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Nowadays, we get to read and hear about a lot of people suffering from high cholesterol and issues related to it. The reasons could be many, and the treatment would majorly involve making changes to the lifestyle and diet, sometimes along with a doctor-prescribed medication.
If your cholesterol level is high, or you don't want it to be high, you could ensure some regular habits in your daily life that would definitely help keep the cholesterol in control.
Interestingly, there are certain fruits that could be included in a cholesterol-reducing diet for best results. Let's find out more.
What Is Cholesterol?
A chemical compound, needed by the body as a building block for various hormones such as testosterone and estrogen and for cell membranes is called cholesterol.
Around 80% of cholesterol in the body is produced by the liver, and the rest comes through our diet in the form of dairy products, milk, eggs, meat, etc. Plant-specific foods have no cholesterol content.
Different Types Of Cholesterol
There are mainly two types of cholesterol, carried in the body by different kinds of lipoproteins.
• LDL or Low Density Lipoproteins - Commonly known as the 'bad' cholesterol, excess of which is capable of creating blockages in the arteries leading to heart-related ailments. The preferred levels of LDL should be below 100 mg/dL.
For people with no health-problems, the levels of upto 129mg/dL are acceptable, unlike for people with heart-related issues or who are at risk of heart-ailments. If the level goes beyond 130mg/dL and upto 159mg/dL, then it is considered borderline high, and above 160mg/dL is considered high.
• HDL Or High Density Lipoproteins - It is the 'good' cholesterol. It helps protect the body from heart-related illnesses such as stroke or heart-attack, since it carries the LDL away from the arteries, and back into the liver, to be broken down and evicted from the body.
The required levels of HDL are more than 60 mg/dL, and it is not advisable to have them go below 40mg/dL, since it could lead to risks related to cardiovascular ailments.
Additionally, the body may have a fat component called triglyceride, which stores the excess energy extracted from the diet. A high triglyceride level in combination with high LDL cholesterol or low HDL is linked with hardening of the walls of the arteries, thereby increasing the dangers of stroke or heart-attack.
How Can You Cure High Cholesterol?
1. Eat healthy
3. Quit smoking
4. Reduce alcohol consumption
1. Eat healthy - Include low fat dairy, leaner meats, olive oil, etc. for healthy fats, and avoid saturated fats found in red meat, dairy products, etc. Also, completely avoid trans fats prevalent in fried foods, cakes, cookies, etc.
Eat foods that are high in soluble fibre, that don't allow the digestive tract to absorb cholesterol. Have fruits and vegetables, fish rich in omega-3, and reduce salt consumption.
2. Exercise - Moderate to intense workout on a daily basis can help bring the high cholesterol down. Get actively indulged in brisk walking, stair-climbing, playing sports, swimming, running, rope-skipping, yoga, etc.
Being fit or having normal weight would be a boon to ensure normal cholesterol levels. Be careful to include at least 10-15 minutes of physical activity at least once or twice during the day.
3. Quit smoking - Quitting the habit of smoking would lead to improvement in the HDL, and would gradually reduce the heart-risks.
4. Reduce alcohol consumption - Try to quit drinking alcohol completely, or reduce the consumption considerably to lower the high LDL cholesterol.
5. Medication - In a few cases, consulting a doctor may be required to cure high cholesterol. The medication prescribed by the doctor would need to be adhered to, apart from continuing with the lifestyle and diet changes.
Which fruits should be consumed to keep cholesterol in control?
• Tomatoes: They are considered a brilliant option for reducing cholesterol, risk of heart-issues, or high blood pressure. Rich in vitamins A, B, C, and K, they are a blessing to the heart, along with having benefits for the eyes and skin. Include them in your diet on a regular basis.
• Papaya: This fruit has superb fibre content and zero cholesterol. It helps in regulating the LDL cholesterol and reducing blood pressure. According to a study, one large papaya (around 750 grams) has approximately 14 grams of fibre, which is sufficient. You could have papaya in the raw form, in salads, in a curry or in a milkshake.
• Apples: An apple a day keeps the doctor away! Rightly said, an apple is full of various health-benefits including the ability to manage the cholesterol levels. The LDL cholesterol levels are reduced with regular consumption of apples, because of the presence of antioxidant polyphenols and pectin fibre in the apples.
• Citrus fruits: The presence of hesperidin in citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, grapefruit, etc. helps reduce hypertension and pectin fibre along with limonoid compounds which don't allow the arteries to harden and also reduce the bad cholesterol LDL. Regularly eating citrus fruits is a good reason to keep the cholesterol in check.
• Avocados: They are popular among patients of high blood pressure. They include monounsaturated fats and vitamins C, B5, B6, E, and K, which help keep the heart healthy, reduce the possibility of a stroke, and regulate the LDL and HDL cholesterol levels.
• Strawberries: Being rich in pectin fibre, strawberries are a fantastic choice to lower the LDL cholesterol.
• Grapes: They contain pterostilbene compounds along with pectin fibre, which can reduce the high LDL cholesterol levels as well as triglycerides in the body.
Therefore, we can deduce it isn't really difficult to maintain healthy cholesterol levels in the body, if you can focus on the right kind of eating habits or lifestyle.
It is better to modify the diet, increase consumption of the fruits mentioned above, exercise adequately, and avoid medication as far as possible to regulate cholesterol levels.