Lower Your Cholesterol, Naturally!!!
Heart diseases are one of the leading causes of death, responsible for one death every 20 seconds Indians as a race, are more liable to heart diseases because of their genetic make up. Their vulnerability to heart attacks is more as compared to Europeans, Americans and other Asians. Latest studies tell us that one in every four Indians will suffer from heart disease in his/her life. In addition to genetic pre-dispositions, acquired factors like our eating habits add fuel to the fire. We are fond of eating rich, fried and fatty foods. Earlier, these foods were required because of work requirements, exercise and our love for war like sports. Now we do not exert physically any more, but still we are not ready to shun our love for the ‘desi ghee’.
Panjiri sound great and already our saliva secretions have intensified while reading the name. ‘World stroke foundation’ has warned new mothers not to use it as it has proved to be neat cause for brain stroke.
Our life style and genetic pre-dispositions are like a time bomb that is constantly tickering over us.
Our eating habits are leading us to increased cholesterol which in turn is a royal road to heart diseases. But it is never too early or too late to protect our heart. And there’s no better time to do it now.
One major factor that is responsible for increasing risk for heart diseases is increased levels of cholesterol in the blood. Let us first understand what cholesterol are and how they are responsible for increasing risk for heart diseases.
Cholesterol is found in our bodies in particles called lipoproteins. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are deemed “bad” cholesterol because high levels of them can lead to a buildup of plaque in your arteries. This thick mass narrows your arteries, restricting the flow of blood. Eventually the plaque ruptures and a blood clot forms, cutting off the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients to the heart or brain. High-density lipoproteins (HDL), on the other hand, are dubbed “good” cholesterol for their ability to pick up the LDL clogging our arteries and take it to the liver, where it’s processed and eventually excreted.
The scientific evidence is indisputable that lowering your cholesterol reduces your risk of contracting heart disease and of dying from a heart attack. Cholesterol-lowering plan is as tasty as it is effective. Here is list of cholesterol-lowering foods that will satisfy our stomach and keep our ticker healthy.
These are the seeds of flax plant. They contain several essential nutrients including calcium, iron, niacin, phosphorus and vitamin E. Flax seeds are known as ALSI in Hindi and Panjabi. It is also known as jawas, alashi and linseed. They are rich source of omega-3 fats that are good for heart.
Flax seeds resemble TIL in size and appearance but are brownish in color. Flaxseeds contain lignin and soluble fiber, which block the ‘production of LDL’ and increase our body’s ability to get rid of cholesterol.
So, they lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels. They may also help lower blood pressure and blood triglycerides. They also help platelets from becoming sticky therefore reducing the risk of a heart attack. Ways to include flax seeds in home cooking are mentioned below:
- sprinkle ground seeds on cereal and salads.
- substitute flax seed mix for eggs in home baking.
- substitute flax seed oil for other oils.
Psyllium Husk (Isabgol)
Psyllium, the main ingredient in Metamucil, is a soluble plant fibre. It is useful for both diarrhea and constipation. Psyllium husk, ‘blocks cholesterol from entering intestinal cells’. It’s among most powerful LDL-lowering viscous soluble fiber in existence. This fiber soaks up cholesterol so one excretes it rather than absorb cholesterol into intestinal cells. Best time to consume is to take half of daily dose of Metamucil before breakfast and half after dinner.
Oats are rich in beta-glucan, a special type of soluble fiber that acts like a sponge to ‘soak up cholesterol’. It is available in market in the form of flour, cereals and some snacks. Oat-bran is a highly concentrated source of beta-glucan, and it’s easy to mix it in other flours.
Almonds contain two powerful antioxidants – vitamin E and flavonoids – both of which prevent the ‘oxidation of LDL’, a precursor to plaque buildup. So, consume almonds as per your needs.
Garlic impedes the liver’s ‘ability to make cholesterol’. It has been important ingredient used in Indian kitchens. Use it to the max as per your taste and body’s requirements.
Apples, particularly the skin and outer flesh, are rich in polyphenols, powerful antioxidants which helps ‘prevent plaque buildup’. So, an apple a day, keeps cholesterol away.
Soy protein contains phytoestrogens – compounds that ‘increase the number and effectiveness of LDL cholesterol receptors’, improving the liver’s ability to get rid of cholesterol in the bloodstream.
We can get soy proteins by adding following eatables in our food. E.g. Soya flour, Soya oils, tofu, Soya souses, Soya margarine, Soya sprouts, Soya nuts, Soya milk and Soya flakes.
Phytosterols are natural plant estrogens found in plant foods like fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils. They interfere with cholesterol absorption by ‘blocking cholesterol from entering intestinal cells’. They are also said to prevent cancers. Best source for phytosteroles are Acai berries, but found in most of the berries.
Beans contain a special type of soluble fiber that gets fermented in the colon. Healthy bacteria eat the fiber and bean sugars to form short-chain fatty acids, which travel to the liver and ‘hinder LDL cholesterol production’. All beans contain lots of nutrients, but red beans have the greatest amount of antioxidants.
Brisk exercise speeds up the blood flow in your arteries, reducing your chances of inflammation and clogging (two precursors to hardening of the arteries). Aim to take 10,000 steps a day.
Following mentioned diet regimen and exercises, we can get off from the royal, slippery and fatty road, made up of cholesterol, leading us to heart attack.