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7 Foods to Help Lower Your Cholesterol Today

By 24 August 2021

Having high cholesterol levels is an extremely common ailment in this day and age – especially amongst men of a certain age. This is because in 2021, we eat more processed, unhealthy food than ever before, not to mention all the time we spend sitting.

 

What is cholesterol?

 Cholesterol is a type of fat found in the blood. These fats – or lipids – are either produced by the body itself or found in certain animal products. There are two main types of cholesterol low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL is also known as ‘bad cholesterol’ while HDL is called ‘good’ cholesterol.

Good, HDL cholesterol works by removing the bad LDL cholesterol from the arteries and taking it to the liver where it can be broken down and expelled from the body. LDL cholesterol on the other hand, builds up fatty deposits on the artery walls, thus making them smaller and harder for the oxygen-rich blood to flow from the heart to the other organs. This build up can also cause blockages.

 

 Why are cholesterol levels important?

 The body does actually need cholesterol. In fact, our cells use cholesterol to build up layers around the membrane which in turn protect the cell. Cholesterol is also needed to create certain hormones, as well as bile which in turn helps the digestive system to function properly. It also helps to produce Vitamin D in the body, which is especially important if you aren’t getting enough Vitamin D in your diet.

Like everything in life, cholesterol levels need to be moderated. You need enough to meet the bodies needs, but not too much to cause health issues.  Enough cholesterol to meet the bodies needs is made naturally by the liver.  But when we eat foods that are high in saturated fats and trans fats, we increase the level of LDL cholesterol in the body.

So, are you wondering: How can I lower my cholesterol naturally? If you are, then we have the answer for you here. Because we are committed to food literacy, Prinos Farm&Deli has put together a low cholesterol food list. Thus, presenting the best foods that reduce cholesterol levels quickly.

  1. Nuts: Studies show that eating nuts – especially almonds, walnuts and peanuts – can help decrease the levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in the body. This is because they provide the body with plant compounds called phytosterols, which function by blocking the absorption of cholesterol in the body thus lowering your cholesterol levels. Nuts are also high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and fibre, and contain calcium magnesium, potassium and amino acids. Essentially these nutrients help to lower your blood and pressure, protect you against heart disease and reduce your risk of heart attack.

PRinOs Tip: Make sure to eat a variety of different nuts and opt for the ones that still have their skins on and come unprocessed, unsalted, unroasted and have no added sugared.

Almonds

           2. Whole Grains – Especially Oats and Barley: So, why are whole grains such as oats, barley and bran good for people with high cholesterol? Because they are rich in a particular type of soluble fibre called beta glucan, which works by lowering bad LDL cholesterol in the blood. These foods are generally very high in soluble fibre which in turn makes them particularly good for heart health. In fact, eating whole grains has been linked to a reduced risk of heart attack or heart disease.

PRinOs Tip: Lower your cholesterol by having a bowl of porridge or oat-based cereal for breakfast. You could also add soaked oats to your smoothie for a morning health kick! Make sure you go for the plain oats without any flavourings or salt and sugar added. Natural, unrefined and unprocessed is the healthiest option.

Bowl with oats, yoghurt, raisins, and peach

        3. Fatty Fish: Fatty fish such as trout, tuna, mackerel, sardines and salmon are all bursting full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. These omega-3s work by increasing the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol in your body, which in turn improves overall heart health. Those who eat fatty fish regularly are less likely to have a stroke, heart attack or heart disease.

PRinOs Tip: Replace meat with fatty fish wherever you can in your diet to reduce the saturated fats contained in meat which increase bad LDL cholesterol. The most nutritious ways to eat fish is steamed or stewed. Stay away from fried fish, which can actually increase the risk of heart disease.

 

      4. Dark Chocolate or Cocoa: Yes, you read that right – chocolate can be good for you. But only if its high in cocoa and low in sugar. The main ingredient in dark chocolate, cocoa is packed full of flavonoids, which help to lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. This tasty treat can also help lower the blood pressure and stop the bad cholesterol in your body from oxidising which can cause heart attack.

