High blood cholesterol levels indicate an elevated risk of heart attack and cardiovascular diseases. If you want to prevent such afflictions or stop them from developing, you need to avoid a diet high in cholesterol.
Stay Away From Saturated Fat and Trans Fat
One of the first things that you have to do is to reduce the intake of saturated fat and trans fat. Besides pure cholesterol, which comes from animal products, these fats are the main cause of elevated blood cholesterol levels. The main sources of trans fatty acids and saturated fats are foods of animal origin and processed foods. Tropical vegetable oils and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are also high in cholesterol and need to be avoided.
Consume Healthy Foods
While some foods are popular for not containing any cholesterol, others are even able to reduce the blood cholesterol levels. A few examples are:
- Brown rice
- Oats and whole grains
- Soy products
These foods are either rich in antioxidants or contain polyunsaturated fatty acids. Prevention of atherosclerosis is achieved when consuming the aforementioned foods, because they maintain the health and elasticity of the blood vessels. However, the results are not seen immediately and may require at least 4 weeks.
Eat Foods Rich in Fiber
Foods rich in fiber seem to have cholesterol lowering effects. In order to decrease the cholesterol levels by 5 percent, you need to assure a soluble fiber intake of 5 to 10 grams per day. Apples, for instance, contain pectin – a soluble fiber – which is able to eliminate low-density lipoprotein from your body. Moreover, apples contain flavonoids, which are able to prevent cholesterol blocks from forming inside the blood vessels. Flavonoids are also available in grapes, and it has been demonstrated that moderated consumption of red wine can reduce cholesterol levels. In contrast, consuming high amounts of alcoholic beverages may increase your low-density lipoprotein levels.
Beans also include considerable amounts of soluble fiber. Besides that, they are a good source of protein and can successfully represent a red meat substitute. The latter includes saturated fats and hence, is rather dangerous to people with hypercholesterolemia.
Focus On Healthy Fats
Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are classified as healthy fats and should not be missing from your diet. In contrast to saturated fat, which is solid at room temperature, unsaturated fats are liquid. Regular consumption of these fats is commonly associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Some sources of monounsaturated fats include:
- Canola oil
- Peanut oil
- Olive oil
- Almonds and hazelnuts
- Pumpkin and sesame seeds
Polyunsaturated fats, on the other hand, are available in:
- Sunflower oil
- Corn oil
- Soybean oil
- Flaxseed oil
- Flax seeds
Omega 3 is among the essential fatty acids that cannot be produced by your body. Because of this fact, consuming fish such as salmon is recommended at least twice a week. These polyunsaturated fats also act as antioxidants. Therefore, besides being able to lower your blood cholesterol levels, they can also prevent cancer and heart diseases.