Monday, September 8, 2008

Reduce Cholesterol with Natural Foods

Proper diet is the key to good health. An improper diet results in several disease conditions such as cardiovascular diseases. Increased cholesterol is the primary cause of heart diseases. The adage "prevention is better than cure" is particularly appropriate for heart diseases as you yourself can prevent the rise in cholesterol levels and hence prevent heart diseases. Cholesterol lowering trials have shown that with a reduction in cholesterol levels the incidence of heart disease can be significantly lowered. The use of natural plant foods can help you lower the cholesterol levels.

Plant foods are rich source of dietary fibre, which have multiple health benefits. Fibre binds the cholesterol and hence helps in keeping it under control. Consumption of whole grain cereals, pulses, vegetables and fruit ensures an adequate fibre intake. Which are the natural foods that help us control cholesterol?

Apple: Why is it that an apple a day keeps the doctor away? Our ancestors believed this even without understanding the disease. But nutritional studies have now shown that this is actually true. Apples are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants help in preventing the damage to the cells and hence help in preventing chronic diseases. At the same time, apples are very rich in fibre, which has the cholesterol binding property. Thus by eating apples you can keep a check on your cholesterol levels.

Banana: This is one fruit that is rich in almost all vitamins and minerals. At the same time it is a rich source of fibre. Banana, by itself is a zero cholesterol food. On going studies have shown that banana has the potential to lower cholesterol. So continue eating this wonder fruit. It might work wonders for your heart.

Carrots: This has wide protective properties. Scottish studies have shown that a carrot a day for three weeks lowered the cholesterol by 10 to 20 per cent in the study participants. Carrots are rich in fibre pectin, which has cholesterol-lowering properties.

Beans: Rich in fibre and low in cholesterol, beans are an ideal combination for lowering cholesterol. At the same time beans are also rich in lecithin, a nutrient that has cholesterol-lowering properties. A study has shown that consuming a bowl of lentils or kidney beans can lower cholesterol by about 19 per cent.

Garlic: Many studies have shown that a clove of garlic per day can help in lowering cholesterol by about 10 to 15 per cent. Garlic is recognized in Europe as a remedy for heart diseases.

Onion: Like garlic, onion has been shown to have a cholesterol lowering effect. So consuming garlic and onion along with meals may be a better idea to prevent a rise in cholesterol.

Sunflower seeds: These seeds are the most familiar of all edible seeds and contain a substantial amount of linoleic acid that has cholesterol-owering properties. Substituting these seeds for some high fat foods can have a beneficial effect on the health.

Consuming these natural foods can help you fight cholesterol, a deadly enemy of your heart.

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