol levels on average of 4.6- 6.5%.
Apples can not only keep the doctor away, but they are also the best fruit to consume to help with lowering cholesterol levels. Apples contain pectin and antioxidants that can lower bad LDL cholesterol and help fight inflammation which are both known to be triggers for disease and premature aging. Antioxidants along with vitamins A and C in apples protect cells from damaging effect of free radicals, and the soluble fiber helps lower glucose levels and blood cholesterol. Studies show that golden delicious apples help to decrease levels of serum triglycerides and lipoprotein cholesterol.
Adding garlic to meals not only adds a nice taste to bland plates, but this flavourful condiment also reduces inflammation and fights oxidation, though you may need a mint after consuming it. Antioxidants within garlic fight oxidation to protect blood vessels, and garlic may help to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Garlic has also been shown to help improve lipid levels, fibrinogen and blood pressure.
Dark chocolate, as an added bonus to being yummy, can help to improve cholesterol levels. Cocoa contains chemicals that interact with cell and tissue components helping to provide protection from development and amelioration of pathological conditions. Studies have shown that there was an 11% decrease in LDL bad cholesterol levels in participants after 15 days of consuming 100 grams of dark chocolate each day, and an increase of HDL good cholesterol. Using cocoa powder as a dietary supplement helps to provide a decrease in plasma levels of oxidized LDL plasma levels. Soluble fiber, and minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc, and magnesium found in cocoa are another good reason to consume the tasty semi-sweet treat.
It can feel like there are limited and bland options when dealing with high cholesterol, that is not always true, but it is very important to remember that moderation is the key. Maintaining healthy lifestyle choices accompanied with lots of water, fruits and veggies, and physical activity can help to keep high cholesterol levels under control. Talk to your general practitioner if you are concerned with cholesterol, it’s always best to be safe.
Materials provided by:
Note: Content may be edited for style and length.