How to Develop a Low-Cholesterol Diet

Cholesterol is a chemical substance consumed through animal products such as meat, milk, and eggs. Although your liver generates 80% of cholesterol, it tends to decrease this production if you consume a lot of this substance from food. Eating large amounts of saturated fat, trans fat, and sugars can boost this chemical substance in your body.

Don’t forget that cholesterol is not a totally negative thing. Similar to other chemical agents, it has a certain mission to accomplish. But once its production exceeds the required norm, it starts being harmful to your body. As you can guess, your dietary habits have a direct impact on the arteries in your heart and brain. In order to keep your cholesterol in the norm, you should develop a special diet that involves specific products in particular amounts. Let’s get deeper into details!

How to Proceed with a Diet?

The involvement of healthy products in a daily ratio will minimize the chances of heart issues. In order to develop a healthy diet, you should pay attention to many details. Here they are:

Include Products Rich in Soluble Fiber

A human body doesn’t have sufficient ezymes to destroy soluble fiber, so it goes through your digestive tract, absorbing water and forming a thick paste. When it circulates around your organism, soluble fiber absorbs bile that helps your liver digest fats. When your liver generates bile, it borrows cholesterol from your blood. As a result, cholesterol can be reduced naturally.

You can find soluble fiber in beans, legumes, whole grains, apples, and oranges. In order to achieve a cholesterol-lowering effect, it’s highly recommended to consume at least 5–10g of soluble fiber every day. In just 4 weeks, you can reduce cholesterol by 5-10%.

Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables

Eating fruits and vegetables is one of the best habits you can have. Fruits and vegetables involve great amounts of antioxidants, which prevent the formation of plaques in your arteries. Apart from a cholesterol-lowering effect, it can also enrich your organism with a great amount of vitamins. As a result, you are saved from the risk of heart issues.

According to the research data, you need to consume at least four servings of fruits and vegetables every day. With this eating habit, you can reduce cholesterol by approximately 6%. However, the minimal effect can be achieved even with two servings every day. If your daily ratio consists of fruits and vegetables only, you will face a 17% lower risk of heart issues over 10 years.

Use Herbs and Spices for Cooking

Herbs and spices are considered to be nutritional boosters due to a great concentration of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. According to the research studies, garlic, turmeric, and ginger are the most effective product to lower cholesterol in your body. For example, if you eat one garlic clove per day, you can decrease cholesterol by 9%.

Various herbs and spices (dried oregano, mint, oregano, thyme, marjoram, dill, cinnamon, pepper, cardamom, etc.) minimize the chances of forming plaques within your arteries thanks to antioxidants. Even though you don’t use them in great quantities, you can still achieve the desired effect within three months. Both dried and fresh herbs and spices are rich in antioxidants. Thus, they are equally effective in the fight against cholesterol.

Consume a Range of Unsaturated Fats

An average person consumes products that contain saturated and unsaturated fats. You shouldn’t ignore any of them. The main point is to keep the balance between both types of fats.

When it comes to the chemical structure of saturated fats, it involves no bonds. This allows them to get connected and stay solid at room temperature. Saturated fats can be found in meat, milk, chocolate, poultry, and fried products.

Unsaturated fats involve one double bond that prevents them from getting connected. This feature makes them liquid at room temperature. This kind of fat can be found in avocado, olives, fatty fish, and nuts.

You should receive 25 - 35% of your daily calories from unsaturated fats, and around 7% from saturated fat. Research reports that replacing most of your saturated fats with unsaturated fats can minimize total cholesterol by 9%. The maximum amounts of fats depend on the amount of consumed calories.

Maximum Calories per Day General Fat Saturated Fat
1,500 42-58 grams 10 grams
2,000 56-78 grams 13 grams
2,500 69-97 grams 17 grams

Avoid Artificial Trans Fats

Trans fats have 100% natural origins. They can be found in red meat and milk products. If consumed properly, they are not harmful to human health. In fact, they happen to be a reasonable alternative to natural saturated fats. No wonder that restaurants and food manufacturers often use them for production processes.

Meanwhile, there are also artificial trans fats that result from adding hydrogen to unsaturated fats. They can be found in margarine, crackers, and French fries. In 2018, this kind of fat was forbidden for the use in production as it has a negative impact on human health.

Minimize the Use of Added Sugars

The research studies reported that people who consumed 25% of their calories from high-fructose drinks demonstrated a 17% raise in cholesterol. Along with this issue, people also tend to have a worsening situation with heart well-being.

Considering the results of 14-year research, people have three times higher chances to die from heart issues than those people who received less than 10% of their calories from added sugars. According to the current statistics, 10% of Americans receive more than 25% of daily calories from added sugars. So, you can guess what kind of consequences they will be up to.

According to the recommendations issued by the American Heart Association, there are certain restrictions to be followed. Women and children can eat up to 100 calories (25 grams) of added sugar every day, while men can have up to 150 calories (37.5 grams) every day. Before adding products to your daily ratio, make sure that they don’t have or have a limited amount of this chemical element.

