Cholesterol is a fatty substance in blood, which when increased tends to stick to the inner layers of arteries and affects the free flow of blood. In extreme situations the arteries can get completely blocked because of the cholesterol deposits and the blood and oxygen supply to the heart can get affected. This is commonly experienced as chest pain and is a major cause of coronary heart disease. You will get to know your complete lipid profile by doing blood investigations and comparing the normal values.
If you have high cholesterol, reducing weight is the first step towards reducing cholesterol and also the risk of heart diseases. This is mainly because most of the factors that tend to increase your weight also tend to increase your blood cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol lowering food
There are few food substances that you need to add to your daily diet. These are known to have cholesterol lowering effects and should also be consumed in order to lose weight, while maintaining health.
Fatty fish particularly contain omega-3-fatty acids having lipid lowering properties and in turn reduce the risk of other heart diseases also. They should be consumed at least twice a week. Frying or addition of oil should be avoided in the preparation and fish should be baked or steamed.
Examples: Tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines, etc.
Oat products are rich in fiber and are believed to slow down the production of cholesterol and hence must be consumed on a regular basis. It can be taken as a breakfast cereal with milk or can be cooked with vegetables.
Examples: Oat and barley products, oat meal, oat bran, etc.
All nuts are believed to be beneficial for reducing cholesterol. However, as most of them are also high in calories, only a few are advisable for your weight loss diet. They contain unsaturated fatty acids, which are heart healthy.
Example: Almonds, walnuts, etc.
Fruits contain vitamins, minerals and fiber, which can help in reducing the absorption of cholesterol in blood. It is ideal to limit the intake of high calorie fruits as they cause more weight gain.
Examples: Apples, guava, pomegranate, pear, oranges, etc.
- Other food items
Miscellaneous food items that have proved to be effective in lowering cholesterol are garlic, flaxseeds, fenugreek, olive oil, canola oil, plant sterols, etc.
Food to avoid
It is important that your refrain yourself for taking certain food items.
- Cut down on all fat rich products. Replace them with good fats like olive oil for cooking. Avoid fried food and additional use of oil, butter or cheese. Use low fat dairy products instead.
- Avoid highly processed foods and simple carbohydrates like cakes, cookies, white bread etc.
Sample meal plan
- 1 bowl of oatmeal with milk added
- 1 pear
- 2 -3 garlic petals
- 1 steamed fish
- ½ cup brown rice
- 1 bowl sprouts with vegetable salad
- ½ orange
In between: 2-3 almonds
- 1/2 bowl plain chicken soup
- 1 bowl of whole grain pasta
- 1 bowl lettuce, broccoli and peas salad with added olive oil.
- ½ bowl mixed pomegranate and apple.
Regular exercise is important in addition to this diet. Go for walking or cycling at least 45 minutes daily. It will also help to increase the good cholesterol and reduce the bad cholesterol. A collective effect of diet, exercise and a healthy routine will help you lose weight and manage healthy cholesterol levels.