What’s your favourite when it comes to eating? Desi Parathas, butter chicken and shahi paneer with dollops of butter/desi ghee? Or cholesterol-free foods that increase heart health?
Each time you have an oily dish (veg or non-veg), sugar or saturated foods, your heart is likely to come under stress. This could up your bad cholesterol levels leading to artery blockage, lesser blood circulation to the heart and higher chances of heart attack. It could also raise the chances of diabetes, hypertension and shorter lifespan.
There are three forms of lipids in our bloodstream:
- LDL (low-density lipoprotein) which is equal to ‘bad’ cholesterol
- HDL (high-density lipoprotein) which is equal to ‘good’ cholesterol
If you take low sugar and less fats in your diet, you can reduce triglycerides, and bring about positive changes in LDL Cholesterol and HDL Cholesterol. This means eating healthy vegetarian food is the best way to get a hale and healthy heart.
Jot down the list of foods that show you how to increase HDL cholesterol and decrease LDL cholesterol so that you can enjoy healthy living.
Power-packed nuts such as almonds (with their skin on), walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, peanuts have heart-healthy fats. That is why they are good in reducing bad cholesterol. Almond skins have substances that prevent LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol from damaging the lining of blood vessels.
Nibble a handful of almonds as pre-lunch or evening snack or sprinkle them on cereals and salads. Or add the nuts to your yogurt, cereals, rice and eat them raw or baked.Avocados
Oleic acid in avocado has low ‘bad’ LDL and is known to raise ‘good’ HDLs. The best way to enjoy avocados is by slicing and packing them into sandwiches and salads.Barley
As per clinical trials, barley added to the standard American diet showed a drop in LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol levels.
Barely has beta-glucan, a type of soluble fibre that reduces cholesterol levels.
Since barley is a good substitute for rice, you can add it to soups and rotis. You can also include barley in salad along with dried fruits, nuts and a little vinegar and oil.
Beans and Lentils
Yet another popular way of how to increase good cholesterol with vegetarian diet are beans and lentils. Bengal gram (chana), Kidney beans (rajma) and Chickpeas (Kabuli chana) are cholesterol-free, low fat, and rich in dietary fibre, which help lower cholesterol levels.
Make curries out of beans or add beans in soups, salads, stews and pastas.
Blueberries have a powerful antioxidant that lowers bad LDL cholesterol.
Enjoy blueberries as a healthy breakfast drink. All you need to do is mix a cup of frozen blueberries with half-cup of orange juice and vanilla-flavoured yogurt and blend it. You can also sprinkle fresh blueberries on breakfast cereals and eat them as snacks.
This makes a healthy breakfast that is nutritious and filling. There are 3 grams of soluble fiber in 1.5 cups of oatmeal – enough to lower your bad cholesterol.
Have a bowl of oat bran hot cereal or oatmeal for breakfast every morning. The latest trend is oat bran muffins that are equally delicious, nutritious and heart-friendly.
Being unpolished, brown rice is packed with nutrients such as vitamin B, magnesium, and minerals. This high fibre content helps in lowering blood sugar and cholesterol. Brown rice is a good substitute for white rice, pulao, dosa, or biryani.
This oil is high in unsaturated fats and helps raise the good HDL. Olive oil is the perfect replacement for vegetable oils that put your heart at risk.
Add extra virgin oil in salads and enjoy its health-oriented goodness.
All in all, eat vegetarian foods and exercise if you want to stop bad cholesterol from affecting your lifespan and happiness.