Foods that will actually lower your cholesterol, and foods you should stay as far away from as possible if you have high cholesterol. Read on.
What foods are high in cholesterol?
Essentially, animal products, dairy products and egg yolks are the highest in cholesterol. Egg white however has very little cholesterol. Other foods that are high in cholesterol include red meats, poultry, cheese, butter, ghee, cream, whole milk and creamy yoghurt. Skip chocolate if you are trying to reduce cholesterol intake, because it contains a lot of butter.
Are there any foods I can eat that will help lower cholesterol?
An apple a day keeps the doctor away by lowering cholesterol levels amongst other things. Citrus fruits like orange and sweet lime, berries and apricots have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels, as they are high in soluble fibre and pectin. Fruit juices are certainly good for you, but if you're looking to lower cholesterol, it's better to eat the entire fruit, fibre et al.
Certain vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes help bring down levels of bad cholesterol.
Studies have shown that olive oil actually lowers blood cholesterol, so if your cholesterol levels are high, consider switching to olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil has been found to be the most beneficial in this regard.
In India, we tend to cook most of our foods in oil. Although olive oil helps reduce cholesterol, it is never a good idea to eat too much of any kind of oil. Try out other cooking options. Instead of cooking vegetables in oil, try baking, grilling or broiling them. Stay as far away from ghee as possible! Switch to double toned milk so there's no question of storing 'malai' and shut your eyes when you pass the ghee shelves at your supermarket.
Oats and barley
Oats and barley help lower cholesterol to a fairly large extent. However, in order for them to be effective, you need to consume a minimum of two cups oats or barley everyday.
Here's a great oats porridge recipe, for two people.
Heat 1 cup water, 2 cups double toned milk and a pinch of salt in a vessel. When the mixture starts to boil, add 1 cup oats. Adjust the thickness if required by adding oats or milk. If you like, you could also add cardamom or a cinnamon stick. Mix for a few minutes, and soon the mixture will start to thicken. Remove from fire. Stir in sugar. Your porridge is ready!
Ever wonder how your grandmother consumed ghee in such great quantities, and still remained hale and hearty until the end of her days? It's possibly because of all the nuts she consumed as well. Nuts help lower cholesterol, so eat a handful of almonds everyday.
No matter what you eat, if you don't exercise it will have little effect on cholesterol levels. You don't have to tire yourself out, and you don't have to worry about weight loss. Make it a point to walk for half an hour to an hour everyday. The longer you walk, the better. Again, it is better you exercise at an easy pace and for a longer time, than at a strenuous pace for less time.