Various kinds of lifestyle diseases are affecting our health on a daily basis and high cholesterol is one of them. It is one of the root causes of heart diseases.
However, one needs to know that cholesterol is not completely bad for our body; we actually need it to produce hormones, certain digestive enzymes and Vitamin D. Our body makes the cholesterol we need but we also end up ingesting some from the junk foods we eat, thereby increasing its levels in the body.
The cholesterol is carried in the blood through lipoprotein. There are two main forms: high density and low density. The low-density cholesterol or LDL is known as the 'bad cholesterol' and HDL is 'good cholesterol'.
Here are five foods that help you fight the 'bad cholesterol':
Beans are rich in soluble fiber, which binds cholesterol and its precursors in the digestive system. It helps in dragging them out of the body before they get into circulation.
According to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, eating one serving of beans, lentils or peas every day can help reduce "bad cholesterol" significantly, by almost 5 percent.
Oats and barley
Oats and barley contain a type of soluble fiber known for its cholesterol-lowering effect. A study published in Current Atherosclerosis Reports in 2010, reveals that including more whole grains in your daily diet not only helps in stabilising the cholesterol levels but also help in reducing the risk of developing other cardiovascular diseases.
A number of studies have shown that almonds, pistachios, and walnuts are good for the heart. Pistachios are naturally cholesterol free and are a source of protein, fibre and antioxidants. Diabetes Foundation of India (DFI) and the National Diabetes, Obesity and Cholesterol Foundation did a study on 'Effect of Pistachio Nuts on Cardiovascular Health' and it was found that including pistachio nuts to the diet has a number of health benefits.
The Principal Investigator of the study was Prof (Dr.) Anoop Misra said: "This study shows multifaceted beneficial effects of pistachios suitable for Indian body type for the alleviation of multiple risk factors they have."
Seema Gulati, the research head of the National Diabetes, Obesity and Cholesterol Foundation, said: "Based on this study, we can say that pistachios provide an excellent snack option, especially for those at risk of metabolic problems and diabetes."
Strawberries can reduce the levels of bad cholesterol as well as triglycerides dramatically. A study conducted by Italian and Spanish scientists revealed it and mentioned about its antioxidant properties.
Researchers from the Università Politecnica delle Marche (UNIVPM, Italy), together with colleagues from Universities of Salamanca, Granada and Seville (Spain), conducted the research and found that strawberries can actually help in reducing cholesterol.
Having fresh avocados every day can limit 'bad' LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in the body. Dr Nikki Ford, director of nutrition for Hass Avocado Board said: "Fresh avocado, as part of a balanced diet, and as a cholesterol-free substitute for solid fats can help be part of the solution for maintaining normal cholesterol levels."