Cholesterol is a wax-like substance secreted by the liver which performs several bodily functions such as maintaining cell membranes and tissues required for hormone production and aids in bile secretion. It is abundant in a wide range of animal products. However, if the cholesterol levels are too high and get clogged in the body then it can hamper the normal working of the system. Cholesterol does not get dissolved in water, but rather it is transported by the molecules lipoproteins which carry cholesterol, fat-soluble vitamins in the blood.
There are different types of lipoproteins such as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol and high levels of LDL results in cholesterol deposits in the blood vessels which can lead to stroke, heart attack and atherosclerosis. Whereas high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol helps to carry away the clogged cholesterol from the blood vessels and avert the risk of heart diseases.
Also Read: 5 Superfoods To Keep Good Cholesterol Up
Some of the contributing factors that increase the cholesterol levels include poor dietary habits, unhealthy lifestyle, hereditary and certain medications.
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Dietary modifications and choosing the right kind of food can greatly help you to reduce the cholesterol levels and improve the lipid profile. Different kind of foods functions to lower the LDL cholesterol in various ways which include adding soluble fibre in the diet which binds the cholesterol and its precursors in the gut and clears out from the body before circulation.
Monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids in the meal reduces the bad cholesterol and elevates good cholesterol. Several phytonutrients, plant sterols and stanols block the system from absorbing cholesterol.
Additional Food Sources
Avocados are filled with exceptional amounts of nutrients and are an extremely rich source of monounsaturated fats. These healthy fats help to lower LDL or the bad cholesterol and raise HDL or the good cholesterol.
Lentils or legumes are a group of plant foods that contain folate, iron, phosphorus, potassium and fiber in high amounts. Replacing refined grains with lentils lowers the risk of heart disease and balance cholesterol levels.
Dark chocolates contain cocoa powder as a key ingredient. Rich in polyphenols such as catechins and procyanidins, continuous intake of these polyphenolic compounds protects LDL cholesterol in the blood from oxidation. However, dark chocolate with a cocoa content of eighty percent or higher should be consumed.
Garlic contains various powerful plant compounds. Allicin, one of the main compounds in garlic helps lowering LDL cholesterol and keeping blood pressure in check.
Tea harbors many heart-healthy nutrients. It consists of catechins and quercetin, both are potent antioxidants. Consumption of these bioactive components helps balancing cholesterol levels. Quercetin also helps in blood vessel function and lowers inflammation.
Check out this infographic to know about 5 incredible foods that facilitate to lower LDL cholesterol.