Among the many lifestyle diseases people are facing these days, cholesterol is one of them. Although the body needs cholesterol to create healthy cells, having too much may increase the risk of heart disease. Thus, it is important to maintain a proper diet to maintain the cholesterol level in the body. Read below to learn more.
Cholesterol is one of the most common lifestyle diseases suffered by most people across the world. Cholesterol can increase due to several factors, such as lifestyle, diet, genetics, and healthcare. A recent study by the health-tech firm Healthians suggests that out of 10 people, six suffer from abnormal levels of bad cholesterol. Individuals between 31 and 40 years of age account for the highest prevalence of bad cholesterol.
Now what is this cholesterol all about? Cholesterol is a waxy, fat substance found in the cells of the human body and is essential for various biological functions. It plays a vital role in the formation of cell membranes and the synthesis of hormones, vitamin D, and bile acids that aid in digestion. Cholesterol travels through the bloodstream on proteins called lipoproteins. There are two types of lipoproteins: low-density lipoprotein, also known as bad cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein, also called good cholesterol.
However, a spike in bad cholesterol increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes. Thus, it is important to maintain the cholesterol levels in the blood. Only medicines cannot help. We need to follow a proper diet. This diet must include some of the superfoods we have listed below.
Take a look:
Many times, you have heard that cooking in olive oil is better than vegetable oil or ghee. Extra virgin olive oil is packed with nutrients like Vitamins E and K and is also rich in antioxidants. Besides, the presence of polyphenols contributes to their cholesterol-lowering properties by protecting blood vessels from inflammation and oxidative stress.
Who said that healthy foods always have to taste bad? Cheese, which has been regarded as enhancing the taste of most junk food, is actually one of the healthiest foods for treating cholesterol. Note that cheeses made from skim milk or low-fat options have a lower saturated fat content and can be a better choice for individuals concerned about their cholesterol levels. Cheese is a good source of calcium, Vitamin B12, phosphorus, and selenium, and is also a rich source of protein.
Dark chocolate, especially the ones with high cocoa levels, has gained attention for treating cholesterol. It is not only packed with antioxidants but is also rich in fibre (11 percent) and minerals like iron, copper, magnesium, and manganese. The presence of flavonoids improves heart health by promoting healthy blood flow and reducing inflammation.
Nuts like peanuts, walnuts, and pistachios are packed with heart-healthy fats. These nuts also contain something called plant sterols, which block the absorption of bad cholesterol in the blood. Besides, they are also rich in fibre and mineral magnesium. Additionally, nuts contain antioxidants that can protect the heart and blood vessels from oxidative stress and inflammation.
The most common fatty fish Salmon is known to increase good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol. Other fatty fish, including mackerel, sardines, and trout, offer the same benefit. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which have been extensively studied for their positive effects on cholesterol levels.