High cholesterol in blood is a concerning condition. Cholesterol is a type of fat molecule present inside every cell and is essential for their structural and functional properties.
It's an important component of cell membranes and also helps in the synthesis of several fat-soluble hormones . Cholesterol, in its natural form, is beneficial. High cholesterol levels in the form of LDL and VLDL are harmful to the liver and heart.
Chronic inflammation in the liver is often associated with high cholesterol. Inflammation of the liver is also related to high blood pressure, heart disease, and atherosclerosis.
Which foods can reduce high cholesterol?
The following foods can reduce inflammation, especially reducing bad LDL and VLDL cholesterol.
1) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
It's the best thing to cook with, as there's no risk of oxidation during cooking. It's safer to consume than refined vegetable oil.
It has a beautiful aroma and is usually drizzled on salads and pasta in Mediterranean cuisine. While purchasing extra virgin olive oil, one should check for the term 'cold pressed' on the bottle label for the best results.
2) Green Tea
Green tea is raw tea leaves dried for preparing beverages. Green tea should not be boiled and must be brewed slowly. Green tea can be consumed at any time of the day to reduce high cholesterol.
Tea leaves contain a naturally occurring compound known as L-theanine and epigallocatechin-3-gallate, which is known to reduce LDL cholesterol, due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Green tea powder can also be used in foods and cold beverages.
3) Stone Fruit
Stone fruits, including blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries, contain cholesterol-lowering compounds known as anthocyanins. These compounds are beneficial in reducing LDL cholesterol.
These fruits are often added to oats, puddings, and fruit salad. Most fruits are high in dietary fiber, which can prevent constipation and flatulence. Studies have suggested that fruits rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds can help lower the risk of heart disease and cancer. These fruits are also among the best dietary fiber foods to add to diet.
Turmeric is a popular Indian spice that contains curcumin. This plant compound recently gained popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic due to its contribution to immunity and health.
Curcumin is available in the form of capsules and tablets. It is known to reduce inflammation in the liver, which is beneficial in reducing high cholesterol. It can reduce pain and inflammation caused by arthritis too.
Spinach is a superfood that might help in reducing high cholesterol due to the presence of several natural plant compounds that reduce inflammatory cytokines.
It's one of the best low-carb vegetables to include in the diet for weight loss. Spinach is also rich in antioxidants, including vitamin C. Ascorbic acid present in spinach plays an important role in immunity. Spinach should always be blanched before cooking.
6) Bell Pepper
Peppers, red, green, or yellow contain abundant amounts of antioxidants beneficial for the heart and liver. These antioxidants, including vitamin C can reduce high cholesterol in the body. Peppers are popular in Chinese and Korean cuisine.
Natural antioxidants are usually destroyed while cooking, so peppers should not be overcooked while preparing. They can also be consumed raw and added to the salad.
Most of the aforementioned foods contain different natural plant compounds, which are beneficial in lowering inflammation. The best anti-inflammatory foods to include in the diet can reduce high cholesterol.
To get optimal results, these fruits and vegetables must be consumed without processing. When cooking these vegetables, it should be kept in mind that high heat can destroy most of the beneficial compounds in them.
That can be avoided by subjecting these fruits and vegetables to steam or low-heat cooking methods. People with chronic high cholesterol must seek urgent medical advice.
Dietary guidelines are important for the prevention of diseases but must not be confused with medical advice. A proper diet with exercise is important to reduce high cholesterol.