By Dt. Sheenu Sanjeev,Dietitian/Nutritionist
Though, cholesterol stimulates the proper functioning of cells, hormones and nerves; however, presence of too much cholesterol in the blood can do potential harm to your body. Excess amount of cholesterol in your blood can lead to a condition of Atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis refers to a medical condition in which the inner walls of the arteries carrying blood are deposited with fatty materials. Prolonged atherosclerosis can result in a stroke or heart attack.
The ideal level of cholesterol that should be present in your body is below 200mg/dL. If your cholesterol level is 240mg /dL or more, then it may increase your chances of suffering from a stroke or heart attack. Your liver naturally produces cholesterol, but the foods you consume may directly influence the levels of cholesterol in your body. If your cholesterol levels are high, then you may try the following foods which help bring the levels down, fast and naturally.
1. Nibble on Nuts- Researches show that walnut, cashew, almond are some of the nuts that help to bring down your cholesterol level naturally. These nuts are rich in fiber and sterols (unsaturated steroids) which can improve your heart conditions and also prevent the accumulation of bad fat in your body.
2. Opt for Oats- Opt for oats in your breakfast menu instead of butter and bread. Oatmeal and Oat bran are high fiber foods which contain soluble fiber. Soluble fiber lowers the level of harmful cholesterol by minimizing its absorption in the blood.
3. Beans are the new health foods- Kidney beans, black beans, red beans and pinto beans are all rich sources of soluble fiber which can actively bring down your cholesterol levels.
4. Feast on Fish- Fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel are rich in nutrients like selenium and omega-3 fatty acids. These variants can increase the content of good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein) and bring down the levels of bad cholesterol (triglycerides) in your body. Intake of these fish can help you to maintain a healthy heart too, thus reducing the scars of various cardiovascular health problems.