Unhealthy lifestyle choices is one of the primary reasons behind high cholesterol. But what exactly is cholesterol? Cholesterol is a wax-like substance produced in the liver and has many important functions. It helps to keep the walls of cells flexible and is needed for the creation of several hormones, but high cholesterol levels can lead to severe heart diseases. It increases the risks of heart disease and strokes.
Like fats, cholesterol doesn’t deposit in water. Cholesterol transport in the body depends on molecules called lipoproteins which carry cholesterol in the blood.
Various lipoproteins have different effects on a person’s body. For instance, high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) result in cholesterol deposit in blood vessel walls. This can lead to clogged arteries, strokes, heart attacks and kidney failure. High-density lipoprotein (HDL), on the other hand, takes cholesterol away from blood vessel walls and prevents heart diseases.
Following a good diet and exercise schedule greatly help in maintaining cholesterol levels. Apart from this, here are some kitchen items that will help you control cholesterol.
Home remedies to control cholesterol
Honey is rich in vitamins and minerals and helps us maintain cholesterol. The antioxidants that are present in honey don’t let cholesterol move out of the blood. They restrict the entry of cholesterol into the lining of the blood vessels.
One teaspoon honey should be added to a cup of water. To this solution, add 8-10 drops of apple cider vinegar and one teaspoon lemon juice and drink it.
Turmeric cuts down the cholesterol deposited on the walls of arteries. Add turmeric to your vegetables or add some turmeric in a glass of milk and drink before going to sleep. This will reduce bad cholesterol.
However, the best way is to drink the solution of half a teaspoon turmeric and warm water after waking up in the morning.
Garlic contains sulphur compounds that increase its therapeutic properties. Various scientific studies have shown the benefits of garlic in reducing total and LDL cholesterol significantly. It was also found that garlic can help in maintaining blood pressure. Consuming 1/2-1 garlic clove daily can reduce cholesterol by 9 per cent.
4. Green tea
Green tea has the highest concentration of polyphenols which not only lowers LDL cholesterol but also improves HDL cholesterol. A study also found that people who drink green tea have lower cholesterol levels as compared to those who don’t. Studies have also shown that polyphenols of tea may block cholesterol absorption in intestines and help get rid of it.
Drink two-three cups of green tea for controlling your cholesterol.
5. Fish with omega-3 fatty acids
This one is only for the non-vegetarians. Salmon, tuna, lake trout, herring, sardines are some of the fishes that have a higher presence of omega-3 fatty acids. Most studies have shown that a combination of nutrients present in fish with omega-3 fatty acids is good for our heart. It also reduces the chances of dying from a heart attack.
6. Eating more soluble fibre: fruits, vegetables, oats, beans
Soluble fibre absorbs water to form a thick, gel-like substance in a person’s digestive tract. It improves digestion and lowers levels of LDL cholesterol and improves overall heart health.
Foods that are rich in soluble fibre include fruits, vegetables, oatmeal, brown rice, legumes and beans.
One must be careful in over-consumption of soluble fibre as it leads to constipation, bloating and stomach pain. Its consumption should be increased over a period of time.
Amla is rich in antioxidants and essential amino acids which lower the cholesterol levels. One or two amla fruits can be consumed daily. A glass of juice of lukewarm water with one teaspoon dried amla can also be consumed once a day.
8. Coriander seeds (dhaniya)
Coriander seeds have been mentioned in Ayurveda for multiple ailments. It has a high level of antioxidants that bring down cholesterol.
To use this, boil one teaspoon coriander seeds in water for two minutes. First, it should be strained and then drunk.
9. Consume more mono-saturated fats (nuts, avocados, vegetable oils)
Avocados, nuts such as peanuts, almonds, vegetable oils such as sesame, olive and sunflower are rich in mono-saturated fats.
10. Use polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-3
These lower LDL cholesterol and reduce heart disease risks. Omega-3 fatty acids are good for the heart and found in seafood and fish oil supplements.
However, one must make sure that high-levels of cholesterol is basically a lifestyle disease. And therefore eating right and exercising daily will automatically keep us away from this illness. Smoking and drinking alcohol are bad for the maintenance of cholesterol levels. Trans fats like processed and packaged foods should also be avoided. And always consult a doctor if your health condition is serious.