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Cholesterol is an oil based substance that is found in every cell of the body. It is important for the body as it contributes to the structure of the cell walls and also helps in the production of some hormones. Cholesterol is also essential as it helps the body to produce Vitamin D and digestive bile acids in the intestine. Since cholesterol is oil based, it cannot be carried by blood which is water based. Cholesterol is carried in the blood by lipoproteins. Cholesterol in the body is of two types: low-density cholesterol or LDL is also known as bad cholesterol and high-density cholesterol or HDL which is known as good cholesterol. High cholesterol level is not good for the body as it causes blockage of the arteries and thus causes several heart diseases. Increased LDL builds up plaque in the arteries which lead to atherosclerosis. It is thus essential to keep cholesterol levels in check. A healthy and balanced diet is the first step to maintaining cholesterol levels in the blood.
Organic Foods to control cholesterol:
Oats: Oats are considered to be the best organic foods that can help control cholesterol. Oats contain beta-glucan that absorbs LDL or bad cholesterol. In addition, oats contain a high content of soluble fibers that help in lowering bad cholesterol by a significant margin.
Soy: Soy contains proteins, Phytate and isoflavones which act to lower the cholesterol levels. Soy does not contain any saturated fats which increase cholesterol levels. Soy is a good substitute for meat and cheese and can be consumed without any adverse effect on the cholesterol and the heart.
Beans: Beans are very high in soluble fibers that help in lowering cholesterol. Soluble fibers form a gel in water that helps to bind acids and cholesterol in the intestines and thus prevents the re-absorption of cholesterol and keeps the cholesterol levels in check.
Salmon: Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids that help to lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL or high-density cholesterol. Salmon also helps to lower triglycerides. This further helps to keep the cholesterol levels in check.
Avocados: Avocados are a rich source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that help to raise HDL and lower LDL. Avocados are also rich in beta-sitosterol which is a plant based fat that reduces the amount of cholesterol that can be absorbed from food. Thus, avocados help to control cholesterol levels.
Garlic: Garlic helps in lowering and controlling cholesterol levels by a significant level. Garlic prevents cholesterol particles from sticking to artery walls and prevents blood clots, reduces blood pressure and thus lowers cholesterol. Garlic also prevents artery clogging as it reduces cholesterol levels and thus helps in protecting against several heart diseases.
Margarine: Margarine is believed to lower cholesterol levels by blocking the absorption of cholesterol in food and bile. Margarine contains plant sterols that help to control cholesterol levels, especially the bad cholesterol.
Spinach: Spinach contains a lot of lutein that helps to maintain cholesterol levels. Lutein helps the artery walls to remove cholesterol particles that cause clogging of the arteries and thus may lead to heart attacks.
Tea: Tea contains a lot of anti-oxidants. Tea helps to keep blood vessel relaxed and prevents blood clots. Tea contains a lot of flavonoids which are anti-oxidants that prevent oxidation of LDL that causes plaque formation in the arteries. These anti-oxidants thus help to lower and maintain cholesterol levels.
Nuts: Nuts like cashews, almonds and walnuts are foods that help in controlling cholesterol levels. Nuts contain monounsaturated fats that lower cholesterol levels by a significant margin. Nuts also contain Vitamin E, magnesium, copper and phytochemicals. These nutrients help to maintain good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol levels.
Chocolate: Dark chocolate contains a lot of antioxidants called flavonoids that prevent the blood platelets from sticking together and this further helps to keep the arteries unclogged. Chocolates also help to maintain cholesterol levels and thus are good for the heart health as well.
Olive Oil: Olive oil contains monounsaturated healthy fats. These fatty acids lower the LDL or bad cholesterol and raise the good cholesterol levels thus keeping the total cholesterol levels in check. Olive oil is one of the best cholesterol controlling foods.
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