There are numerous cholesterol medications to reduce the high cholesterol level in the body. On the other hand, you can find many over-the-counter herbal concoctions and pills for the same purpose. However, experts recommend lowering cholesterol with diet and good lifestyle changes.
Is it plausible to lower cholesterol with diet?
It is possible to lower cholesterol intake by reducing certain fat items. However, is it possible to lower the already existing cholesterol level in the body? Yes, certain foods will help to flush out the bad cholesterol from your system. Here are top food items that will help in lowering cholesterol with diet.
Lowering cholesterol with diet rich in fiber
There are several types of fiber, and the protagonist of this article is soluble fiber. The soluble fiber does not get digested as the human body does not produce adequate enzymes to break it down. Thus, the soluble fiber moves through the digestive tract as it absorbs the water around it. Soon, it becomes a thick mush. Along the way, the mush absorbs bile, and in the end, it gets excreted via stool.
The bile is cholesterol, and when your body excretes bile, your liver has to make more bile by using cholesterol. If you reduce cholesterol-rich food and improve fiber in your diet, the liver will end up using the accumulated cholesterol for bile, thereby lowering the cholesterol level.
The soluble fiber is rich in whole grains, beans, apple, legumes, citrus, flax, etc. It is essential to take at least 5 to 10 g of soluble fiber per day.
Lowering cholesterol with diet rich in antioxidants
Those who consume an adequate amount of vegetables and fruits have a higher chance of lowering cholesterol with diet. The presence of LDL (bad cholesterol) is not a health concern, but its oxidizing action forming plaque in the arteries is the red flag. If you are consuming an adequate amount of antioxidants, it will prevent the oxidizing process.
Beyond significantly lowering the cholesterol level, it reduces the cholesterol’s negative effect, thereby reducing the probability of getting heart diseases. According to a study, those who consume four servings of vegetables and fruits per day have 6% lower bad cholesterol than those who eat two servings or less.
Lowering cholesterol with diet rich in spices and herbs
Ginger, turmeric, and garlic are some of the major spices that can lower cholesterol when consumed regularly. All it takes is one clove of garlic per day for 90 days to reduce the cholesterol level by 9%. The spices and herbs contain a high amount of antioxidants too. If you prefer lowering cholesterol with diet, try to add an adequate amount of cinnamon, thyme, sage, oregano, clove, allspice, mint, and others.
Wherever possible, try to substitute dried spices with fresh ones. A ginger powder or turmeric supplement is not as effective as the raw herb. If you are drying herbs at home using natural methods, it is a good choice.
Add fat to lower cholesterol
It might look confusing to try lowering cholesterol with a diet rich in fat. Isn’t fat the leading cause of cholesterol? Yes, but remember that there are two types of cholesterol and good cholesterol or HDL is essential for a healthy body. If you substitute saturated fat foods with unsaturated ones, you can lower your cholesterol level by 9% in eight weeks.
Saturated fat is abundant in butter, ghee, biscuits, cured meat, cheese, sausage, bacon, cakes, coconut oil, lard, etc. Unsaturated fat is abundant in avocado, vegetable oil, fatty fish, nuts, peanut butter, olive oil, peanut oil, etc.
Keep trans fat to a minimum
Trans fat is abundant in red meat, dairy products, processed food, and others. Trans fat is cheaper and commonly used in the food industry instead of saturated or unsaturated fat. Consuming artificial trans fat can increase the chances of heart conditions by 23%.
While buying any product, check whether the label says ‘partially hydrogenated.’ If so, you are buying trans fat. Even the naturally occurring trans fat will increase the bad cholesterol level. Natural trans fat is abundant in butter, pork, beef, milk, lamb, and others. Artificial trans fat is common in a frozen pizza, stick margarine, non-dairy coffee creamer, fried foods, refrigerated dough, microwave popcorn, shortening, and baked goods.
Lowering cholesterol with sugar-less diet
If you wish lowering cholesterol with diet, you should reduce sugar content. Do you know that the sweet drinks you consume have high-fructose corn syrup? Apart from increasing the chances of diabetes, it also increases bad cholesterol by 17% in just 14 days (when 25% of daily calories come from sugary beverages). An average male should consume only 37.5g of sugar. Women and children should consume only 25g of sugar per day.
Try the Mediterranean diet
Do not assume that the Mediterranean diet is a meal with a lot of wine. Yes, wine is a part of the Mediterranean diet, but it is also rich in vegetables, fruits, olive oil, fish, and whole grains. This style of diet reduces LDL by 8.9mg in 3 months. This decrease also positively impacts heart health. If you have heart disease due to cholesterol levels, the Mediterranean diet is the perfect option.
Adding soy to your diet
Soybeans contain isoflavones, which is similar to estrogen. This compound reduces the cholesterol level in the system and also decreases the risk of heart diseases. It is essential to choose less-processed soy sources like soy milk or soybeans rather than soy proteins or extracts.
If you wish to add supplements to your diet to reduce cholesterol, you can choose Niacin, L-carnitine, and psyllium husk. However, it is essential to talk to your doctor to learn the effects of these supplements on your body and their interactions with your medicines. It is essential to understand that these diet changes are not substitutes for your cholesterol or heart medication. It is possible to lower cholesterol with a balanced diet, but it would take considerable time to experience a significant change.