Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in your blood, mainly High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL), a.k.a the good cholesterol and Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL), a.k.a the bad cholesterol. Elevated LDL cholesterol levels increase your risk of developing heart disease and stroke. However, there are few changes you can make to improve your total cholesterol level and maintain a healthy cardiovascular system
1. Avoid trans-fat
Trans-fat increases the risk of developing heart disease and raises your bad (LDL) cholesterol and lower good (HDL) cholesterol. Trans-fat is mostly in food made with hydrogenated oil and fats such as margarine, crackers, and fries.
2. Limit saturated fat
Saturated fats are usually hard at room temperatures, such as butter and red meat. They could raise your cholesterol level and increase your risk of stroke and heart disease. To avoid saturated fat, try to reduce the intake of red meat and compare the food label when you shop to choose the food with lower saturated fat.
3. Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are healthful and essential type of fat for eyes, brain and all cells development. Aside from sourcing from the well-known fatty fishes, it is also readily available in a wide variety of plant foods such as walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, seaweed and algae. Eating a variety of omega-3 sources is equally important as eating abundant of them.
4. Eat more fruits and vegetables
Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can increase cholesterol-lowering compounds in your diet. These compounds known as plant-sterol resemble cholesterol and limit the absorption of cholesterol into the intestine. How many fruits and vegetables should we eat? Well, aim for 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables a day.
5. Choose wholegrain food
Eating plenty of fibre does not only prevent constipation but also help to curb LDL cholesterol. We should take different sources of fibre including whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, barley and whole wheat. Choose wholegrain breads, cereal, pasta, rice and noodles.
6. Eat more plant-based protein
These are some excellent plant-based protein including beans such as soya beans, edamame, tofu and lentils. Rather than just building muscles, these protein help to lower cholesterol. According to FDA, daily consumption of more than 25g soy protein is beneficial in reducing LDL cholesterol.
This article is written by Ms Wu Suet Kei (Nutritionist) for Green Image Organic Enterprise Sdn. Bhd