High levels of cholesterol can pose a great risk of heart disease and stroke. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), a third of ischaemic heart disease globally is attributable to high cholesterol. Not all cholesterol is bad and your body needs some of it to build healthy cells. However, with high levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein), cholesterol one can develop fatty deposits in blood vessels which could make blood flow in arteries difficult. Sedentary lifestyle and wrong foods choices can cause high cholesterol and a range of chronic diseases. Certain foods can help cut bad cholesterol and one must try to include them in daily diet. (Also read: High cholesterol: 7 unhealthy eating habits that raise bad cholesterol levels)
“Cholesterol is a major health concern globally, with an estimated 50% of adults suffering from high cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels increase the risk of heart disease, which is one of the leading causes of death,” Dietitian Garima Goyal told HT Digital in an interview.
FOOD COMBINATIONS TO LOWER CHOLESTEROL
Goyal suggests food combinations that can help you manage cholesterol and keep your heart healthy.
1. Dal and Brown Rice
Dal is a staple in Indian cuisine and is packed with fibre, which helps to reduce LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein), often referred to as bad cholesterol. Brown rice is a great source of whole grains, which has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease by 20%.
2. Turmeric and Black Pepper
Turmeric is a spice that has been used in Indian cooking for centuries and has anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-lowering properties. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism found that taking a supplement containing turmeric and black pepper for 12 weeks significantly reduced LDL cholesterol levels in people with high cholesterol. Black pepper contains piperine, which enhances the absorption of curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric. The combination of these two spices makes a flavourful and nutritious combination that can be added to curries, soups, and gravies.
3. Almonds and Yoghurt
Almonds are a great source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and protein, which can help to lower LDL cholesterol levels. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that eating yogurt can lower total cholesterol levels by up to 4%. Yogurt contains probiotics, which can help to improve digestion and reduce inflammation. Together, these two foods make a satisfying and nutritious snack that can be enjoyed any time of day.
4. Green Tea and Lemon
Green tea is a popular beverage globally and is rich in antioxidants that can help to lower LDL cholesterol levels. Lemon contains flavonoids, which possess cholesterol-lowering properties. Together, these two ingredients make a refreshing and healthy beverage that can be enjoyed hot or cold. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming flavonoids like those found in lemons can help to reduce the risk of heart disease.
5. Garlic and Onion
Garlic and onion are staples in cooking and have both been shown to have cholesterol-lowering properties. Garlic contains allicin, which has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels, while onion contains quercetin, which can help to prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. These two ingredients, when combined, are not just flavourful, but healthy in curries, soups, and gravies.
It’s important to remember that making small changes to your diet and lifestyle can have a big impact on your health in the long run.