Cholesterol is a vital part of our body’s cells. However, anything in excess is not good. A high level of cholesterol is detrimental to health for several reasons.
Cholesterol also always has comorbidity with other health problems, including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and obesity. Therefore, ensure that cholesterol levels are in check.
The most basic way to control your cholesterol is to increase your antioxidant intake. Antioxidants are your body’s little cleaners which remove the plaque from your body which clogs up the arteries. They are also your body’s little soldiers which protect you from a wide range of diseases; varying from the common cold to cholesterol to cancer. We all want to dodge heart disease and live longer and healthier. Little do we realise that our kitchens are our medicine cabinets—not only big in size, but mighty in the power they have to give us energy and great health.
Today, researchers and preventive health experts are proclaiming the benefits of phytochemicals and how they reduce the risk and even the progression of heart disease. Best of all these are found in the humble fruits, vegetables, grains, spices and nuts!
Here are a few tips to beat cholesterol:
Drink water: Start your day with a glass of either warm or room temperature water. Continue this throughout the day. Water stimulates your cells and also flushes toxins out of your body.
Have a salad at every meal: Choose the vegetable of the season and eat it raw as a salad before lunch and dinner. Salads need not be elaborate—simply chop up two vegetables, toss them together with lemon, rock salt and any masala or light dressing of your choice. The best vegetables for fighting cholesterol are tomatoes, lemon, leafy greens such as spinach, coriander, dill, and carrots and pumpkins. The fibre in these vegetables also helps bind cholesterol in the liver so that the cholesterol levels in the blood do not increase.
Eat lots of fruits: Fruits are brightly coloured, which means that they are rich in antioxidants as well. Pomegranates and grapes are your best bet for fighting cholesterol. Apart from these, choose oranges, sweet lime, guavas, papayas, kiwis and bananas eat them whole .
Use lots of herbs and spices: Herbs and spices are rich in antioxidants and a wide variety of vitamins. They boost the flavour of your food, along with its health benefits. For instance, turmeric, garlic, coriander and cinnamon have flavanoids that fight bad cholesterol.
Switch to natural sugars: It is human nature to need sugar. Switch to dry fruits instead of munching on chocolates and sweets. This includes raisins, figs, dates, prunes and dry apricots. They contain no fat and are extremely rich in fibre and reduce cholesterol.
Switch to good fats: Do not be scared of coconut, cow's ghee or nuts. These are good quality fats. Increase monosaturated fats including mustard oil and extra virgin olive oil. Increase Omega-3 fatty acids that are found in walnuts, flax seeds and oily seeds. Walnuts are easy to carry and can replace snacking. The omega-3 connection
Snack on nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds are also rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These are an excellent substitute to oily snacks. Nuts include almonds, cashewnuts, walnuts, peanuts and pistachios. Walnuts are heart-friendly and a must daily. Seeds include sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and safflower seeds.
Drink green tea: Green tea is a zero-calorie beverage. It is rich in antioxidants and is also very stimulating.
Include barley in the diet: Barley is mentioned as one of the healthiest grains in ayurveda. It is rich in B vitamins, especially niacin, which is popular for lowering cholesterol.
No fried foods: Avoid foods usually fried in oil which is used and reused. This oil is carcinogenic. When it's heated beyond its smoke point, chemical changes occur, causing the creation of trans fatty acids and increasing bad cholesterol.
Increase cardio exercise: Its vital to do cardiovascular exercises daily. This helps burn fat in the body, reducing weight and bad cholesterol.
Maintain your vitamin levels: It is important to maintain your vitamin levels, especially vitamin B12 and vitamin D3. Since these are not easily available in food, these levels could drop easily and thus affect cholesterol health.