For generations we’ve been told that we need to fight cholesterol in order to stay healthy. So we go on all kinds of restrictions, to eliminate all manners of dietary cholesterol that we may consume and tip the balance and put ourselves at rick of hypertension and heart disease. The truth is, dietary cholesterol is not the only source. The human body produces cholesterol, to perform a variety of important functions. Cholesterol is produced in the liver, and plays a vital role in maintaining healthy cell membranes, building crucial hormones and vitamins. Cholesterol also forms bile production. Bile is a greenish fluid, also produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder, and used in the digestion of food that contains fat. Bile acts as an emulsifier, breaking down large globules of fat into smaller particles so they can mix better with the enzymes that digest fat.
What Is Good And Bad Cholesterol?
Lipoproteins – the vehicles for fat and cholesterol – transport fat to different parts of the body. There are two types of lipoproteins 1) high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) and 2) low-density lipoproteins (LDLs). These are often popularly called good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL)
As the name suggests, HDLs are the denser. This means that they consist mostly of protein, and also contain some cholesterol phospholipids and very little fat. LDLs, in contrast, are low-density but contain larger proportion of cholesterol. HDLs travel around the body picking up the excess cholesterol that sticks to is found stuck to arteries, and unloads it to the liver for disposal. LDL on the other hand, distributes cholesterol to cells that seem to be running short it. Unfortunately, LDL can infiltrate the walls of arteries, leaving behind cholesterol that eventually turns into plaque a hard, waxy buildup which can block blood flow in the arteries.
How Can The Two Be Balanced?
Considering the body manufactures these two kinds of cholesterol and they play a vital role in the body, it is important not to obsess over eliminating it. Think instead, about which maintaining a healthy, balanced diet that incorporates foods which boost HDLs, while limiting certain foods that are high in saturated fats and trans fats which boost LDLs. Increasing fruits and vegetables, fibre-rich foods and lowering the intake of sodium is also essential in fighting cholesterol rise.
Here is a list of cholesterol-slashing superfoods that you can incorporate more into your diet, so you can fight the danger before it reaches you:
1 - Fibre
Fibre-rich food such as barley and oatmeal contain soluble fiber that binds cholesterol making it easier to carry it out of the body.
2 - Beans and Legumes
Legumes, peas, beans and even peanuts when eaten in the right form, cooked in a healthy way are loaded with fibre and proteins, which has a direct impact on cutting LDL.
3 - Healthy Oil
Butter and solid fats are known to raise cholesterol, but oils contain unsaturated fats that help lower it. Polyunsaturated fats, found primarily in corn, safflower, sesame, soybean, and sunflower oil, slash LDL cholesterol. Monounsaturated fats, found mainly in olive oil not only lower LDL, but may also raise HDL.
4 - Nuts
Another rich source of mono-saturated fats are nuts. Consuming them in a raw form (not-fried and salted), 1 ounce daily, for one month may lower LDL cholesterol significantly.
5 - Soya
Rich in fibre, low in saturated fat, and a complete plant-based protein, soya is actually a perfect alternative for animal sources like meat and dairy. Consuming soya regularly can help lower LDL by nearly 8 to 10 percent.
Here is a section of cholesterol-friendly recipes that follow the basic principles of using healthy fats, eliminating trans-fats and are low on sodium, high in fibre. Dipping into this section is a good way to begin controlling the beast that is cholesterol, right in your kitchen.