Cholesterol is sometimes thought to be an evil thing and completely eliminated from our body. It is actually an essential type of fat present in our body and is used for many things including structure and membranes of cells, hormone production and various other functions. Our body produces enough cholesterol for all of these processes and doesn’t necessarily need any more from our diet to assist in these functions.
As you know certain foods which we consume are high in saturated fats and cholesterol, if we consume too much of these foods through our diet this can cause excess cholesterol to be present floating around the blood system and consequently blocking the artery walls and causing heart disease. Our body is good at removing excess cholesterol from our blood stream via the liver. The main concern for excess cholesterol in our body is overtime it can lead to heart disease
The best natural way for people to lower their elevated cholesterol levels is through dietary changes. Firstly there are foods to avoid, mainly animal products that are high in fat; like full cream milk, cheese, butter, and red meat. It is best to opt for the low fat dairy options, use olive/vegetable/canola oil instead of butter, no visible fats on meats, skinless chicken and fish and limit your alcohol intake (due to the stress it places on the liver). Trans fats are not commonly known and are the worst type to consume. They are mostly found in processed foods like cakes, biscuits, margarine and ham or processed meats.
There are also many foods you may not already consume that can help improve your heart health and lower your cholesterol. Oats (porridge) is made up of soluble fibre and lowers your cholesterol by reducing the absorption rate into the blood stream. Eating fatty fish (like herring, mackerel, sardines, salmon, tuna and trout) is heart healthy due to the high levels of omega-3 they contain, which are known to reduce blood pressure and blood clots. Nuts (such as walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts among others) are great at lowering blood pressure and keeping blood vessels healthy due to the high content of poly unsaturated fats. Olive oil is a good alternative to butter and will also help to lower cholesterol levels in your blood system. Just remember that olive oil is high in calories, so to only consume 1-2 tablespoons per day should suffice.
These foods, among many others, contain beneficial properties which can help with lowering cholesterol and maintaining heart health. It is important to ensure that your cholesterol levels are under control and the best way to do this is through a balanced diet. Always consult a health professional if you’re concerned about heart health.