Cholesterol is essential to carry various physiological functions, but over deposition of cholesterol in blood vessels hinder normal blood circulation causing hypertension and heart diseases. These have turned out be the leading killer diseases across the globe affecting millions.
Since these diseases do not show significant symptoms in many cases, they are also called “Silent Killers”. It is the need of the hour for everybody to be conscious about their diet and lifestyle to prevent these killer diseases.
Among two types of blood cholesterol, HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) is good cholesterol and LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) is the bad cholesterol.
According to emedicinehealth.com, normal HDL level in men should be more than 60mg/dL. Men with HDL levels of 40mg/dL or less are at high risk of heart diseases. LDL level between 100-129mg/dL is considered to be optimal; desired LDL level should be below 100mg/dL, where as LDL level more than 130mg/dL are considered to be high. The triglyceride level of men should remain below 150mg/dL and total cholesterol level should be below 200mg/dL.
Food To Maintain Normal Cholesterol Levels
According to experts, eating foods that favor the rise of good cholesterol level is the best way to lower the bad cholesterol and triglyceride level.
This common kitchen herb can miraculously lower the blood cholesterol level raising the HDL (good cholesterol) level. Chewing few cloves of raw garlic everyday in empty stomach is a popular practice to maintain normal cholesterol levels. As a powerful antioxidant, garlic prevents the oxidation of cholesterol and helps in raising HDL. Add garlic in generous amounts in your dishes for better health benefits.
Onion, if taken raw can check your blood cholesterol levels. Enriched with sulfur compounds, onion raises HDL levels and is considered as one of the good cholesterol foods. You can take raw onion with sandwiches, salads or any of your favorite dishes.
Many carry a false notion that eggs increase the bad cholesterol levels. On the contrary, eggs loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and other essential nutrients are considered as good cholesterol foods. You can include eggs in your diet, but take care not to overcook them.
Freshly prepared juice from orange is highly effective in lowering high blood cholesterol levels. Oranges are rich in antioxidants, bio-flavonoids, Vitamin C and fiber that are beneficial for this purpose.
Drink 1-2 cups of green tea regularly to lower the high blood cholesterol levels. Green tea contains polyphenols and antioxidants that prevents cholesterol absorption and maintains body weight.
Red wine contains higher levels of antioxidant called Resveratrol that helps in reducing LDL levels. Drink red wine in a moderate amount to check your body weight. If you are intolerant to alcohol, take dark colored grapes or grape juice to reduce bad cholesterol level.
Fish should form a part of your diet as they are rich in omega -3 fatty acids. These are also good cholesterol foods that raise your HDL level.
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Sea fish is much more favorable to maintain normal cholesterol levels. Sardines, salmon, mackerel and herring reduce the risks of heart diseases.
Olive oil, enriched with powerful antioxidants, helps in lowering the bad cholesterol (LDL) level. It is recommended to use olive oil instead of other oils with high fat content. Choose less processed extra virgin oil for better health benefits. “Light olive oil” means lighter in texture due to over processing and not light in fats or calories.
Oatmeal, rich in soluble fiber are considered as super foods to lower blood cholesterol levels. Having oatmeal porridge in breakfast is one of the best ways to maintain your body weight as well as blood cholesterol levels.
Include tomatoes in your daily diet or drink tomato juice regularly to maintain normal cholesterol levels. Tomatoes contain Lycopene, an antioxidant that prevents the oxidation of good cholesterol. Tomatoes also help in fighting cardio-vascular diseases.
Unsaturated fats present in Avocado lower the blood cholesterol levels and raise the HDL count.
Hot cocoa drink without sugar can be another good food to maintain normal cholesterol levels. Cocoa is the store house of antioxidants and other micro-nutrients producing multiple health benefits. Take cocoa without sugar to avoid excess calorie intake.
If you indulge in snacking, then reach out for nuts to keep you full in between meals. Walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios or peanuts are rich in poly unsaturated fatty acids that reduce the cholesterol numbers and maintain healthy blood vessels. Nuts are high in calories and so take them in measured amounts without any salt or sugar coating.
Fruits and Vegetables:
Your good cholesterol diet is incomplete without the inclusion of sufficient amounts of fruits and vegetables. These foods are rich in fiber, vitamins and antioxidants that play a major role in lowering bad cholesterol level. Go for colored fruits containing higher levels of anti-oxidants.
Foods to avoid
To maintain healthy cholesterol levels, you should stop taking fatty foods containing saturated and trans fats. Red meat, full cream diary products and few types of cooking oils will shoot up your blood cholesterol levels. Margarine, cakes and cookies often contain higher levels of trans fat that can seriously affect your cholesterol levels.
Trans fats raise the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) and lower HDL level. Avoid adding sour cream, high fat cheese and butter for your sandwiches and salads. Avoid food items containing hydrogenated oils. Check your calorie intake in whatever you have throughout the day.
Other Vital Factors To Maintain Normal Cholesterol Levels
Quit smoking, as this habit prevents the raising of HDL (good cholesterol) and increases the risk of heart disease. Go for regular physical work outs to lower down the cholesterol levels. Sedentary lifestyle is one of the prime reasons of high blood cholesterol levels.
Keep your bodyweight in check as men tend to put on extra pounds after 55 years of age leading to high blood cholesterol levels. Restrict your drinking as alcohol aids in weight gain. Statistics have revealed that apart from dietary modifications, a drastic change in lifestyle can reduce the blood cholesterol levels to about 20%.
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