14th June 2012
Contributing Writers for Wake Up World
Cholesterol certainly has had its share of the spotlight over the last 50 – 60 years; although not all of that glamour has been good. Cholesterol has been chastised for its so called artery clogging effects. Many of us were, and still are convinced that cholesterol was and is the main culprit for the rise of heart attacks and strokes; Some of this statement may be true, however, much of the story was never told, costing many of our past and present relatives premature death. Cholesterol is a steroid lipid found in the blood, which is necessary for the proper functioning of cell membranes. Contrary to popular mainstream belief, Cholesterol is not the primary culprit in the rise of “heart disease”, it is rather our inability to take responsibility of our own actions, and thus, we put blame on things that enable us to continue living in a state of disconnect and irresponsibility.
You see, cholesterol is not the source of all evil, it is rather the poor choices (dietary and otherwise) we make in life which bring about its over production – similar to putting the blame on cancer cells. Of course, many of us are now familiar with the good (HDL) and bad of cholesterol (LDL) cholesterol, although let us not focus entirely on this duality- as both varieties have their purpose. Essentially, what this all boils down to is that we are consuming too much “bad” cholesterol laden foods, thereby elevating our LDL cholesterol levels beyond the natural ratio. Our body naturally creates this substance for a particular reason, so why does it make sense to take medication in order to lower the levels, when we can both lower LDL and raise HDL to proper ratios, through the food we eat!
Cholesterol’s primary function is to heal (much like cancer), whereby it acts to lessen inflammation. Simply put, our bodies are telling us to take a look at what we are doing, and re-evaluate our choices, for we are what we eat. Nothing is truer than this fact. In the meantime, for those who are suffering from uncharacteristically high levels of blood cholesterol, you still have hope to change things around. Let us offer you suggestions to help treat the cause rather than the symptoms. We have listed below some of the best foods you can eat right now to help bring you cholesterol down.
Top Five Cholesterol Lowering Foods
1. Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats (Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Avocados)
Foods that contain high levels of these substances are by far the best foods in lowering your LDL cholesterol. By substituting your diet from saturated animal fats, to healthy sources of saturated fats like olive oil and/or avocados, this can achieve a reduction of LDL cholesterol by nearly 15-20%compared to those who on a diet higher in saturated animal fats.
2. Flax Seeds
Up to 50 grams of Flax Seeds a day has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol in healthy young adults by up to 8%, and 38 grams of flax seeds per day reduced LDL cholesterol by 14% in people with high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia). Not only does this food provide you with cholesterol lowering capabilities, but it also provides us with many other important nutrients, like omega 3. Flax Seeds can be easily added to your cereal in the morning, or topped on salad as an oil.
3. Bran (Rice, Oats)
Studies have shown that bran has significantly lowered LDL blood cholesterol levels. Oat bran in particular has been proven to reduce levels by more than 14%.Oat bran can be added to cereals or homemade breads, or if you prefer, a hot bowl of organic steal cut oatmeal can be eaten every morning. If you are not one for oatmeal, brown rice can also be consumed in an effort to help bring down your total LDL numbers.
It has been demonstrated that half a clove of raw garlic a day can significantly reduce LDL cholesterol levels – to the tune of 12%. Consuming raw garlic is by far the best way of eating it. It can easily be added to salads, or lightly tossed in with your favorite stir fry. Pickled garlic is also a personal favourite. Whatever your taste, be sure to eat it every day in order to rep its benefits.
Several scientific studies conclude that eating a cup of almonds can reduce one’s LDL cholesterol up to nearly 10%. Almonds not only help bring down your “bad” cholesterol, but they also significantly maintain one’s bone density as they are one of nature’s highest sources of calcium. Almonds are a great snack! They can be eaten on their own, added to homemade cereals, or make into a “milk”. Almonds are also a great source of dietary fibre, which helps to maintain a healthy bowel.
- Lycopene rich foods (i.e. tomatoes)
- Whole barley
- Dark Chocolate
- Plant Sterols
- Green Tea (Decaffeinated)
These are just some of the foods you can start eating today! We should note that different diets, lifestyles, and foods will work differently for different people. It is recommended that you buy a Cholesterol Test Kit, so you can monitor your cholesterol levels at home and see which diet and lifestyle works best for you. Happy eating!
Your question(s): What other foods can you think of that reduce LDL cholesterol? (post your comments below)
About the Authors
Jordan & Kyla are passionate about health; together, they have overcome many illnesses through dietary and lifestyle changes, and the art of practicing a positive mindset daily. Kyla is currently studying to become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Reiki Master, and Jordan is currently learning about traditional North American medicinal herbs, in hopes of becoming a Certified Herbalist. For more information, please visit the following sites; guidinginstincts.com, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Pinterest