Cholesterol is the main form of fat carried in the blood stream. The parts of these fats are derived from food and a part is itself produced by the body. Normal levels of cholesterol in the blood are advisable but excess of it is harmful for the body. A high level of cholesterol is the major risk factor for various heart problems.
The desirable cholesterol level in the blood is below 200 and levels above 240 shows high risk for heart diseases.
Various Ways to Lower Cholesterol
- Reduce intake of fat to just 20 gms per day. Try to use minimal amounts of sugar and avoid ice-creams and other heavy fat desserts like pastries, cookies and other bakery products.
- Avoid organ meats like liver, brain and also egg-yolks as they have high amounts of cholesterol. Egg white is beneficial as high in protein.
- Avoid saturated fats like cheese, cream and butter.
- Use olive oil and canola oil in cooking as they are helpful in lowering blood cholesterol. Safflower oil and corn oil can also be used.
- Fish contains good amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that helps in maintaining cholesterol levels and also improves vision. Fish can be taken in grilled or baked style without using much of oil. If vegetarian walnuts and flaxseed oil serves the same purpose.
- Intake of good amount of fiber in the diet helps in excreting the excess of cholesterol from the body by enhancing the bowel movement. Foods like whole grain cereals, oats, legumes, apples, pears, plums, carrots, barley should be included in the diet.
- Soy protein foods such as tofu, soy milk are good sources of protein and lowers cholesterol.
- 2-3 cloves of raw garlic when taken in the early morning help in lowering blood cholesterol.
- A good amount of exercising will help in reducing weight and finally the cholesterol levels.
- Smoking and drinking should also be avoided.