Your heart might want burgers and fries but it definitely doesn’t need them. In fact, unhealthy food habits actually clog the arteries which makes it tough for the heart to function. Well, as most people are already aware, a high cholesterol level is one of the major causes of heart attacks and coronary heart diseases.
However, some foods can certainly help you eliminate the possibility of clogged arteries naturally.
What happens when your cholesterol is high?
When cholesterol is clogged in your arteries at high levels, the arteries start becoming narrow which finally causes a restriction is smooth blood flow. All the fatty food you hog on is to be blamed!
A senior consultant in Internal Medicine at the Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, Dr Tarun Sahni shares that the frequency of unhealthy food habits is a major factor that determines cholesterol levels in a human body.
How can we keep our cholesterol levels in check?
Experts believe that we must limit our intake of foods with saturated fats and trans fats such as meats, dairy products, chocolate, baked goods, deep-fried delicacies, and processed foods. Other factors that contribute to high cholesterol are obesity and uncontrolled weight along with other genetic factors.
1. Try the wholesome power of whole grains
A rich source of fiber and other vital nutrients, whole grains shall help us regulate our blood pressure and maintain a healthy heart.
So, increase your consumption of wheat, rice, oats, and quinoa to maintain a healthy heart and overall health.
2. Low-fat protein shall help your heart build muscle
It’s time to try the heart-friendly sources of protein! While fish is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids that help lower blood fats termed triglycerides, other healthy protein sources you must add to your diet are walnuts and soya beans.
3. Give classic fruits and vegetables a shot
Known to be high in fibre, fruits and vegetables shall help you to lower your cholesterol. Consuming fibre helps our body block cholesterol from being absorbed from the intestines into the bloodstream.
One of the highest sources of fibre you must try are vegetables such as beans and peas. Sweet potato, aubergine, okra (ladies’ fingers), broccoli, and fruits such as apples and strawberries are truly heart-healthy foods as well. Please remember that fresh, seasonal varieties rather than canned or non-seasonal ones are always better.
4. Go nuts!
With a rich source of unsaturated fats, a trail mix of nuts shall help you balance your cholesterol levels. Nuts being a rich source of fibre and can help block some cholesterol from being absorbed into the bloodstream from the gut.
Along with nuts being a fibre-rich food, the nutrients from protein, vitamin E, magnesium, potassium in nuts shall help keep your body healthy. Whenever you crave a snack, just have some nuts.
5. Healthy oils are the way to go!
Oils and cholesterol levels are quite interconnected! Since the key to reducing cholesterol levels is reducing the intake of unhealthy fats, it’s time to start avoiding coconut and palm oil as, unlike other vegetable oils, they are high in saturated fat. Also, cut down your consumption of butter, cheese, and saturated or refined oils.
What oils must we consume then? Increase the consumption of olive oil and mustard oil as they are some of the healthiest oils that have unsaturated fat. Unsaturated fats help our body in lowering cholesterol. For a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, choose foods such as fish and flaxseeds.
It’s imperative to keep your cholesterol levels in check by consuming these heart-healthy foods!
(With inputs from IANS)