Did you know there are certain foods to lower cholesterol?
Most people are aware that having high cholesterol levels in the blood is not good for the heart; it can block your arteries and increase your blood pressure.
Modern medicine offers an easy solution to lowering cholesterol; statins. However you need to think carefully before going down this route as they can have serious side effects.
I started taking statins on the advice of my doctor and against the advice of my wife; within a few months I began to wake at night sweating and with heart pounding. I also became tense, suffered mood swings and panic attacks.
I quickly came off the statin medication and feel much better and back to my normal self.
Now I just concentrate on ensuring my diet contains plenty of the right foods.
1. Soya Products
These are naturally low in saturated fats (one of the main causes of high cholesterol). Use soya milk on breakfast cereals and in beverages. If making a cottage pie I will often use soya mince; just add more stock as it absorbs more liquid than beef or lamb mince. Aim to eat 15g of soya per day to lower your cholesterol by around 6%
Nuts are low in saturated fats and high in fibre. They also contain the essential elements magnesium and potassium, plant sterols and nutrients. I always add a few nuts and seeds to my breakfast cereal which gives me the recommended 30-35g per day to lower cholesterol levels by up to 5%.
3. Barley and Oats
The Beta Glucan contained in barley and oats helps bind cholesterol in the intestines and prevent it being absorbed. Porridge is an enjoyable way to get a regular helping of oats and this food will also help the good gut bacteria to thrive. Barley can be used in soups and stews.
4. Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and Vegetables contain soluble fibres and are thus good foods to lower cholesterol as well as being naturally low in saturated fats. Particularly beneficial are pulses such as beans, peas and lentils (think tasty curries or Moroccan recipes here). Other foods to enjoy include broccoli, sweet potato, aubergine, strawberries and apples.
5. Oils rich in unsaturated fats
Cooking oils are an essential ingredient in many recipes so choosing those high in unsaturated fats will help to keep your saturated fat intake within the recommended levels of 20g (women) and 30g (men). Use olive, sunflower, rapeseed and corn oils.
Oily fish such as salmon and mackerel is also good for us and use spreads made from vegetable oils for spreading on bread or for general cooking.
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