Cholesterol is not in real a villain.
It is a fatty substance needed by the body to produce hormones, Vitamin D and bile acid (help digest fat). However, when you have too much cholesterol in your blood, it accumulates in the arteries (medically called, atherosclerosis) leading to heart disease and stroke.
If you are suffering from high cholesterol and want to lower the levels remember every bite that you eat counts.
Your daily meals, those harmless snacks in-between meals and the food items you pop out of boredom – all of these affect your cholesterol levels. No worries! Below is a list of healthy snacks that you can safely consume instead of biting into cookies, doughnuts, chips and other processed foods.
- Popcorn – this 100% whole grain snack is packed with high fiber and different nutrients. It is a good daily source of fibre, which is believed to lower your bad cholesterol. Additionally, it is low in calories, promotes digestive health and help control blood sugar levels and prevent Type 2 diabetes. Microwave or air pop it without oil and do not add the butter/ salt toppings.
- Nuts – a handful of nuts like almond and walnut mixed with dried fruits makes for a good healthy snack. They are proven to lower LDH cholesterol and to raise HDL cholesterol.
- Soya Based Snacks – soya is naturally cholesterol-free and low in saturated fat. It helps reduces LDL by a small percent but also has additional benefits as it is a good source of protein, fiber, and heart-healthy omega-3s. Soya cutlets or tikkies are a healthy as well as delicious alternative to fulfill your in between meals hunger pangs. However, too much soya is not good for the body.
- Low Fat Yogurt – yogurt being an excellent source of protein and calcium is a healthy option for your 11 AM food break. You can try topping it with fruits such as apples, apricots, berries, plums and peaches as well which may reduce cholesterol and are high in soluble fiber. Yogurt is perhaps one of the best probiotic products.
- Oats – After a long day at office when you are back home really hungry instead of reaching out to junk foods it is wise to eat oat snacks. Soluble fiber helps in the reduction of the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream. Oatmeal is full of soluble fiber.
- Avocado (Makhanphal) – studies show that eating just an avocado a day can significantly lower cholesterol levels. They form an excellent source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat that is easily burned for energy. It is also low in fructose.
- Barley – a whole grain that has been shown to have many healthy benefits including lowering cholesterol levels because of the presence of beta glucan fiber. It is also known to be reducing blood sugar and insulin levels. Go for barley biscuits during you tea and coffee breaks.
- Fresh Vegetable Salad – veggies are full of cholesterol-lowering antioxidants that will help keep you healthy. Include salad of antioxidant rich vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, carrot, tomatoes daily along with your meals or consume when you are hungry.
Changes in your food habits is a very essential step to lowering cholesterol levels. Backing it with regular physical activity and maintaining your weight will help you lead a happy, healthy life.