Consuming low cholesterol foods can radically improve one’s health, lower the risk of heart disease and add years of vitality to a person’s life. A diet to lower cholesterol is preferred to statin drugs typically prescribed to treat it, but low cholesterol foods are also beneficial to those currently on medications to treat this condition. By focusing on low cholesterol foods even before bad cholesterol is heightened, is among the best ways to prevent future cholesterol issues and is among the best ways to assure good health in general.
Definition of Cholesterol
Manufactured in the liver of humans and animals, cholesterol is a waxy, fatty material, which is used to manufacture vital bile acids that assist in normal fat processing, hormones and necessary amounts of vitamin D.
Although cholesterol is a naturally produced substance that is helpful in the body’s proper functioning, when excessively high amounts of cholesterol invade the bloodstream, a buildup occurs which can lead to life-threatening heart disease.
Causes of Cholesterol
Cholesterol finds assistance in traveling through the bloodstream by joining with proteins referred to as Lipoproteins. Depending upon the amounts of the substance already present in the bloodstream, however, cholesterol levels may be referred to as ‘bad cholesterol’ or ‘good cholesterol’.
Also called High Density Lipoproteins (HDL), good cholesterol actually refers to lipoproteins that work to gather excess cholesterol in the blood stream and redirect it to the liver where it is then disposed of.
On the other hand, Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) are called bad cholesterol since it is these lipoproteins that fail at directing excess cholesterol for disposal in the liver. Instead Low Density Lipoproteins keep this now dangerous cholesterol circulating throughout the bloodstream. Over time, this dangerous build up of unused cholesterol impedes blood circulation, becomes plaque and creates coronary heart disease.
Research indicates that high cholesterol can be inherited. However, it is most commonly created by a poor, imbalanced diet, as well as by being overweight and by not engaging in enough physical exercise. People who have diabetes and who are either unaware of their condition or who do not closely monitor the disease are considered to be at high risk for developing high cholesterol as both conditions progress. Also, women who are post-menopausal are at an increased risk for high cholesterol.
Symptoms of Cholesterol
High cholesterol, unfortunately, often is not accompanied by many visible symptoms. It is most often detected in a routine medical evaluation.
The high-risk categories discussed above include some of the key indicators that cholesterol levels may be high in a person.
People who have high cholesterol often present symptoms of other illnesses, which have been caused by high cholesterol, such as heart disease and stroke.
High Cholesterol Diet: Low Cholesterol Foods
High Cholesterol Diet:
Since cholesterol is introduced to the bloodstream by the foods we eat, it is important to learn which foods should be avoided and which should be increased in order to create a diet that is low in cholesterol.
Foods that should be eaten in moderation are foods that contain saturated fats. Saturated fats are found in animal-based foods.
- Whole-milk dairy products
- Ice cream
- Cream cheese
- Certain shellfish, such as shrimp
- Other organ meats, such as kidney and brain
- Duck and goose (which have more cholesterol than chicken or turkey; the skin on these animals is high in cholesterol).
Special mention is given to organ foods, such as animal liver, animal hearts and animal brains. While these foods are considered a delicacy in some preparations, they are also high cholesterol storage and waste centers for that animal. Toxic levels of cholesterol are often present in these organs and are not advisable for human consumption at any time.
Certain food types should be avoided all together; they are foods that contain Trans fats. Trans fats were developed in a laboratory to improve the shelf life of processed foods -and they do. But calorie for calorie, trans fats are even more dangerous than the saturated fats.
- Processed foods
- Fast foods
- Fried foods
- Fatty foods
Reading the ingredient labels on food items if of particular importance, since many will maintain that they are low in fat, yet are highly processed and, often, very high in sodium, sugar or artificial sweeteners. The best advice is to consume one-ingredient foods that do not have to be processed before sale. However, when this is not possible, it is vitally important that food labels are read and that a fair amount of reading between the lines is done to assure that dangerous ingredients that can create high cholesterol are not ignored.
A diet to lower cholesterol should include as many as the following low cholesterol foods as possible:
- Olives (and olive oil)
- Fish (and fish oils, also known as Omega-3 Fatty acids)
- Cranberry juice
- Pomegranate juice
- Acai juice
- Whole grains
- Pistachio nuts
- Black soybeans
- Natural yogurt (not the common dessert varieties that are filled with artificial flavorings, artificial coloring and artificial sweeteners)
When preparing meals, it is best to remove all skin and fat from meats. Also, avoid frying low cholesterol foods as much as possible. Broiling, boiling foods, and even eating fruits and vegetables raw is the best alternative to frying.
To lightly sautÈ low cholesterol foods, try doing so in a vegetable broth or white wine vinegar, instead of oil or butter. It is important to also note that while, olive oil is a low cholesterol foods and is considered a so-called ‘good oil’, it is not advisable for cooking as its nutritional value is destroyed as it is heated. Olive oil is best reserved for use as a dressing or a condiment that can be added to food after it has been prepared. Instead, oils such as safflower oil or virgin coconut oil are advised when a recipe requires that an oil be used. Butter should be limited as much as possible and butter substitutes should be strongly avoided.
As part of a diet to lower cholesterol, it is important to also maintain key amounts of daily exercise in an effort to keep blood properly circulating. Getting adequate amounts of rest is also helpful in allowing the body time to heal, which it can do naturally if given the opportunity. In approaching natural cures and home remedies, it is important to do so with holistic health in mind. In doing so, a person can rebalance not only their diet and cholesterol levels, but also mental and spiritual health, which is crucial in vitality and longevity.
By increasing low cholesterol foods and decreasing those that contribute to bad cholesterol levels, a diet to lower cholesterol is achievable. Even for those already taking medications, a low cholesterol diet is imperative in rescuing the body from the affects of LDL. With discipline, determination and a radical change in dietary habits, high cholesterol can be eliminated and good health can be recovered naturally.