10 Ways To Lower Your Cholesterol With Diet
The secret to a healthy heart lies in maintaining a balance between the good and the bad cholesterol.
The secret to a healthy heart lies in maintaining a balance between the good and the bad cholesterol.(Photo: iStockphoto)

10 Ways To Lower Your Cholesterol With Diet

It may be held responsible for maximum number of heart attacks in the country but the fact still remains that cholesterol is a 100% necessary ingredient in the processes that sustains life.

Besides, all cholesterol is not made equal.

High Density Lipoprotein or HDL Cholesterol, also called “good cholesterol”, is essential to make hormones, vitamin D and cell membranes. Whereas the Low Density Lipoprotein or LDL Cholesterol, normally referred to as “bad cholesterol”, is what causes blockages, when in excess.

The secret to a healthy heart lies in maintaining a balance between the good and the bad cholesterol. And overhauling our diet is a good way to go about it. Here are some diet tips to cut bad cholesterol:

1. Adopt a Vegetable Heavy Diet

Limit intake of red meat to once a fortnight.
Limit intake of red meat to once a fortnight.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

Remember that cholesterol is found in all foods of animal origin, including lean chicken and fish, egg yolk, liver and other organ meat, as well as full-fat dairy products.

In comparison, none of the foods of plant origin including coconut and palm oil or margarine (though equally harmful because of its saturated fat content) have cholesterol.

You don’t have to give up meat entirely, but stick to white meat. Limit intake of red meat to once a fortnight and say no to rich gravies laden with lard.

2. Get Garlic Power

Begin the day with a pod or two of raw garlic.
Begin the day with a pod or two of raw garlic.
(Photo Courtesy: Pixabay)

Begin the day with a pod or two of raw garlic (have them crushed to maximise the benefits) as they are loaded with sulphide compounds which cut cholesterol, and also clear out clogged arteries by helping widen the blood vessels.

Also Read : 11 Kitchen Must-Haves That Will Help Get Your Health Hacks Right

3. Harness Vitamin E

Try poached egg over spinach, made in olive oil. 
Try poached egg over spinach, made in olive oil. 
(Photo: iStokphoto)

15 mg is the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) for vitamin E, an antioxidant that is absolutely essential to prevent hardening of your heart arteries with cholesterol.

Make sure you get enough.

15 gm of sunflower seeds (5 mg) + 15 gm almonds - about 8 (2.5 mg) + 1 1/2 cup spinach (6 mg) + 15 gm peanuts (1.2 mg) + 1 egg (0.5 mg) every day should see you through.

Also try poached eggs over spinach, made in olive oil. It ensures three excellent sources of vitamin E in one go.

Also Read : Could Almonds Help You Combat Heart Problems? Doctors Answer

4. Saturated Fat is Not Your Enemy

Don’t ban saturated fat, just go easy on it.
Don’t ban saturated fat, just go easy on it.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

Stop calling butter and ghee names.

New studies have blown the roof off the claim that saturated fat (SF) leads to heart disease. So the new mantra is don’t ban SF, just go easy on it.

Also Read : I Ate Just Fat (No Protein, No Carbs) For 2 Weeks And Lost 5 Kilos

5. Trans Fats are Bad News

Target 5-6 servings of fruits and vegetables in a day to keep your antioxidant meter up and cholesterol numbers down.
Target 5-6 servings of fruits and vegetables in a day to keep your antioxidant meter up and cholesterol numbers down.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

Trans fats raise your bad cholesterol and lower the good ones. Forego foods that contain hydrogenated oil or partially hydrogenated oil in their ingredient list (packaged snacks, chips, bakery goods and some margarine).

Please read labels carefully. Also cut down drastically on fried foods.

Chomp pomegranates. It is loaded with polyphenols - antioxidants that provide several heart-protecting benefits, including reducing LDL cholesterol. Crunch this juicy fruit at least thrice a week.

Stock up on vitamin C. Go for amla, citrus fruits, capsicum, broccoli.

Target 5-6 servings of fruits and vegetables in a day to keep your antioxidant meter up and cholesterol numbers down.

Also Read : Trans Fat Kills: WHO Wants to Remove It From the Food You Consume

6. An Apple a Day...

Pectin, a form of soluble fibre found in it helps lower cholesterol
Pectin, a form of soluble fibre found in it helps lower cholesterol
(Photo: iStockphoto)

Everything you have heard about the apples is right; it truly is a wonder fruit.

Pectin, a form of soluble fibre found in it helps lower cholesterol and the antioxidants in it prevent bad cholesterol from oxidizing and thus help lower plaque formation.

7. Snack Smart

Eating almonds significantly reduces LDL and total cholesterol numbers.
Eating almonds significantly reduces LDL and total cholesterol numbers.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

Trade that muffin (and other carb rich snacks like cookies) with almonds.

Research shows that eating almonds significantly reduces LDL and total cholesterol number, and help reduce belly fat too.

Also Read : Get Your Office Snacks Right! Try These Simple, Healthy Recipes

8. Break the Fast

Don’t skip your breakfast!
Don’t skip your breakfast!
(Photo: iStock)

Stop blaming the egg for elevated cholesterol, it is in fact skipping breakfast that leads to higher numbers.

So that’s another big reason (besides reduced appetite, body weight and heart disease risk factors) to begin eating breakfast every day.

Also Read : Want a Healthy Breakfast? Cut Out the Bread – Eat This Instead

9. Tomato Tact

Research links lycopene to reduction of LDL cholesterol.
Research links lycopene to reduction of LDL cholesterol.
(Photo Courtesy: Pexels)

If tomato is not your best friend already - please remedy that right away!

Research links lycopene (that tomato is loaded with) to reduction of LDL cholesterol. It is in fact ten times more powerful than vitamin E and its benefits get enhanced when it is consumed in purees and with olive oil.

Also Read : From Tofu to Tomato: 15 Clean Foods You Must Include in Your Diet

10. Go Whole

Have oats for breakfast!
Have oats for breakfast!
(Photo: iStockphoto)

Fibre in whole grains helps cut the risk of heart disease as it binds bile acids (needed to make cholesterol) in the body and helps whisk bad cholesterol out of the body.

So, think brown rice instead of white, multi grain instead of white bread and have oats for breakfast. Barley is a great cholesterol cutter too.

(Kavita is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico) and Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa).)

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