How diet can help manage cholesterol – 7 vegetarian foods that will help you keep your heart healthy  |  Photo Credit: iStock Images
- High cholesterol or Hypercholesterolemia is one of the most common conditions that people suffer from
- Your diet and lifestyle can have a direct impact on the condition
- Here are 7 vegetarian foods that you must include in your diet to reduce cholesterol levels and keep your heart healthy
New Delhi: The heart is one of the most vital organs of the body and plays the key role of transporting blood to all parts and organs of the body. The food we eat and the lifestyle we follow have a direct impact on our body, the efficiency of body functions and organs, and in turn, the longevity of life and overall health. The heart is no different and is directly impacted by the type of food we eat.
One of the most common conditions that people all around the world suffer from, which also increase the risk of heart diseases is cholesterol imbalances. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in all the cells in your body. Your body needs some cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest foods. However, unlike other micronutrients that need to be consumed from food, your body makes all the cholesterol it needs. Therefore, when you consume foods that can lead to a spike in cholesterol production, it can lead to accumulation of the substance in the arteries of the heart and give rise to high blood pressure and other heart conditions.
How diet can help keep cholesterol managed
Changes in the diet are one of the best and easiest ways to manage cholesterol levels in the heart. Other lifestyle changes such as regular exercise can also help in reducing cholesterol levels.
Diet can play a considerable role in keeping cholesterol managed. Reducing the intake of foods that contain cholesterol, or lead to excess production of it can help. At the same time, consuming foods that contain nutrients that boost overall heart health may also be a helpful step.
Since cholesterol is found in foods of animal origin like meat, eggs, milk, etc, a primarily vegetarian diet, especially for people who have dangerously high levels of cholesterol is recommended. At the same time, consuming foods with high levels of soluble fibre in them can help in reducing the absorption of cholesterol in the digestive tract of the body. Other diet changes that can help include limiting the intake of salt, as well as alcohol.
7 vegetarian foods to add to your diet to reduce cholesterol levels
- Oatmeal – Oatmeal or oats are whole-grain cereal, nutritious and high in fibre. It is known for its benefits for weight loss and reducing cholesterol levels due to high fibre levels.
- Apples – Not only does the old saying substantiate the claim, but apples are known to be rich in vitamins and minerals, and help in keeping the heart-healthy.
- Pears – Pears are another fruit that is known for their benefits for the heart. You may consume the fruit as a mid-day snack, or even for breakfast.
- Beans and legumes – Legumes are one of the primary sources of protein for vegetarians. They also help in increasing HDL levels and reducing LDL levels.
- Gourds – Gourds such as bottle gourd, bitter gourd, round gourd, etc are all healthy for the heart. They are rich in nutrients and fibre and help in reducing the absorption of cholesterol in the body.
- Leafy vegetables – Rich in iron and omega-3 fatty acids, leafy vegetables such as spinach are healthy for the heart and should be a part of your diet.
- Cruciferous vegetables – Vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, etc belong to this family of vegetables. Rich in nutrients and fibre, they make for a perfect vegetarian food choice for a healthy heart.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a professional healthcare provider if you have any specific questions about any medical matter.