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       Cholesterol Lowering Diet

      Finding an cholesterol lowering diet is key in keeping your cholesterol low. 

      Our body does need cholesterol to make bile salts, hormones and vitamin D. It is mainly produced by our liver. Cholesterol will build up on the artery walls when the level of cholesterol in the blood is too high. There are 2 main types of blood cholesterol: LDL (the "Bad" cholesterol) and HDL (the "Good" cholesterol).

      High amounts of the bad LDL will deposit cholesterol on the artery walls forming plaques. More and more plaques will narrow the arteries lumen and may eventually block blood flow. Therefore LDL is considered the "Bad" cholesterol. Saturated fats and trans fatty acids are the most important factors that raise blood cholesterol, not dietary cholesterol! Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats found in nuts and fish for instance, can lower the LDL level. In addition, soluble fiber found in fruits, oats, barley and legumes can also lower LDL.

      The good HDL, on the other hand, takes excess cholesterol away and carries it back to the liver to be excreted. It can also remove some of the cholesterol already attached to the artery walls. Therefore HDL is considered the "Good" cholesterol as high levels of HDL in the blood can decrease the risk of heart disease. Physical activity can also raise HDL level.

      If you want to lower your cholesterol levels, following a cholesterol lowering diet may be able to help you a lot. It has been known for a long time now that the food a person eats or is accustomed to eating daily can have a direct relation in the body's cholesterol levels.

      And it is important for people to lower their cholesterol levels because cholesterol has been associated with the development of coronary heart disease. The higher the level of blood cholesterol levels in an individual, the more likely it is that he will be developing heart disease later on. Aside from that high cholesterol levels can also put a person at risk of suffering from a stroke or a heart attack.

      Aside from using drugs to lower cholesterol levels, following a cholesterol lowering diet is the next best thing to keep your cholesterol levels down. Eating more vegetables, soy products and other low cholesterol foods can be just as effective at reducing blood cholesterol as medication. A study has been able to show that a vegetarian diet can lower cholesterol by as much as one-third in just a month.

      The best cholesterol lowering diet that you can follow usually includes a hearty serving of vegetables such as broccoli and red peppers. Soymilk and soy sausages, oat bran cereal and bread as well as plenty of fruits and nuts make up a complete low cholesterol diet. Soy protein, nuts, and fiber rich food such as oats and barley can effectively cut cholesterol levels by up to seven percent.

      A cholesterol lowering diet also requires you to minimize your intake of saturated fat by seven percent and other fat substances by 25-35 percent. It has been discovered that the best diet for avoiding coronary heart disease includes consuming non-hydrogenated (unprocessed) fats rather than the hydrogenated variety. Increased consumption of omega-3 fats from fish, fish oil or plant sources such as flaxseeds is the suggested fat intake in a low cholesterol diet. With a low cholesterol diet, one should also limit daily sodium intake somewhere in the level of 2400 milligrams daily.

      A typical day on the cholesterol lowering diet would include a hearty breakfast of soymilk, oat bran cereal with chopped fruit and almonds, oatmeal bread, vegetable-based margarine and jam. A typical low cholesterol lunch would comprise of soy cold cuts, oat bran bread, bean soup and a dessert of fruit. For dinner, stir-fry vegetables, tofu, fruit and almonds would be the usual low cholesterol diet fare. Following this type of low cholesterol diet religiously for long periods, it is possible for one's cholesterol level to drop by as much as 29 percent in just a month.
       


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