Consume Soy

Soybeans have a great amount of protein and isoflavones, which can reduce the amount of cholesterol in your body. Consequently, they have a direct impact on heart and blood circulation. If you eat soy for one month, you can increase harmful cholesterol by 4 mg. Compared to fresh soybeans, secondary products such as soy supplements and protein are less useful. Nevertheless, they can still be useful for your body.

Drink Green Tea

Green tea usually involves the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Whether you use tea leaves tea powder, you will enjoy a cholesterol-lowering effect.

According to 14 research studies, the consumption of green tea on a daily basis contributes to the reduction of the “bad” chemical agent by 2 mg. This effect is achieved thanks to the minimization of the liver’s production capabilities and clearance of barriers in arteries. Ideally, you need to drink around four cups of green tea per day in order to protect your organism from the negative effects. The risk of heart complications will be decreased by 20%.

Try Special Supplements

While a healthy diet itself is important, you can strengthen its efficiency with some supplements. Here are some of the most powerful ones:

  • Niacin: 1–6 grams can lower cholesterol by 19%.
  • Psyllium husk: 1-5 grams need to be mixed with water and consumed daily.
  • L-carnitine: 2 grams can reduce oxidation for people with diabetes. The consumption shouldn’t exceed three months.

Before you decide this or that adding, you should contact your doctor for more details. Even when it comes to seemingly harmless supplements, you should discuss their use with a medical specialist. Otherwise, the possible risks can’t be eliminated.

Eat Fish with Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The specificity of fish products is not in their ability to decrease “bad” cholesterol but rather increase “good” one. This chemical element has the ability to keep your heart healthy by minimizing the possibility of clot formations and inflammation. To achieve the maximized effect, you can eat fatty fish two times a week. The highest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids is contained in the following sorts of fish:

  • Mackerel
  • Herring
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Trout

The contained omega-3 fatty acids can decrease your triglycerides which normalize your blood pressure and prevent the formation of blood clots. If you already have some heart issues, you need omega-3 fatty acids to avoid further complications.

If you are looking for Omega-3, you should consider consuming walnuts, flaxseed, and canola oil. You can also try Omega-3 and fish oil supplements.

Reduce the Amount of Salt in Consumed Food

Salt is one of the trickiest products you consume on a daily basis. While it’s hard to stop adding salt to food completely, it’s possible to reduce its amount to the minimum. Ideally, you eat around 2,300 mg (1 teaspoon) per day. This includes the total amount of salt added to salad, fried and boiled dishes, and even sweets. At first glance, it may seem a bit challenging but it is quite possible. Once you start developing this kind of habit, you will see the result very soon.

Limit Alcohol

Alcohol drinks bring you extra calories that lead to extra kilograms. When extra kilograms lead to overweight or even obesity, you automatically become inclined to sky-rocketing cholesterol. One drink is a glass of wine, champagne, or beer may cause enough harm to your body. Here are the instructions to be followed:

  • Men can drink up to two drinks of alcohol a day;
  • Women can drink just one drink of alcohol a day.

Before you decide to buy and drink this or that kind of alcohol, you should check the amount of fat, fiber, and sodium in it.

Limit Foods with Initial Amount of Cholesterol

To keep your body and organism in the order, you should limit the consumption of cholesterol to 200 mg a day. Such products as organ meats, egg yolks, shrimp, and milk are to be consumed in limited amounts. Instead, you should include more whole-grain cereals, fruits and vegetables, and legumes into your daily ratio. If you are not sure about the products to be included and excluded to and from your diet, you should contact your doctor. You can also ask a second opinion from a nutritionist who has expertise in food values and biochemical processes in your body. With this information in mind, you will manage to develop and gain good eating habits.

Putting Together a Healthy Diet

When you think of what to buy for the next week, you should make the right decision. Think of your daily diet as a serious investment that can affect your health. Depending on the products you consume in the morning, afternoon, and evening, you decide what products to eat and in which amounts to consume them.

For example, an overly vegetarian “dietary portfolio” includes cholesterol-lowering components. The key dietary items include fruits and vegetables. You should focus on whole grains instead of highly refined ones. Also, you should add margarine enriched with plant sterols, oats, psyllium, okra, and eggplant to your daily ratio. Of course, you don’t need to eat everything at once. Instead, you can split the products into reasonable amounts and consume them on different days of the week.

Trying yourself in a cholesterol-lowering diet takes some time to get used to it. In order to expand the variety of products, you should put different products into your shopping cart. Eventually, you will get used to new textures, smells, and flavors. This is a "natural" approach to cholesterol reduction. What’s good is that it doesn’t have negative effects on your body and organism. Apart from handling a cholesterol problem, you can also sort out other health issues, such as obesity, varicose, stomach spasms, high blood pressure, excessive stress, and so on. In other words, this kind of diet will help our body and organism stay flexible and responsive. Just give it a try!

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