Cholesterol is a fatty substance present in the body that performs several vital roles. It is the building block for various hormones and bile acids and helps stabilize the cell membranes.
While normal levels of cholesterol are essential for good health, elevated levels greatly increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disorders (atherosclerosis or narrowing of the arteries, angina and heart attack).
What Increases Blood Cholesterol Level?
Raised levels of cholesterol invariably have no manifesting signs or symptoms. This makes the disease graver and hard to handle. Raised levels of cholesterol in the blood are usually due to an increased synthesis of cholesterol by the liver, rather than a high intake of dietary cholesterol.
Nonetheless, lifestyle patterns and dietary errors are greatly accountable for the rise. A high consumption of fatty and greasy foods, and refined and processed foods, and a lack of exercise are important contributing factors. Genetics plays a pivotal role as well.
Flax Seeds Reduce Serum Cholesterol
Flax seeds or linseeds are highly helpful in lowering the blood cholesterol levels and improving the lipid profile. Consumption of flax seeds can help reduce cholesterol levels by as much as 6%.
The major health benefits of flax seeds are derived from omega-3 fatty acids and lignans. Flax seeds contain twice the amount of omega-3 fatty acids, present in fish oil, making it effective food in management of Atherosclerosis.
Oats Help Increase the Excretion of Cholesterol
There have been innumerable studies conducted, that prove the remarkable beneficial effect of oats on cholesterol.
Oats are packed with dietary fiber. Fiber helps lower serum cholesterol by binding to bile acids and removing them from the blood, via feces. Oats are rich in a special type of fiber called the beta-D-glucan.
Consuming three grams of soluble oat fiber (approximately one bowl of oats), per day, decreases the total cholesterol by 8 to 23%.
Prunes Prevent Free Radical Damage to LDL Cholesterol
Prunes are loaded with powerful anti-oxidants. They contain phenolic compounds that prevent free radical damage to the LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol.
Thus, prunes help protect the heart and ward off cardiovascular disorders.
There are many approaches to reduce the blood cholesterol level, including decreasing the absorption, enhancing the excretion, reducing the synthesis and preventing oxidation of the cholesterol. The foods described above, work in tandem and help bring down elevated levels of cholesterol and promote heart health significantly.