 PRinOs Tip: Before we all run to the shops to stockpile on chocolate, make sure you are buying dark chocolate that is high in cocoa. Chocolate can also be high in sugar, but usually the darker the chocolate, the less sugar they use. Buy cocoa and add it to water or milk to make a cocoa drink that is delicious and nutritious.

Dark chocolate

         5. Fruits, Vegetables and Leafy Greens: We all know fruit and veg is good for us. But did you know they are particularly good for a healthy heart and cholesterol level? Fruit and vegetables are high in those soluble fibres that help lower cholesterol levels. One soluble fibres particularly good at lowering cholesterol is Pectin, which is found in citrus fruits, apples, grapes and berries, okra, carrots, aubergine and potatoes. Fruit and vegetables which are high in carotenoids also help your body lower its cholesterol levels, as well as reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke. This include dark leafy greens such as spinach, and many orange or red fruits or vegetables such as carrots or tomatoes.

PRinOs Tip: A lot of the healthy fibre in fruit and vegetables can be found in the skins. So forget about peeling and instead leave the skins on to get as much of that fibre as possible. Use the rind and skin from your citrus fruits in salad dressings or marinades.

 

      6. Olive Oil: This heart healthy condiment is well known for its incredible nutritional benefits. Why is olive oil good for you? Basically, it is full of monounsaturated fatty acids. These subsequently help raise good cholesterol and lower bad LDL cholesterol. Especially when they used instead of saturated animal fats such as butter or lard. Olive oil is also rich in polyphenols, which reduce inflammation in the body. Luckily for us, extra virgin olive oil is basically a staple of the Mediterranean diet. So, increasing our intake of this golden goodness is easy here in Cyprus. Particularly in 2021, when so many boutique businesses are making such premium quality products. Such as the artisan olive oils available at Prinos Farm&Deli.

PRinOs Tip: Extra virgin olive oil is most beneficial for your health when consumer raw. So, use it on your salads, add a spoonful to your smoothies, or drizzle it over already cooked meals.

 

     7. Olive Oil: This heart healthy condiment is well known for its incredible nutritional benefits. Why is olive oil good for you? Basically, it is full of monounsaturated fatty acids. These subsequently help raise good cholesterol and lower bad LDL cholesterol. Especially when they used instead of saturated animal fats such as butter or lard. Olive oil is also rich in polyphenols, which reduce inflammation in the body. Luckily for us, extra virgin olive oil is basically a staple of the Mediterranean diet. So, increasing our intake of this golden goodness is easy here in Cyprus. Particularly in 2021, when so many boutique businesses are making such premium quality products. Such as the artisan olive oils available at Prinos Farm&Deli.

PRinOs Tip: Extra virgin olive oil is most beneficial for your health when consumer raw. So, use it on your salads, add a spoonful to your smoothies, or drizzle it over already cooked meals.

 

   8. Legumes and Pulses: Firstly, legumes come from the Fabaceae family of plant. They are typically the fruit or seed of these plants. When used as a dry grain, they are called legumes. So, what are some examples of legumes? And what about legumes benefits? These powerhouse pulses include beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils. Whether legumes are good or bad for us is a much-debated topic in the nutrition world. However, they are undeniably a great source of B Vitamins, soluble fibre and plant-based protein. Additionally, they are known to help lower cholesterol, especially if you eat them instead of animal proteins.

PRinOs Tip: For an easy alternative, pick up some steamed legumes and pulses from Prinos Farm&Deli. Then use them for a quick, easy and healthy addition to recipes, salads or even in dips such as hummus. For a delicious legume rich recipe try our Greek style cooked peas.

 

Green beans

So now you know how to reduce cholesterol without medication, its time to head to Prinos Farm&Deli to stock up. Shop our online store here or visit us in store in Larnaca and Nicosia to start your low cholesterol diet today.

 

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