Fruits and Vegetables
Vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, the healthy plant chemicals called phytochemicals and antioxidants. These are essential nutrients that help in reducing LDL cholesterol. Fruits on the other hand are also rich in healthy phytochemicals, antioxidants and fiber and therefore have the same effect.
Oatmeal and oat bran
Oatmeal and oat bran are rich in soluble fiber. Soluble fibers lower the LDL cholesterol without lowering the HDL cholesterol.
- Daily intake of five to 10 grams of soluble fiber decreases LDL cholesterol by about 5 to 23%.
- One bowl of oatmeal contains about three grams of soluble fiber.
- Combination of oatmeal with other soluble-fiber-rich foods such as psyllium, apples, kidney beans, pears and barley in the diet is good for a cholesterol patient
Fish is a good source of protein and omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol. The specialty of Omega 3 fatty acids is that it lowers triglyceride levels.
Weekly intake of two servings of fish, particularly fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon, sardines, trout and herring is recommended.
Fats like olive, canola, flax, walnut, peanut, and sesame oils fight internal inflammation, improve cholesterol levels, boost the immune system, and maintain the health of the brain and the central nervous system.
It has been advised by The American Heart Association that the total fat intake has to be between 25 to 35% of the total calorie intake. However, the saturated fat intake should be less than 7% while Trans fat intake should be less than 1% of the total calorie in take.
Nuts are a good source of fiber and phytonutrients. They are also a good source of antioxidants such as Vitamin E and selenium, plant sterols, and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Daily intake of 1.5 ounces of nuts, particularly almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, some pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts are recommended. Nuts can be best used as a replacement food for products that are rich in saturated fats such as meat.
Foods fortified with Plant Sterols
Plant sterols or stanols are powerful substances that have the ability to block cholesterol absorption. They are naturally found in plants. Daily intake of two servings of sterols-fortified foods results in a 10 to 15 % drop in LDL cholesterol levels.
Patients with high cholesterol should eat 2 grams of plant sterols or stanols every day.
These are present in:
- Margarine spreads
- Orange juice
- Salad dressings
- Functional cookies
Beans like kidney, chick peas (garbanzos), lentils, split peas, black-eyed peas, and white beans, are high in antioxidants and fiber. These are also effective in improving the cholesterol levels.
Soy products can be used as a substitute for animal products. Soy reduces LDL cholesterol by 3%. Moreover, soy products are a rich source of polyunsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals and have low levels of saturated fat.
Next page: Risks and hypercholesterolemia
Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last updated: July 26, 2012