When you realize that you need to pay attention to lowering your cholesterol levels, it can be depressing to read the list of foods that you can no longer consume. While it is true that you will likely need to eliminate some of your favorite dishes if you generally have had an unhealthy culinary lifestyle, there may be a few things that will surprise you. Some foods that are generally considered to be unhealthy are actually a huge benefit to lowering cholesterol levels.
Almost any dish can be enhanced with one of nature’s purest products: garlic. Though it is often associated with rich pasta sauces and Italian dishes, garlic can be added to just about anything you prepare, from eggs to vegetables to casseroles. LDL cholesterol, typically referred to as the “bad cholesterol,” has been the subject of much testing, and garlic has been shown to help in lowering the levels of this type of cholesterol. Some tests have shown that it lowers the levels by as much as 20 mg/dL when consumed by humans in quantities of as little as one-half gram per day. Though the results are thought to be only temporary, it appears to continue working with consistent consumption. As with most natural foods, it is best consumed fresh in its whole form. Powders are questioned due to the possibility of losing the active ingredients that aid in the reduction of cholesterol.
One of the most flavorful and popular fish varieties available for human consumption is salmon. It has gotten bad press because it has high levels of fat, but the truth is that it is not the “bad” kind of fat. In fact, salmon has very low levels of saturated fat, while having high levels of niacin, which aids in increasing HDL, the “good cholesterol.” HDL is known to increase the capacity of the body to transport cholesterol to the liver, and thereby be eliminated from your system.
Alcohol often finds itself on the “no list” of almost every diet. However, red wine is the exception, particularly when it comes to a diet with a goal of lowering cholesterol levels. Red wine is known to increase HDL, the “good cholesterol.” Though it is not proven that it does lower overall cholesterol levels for consistent periods of time, it does appear to raise HDL for the short-term, helping the body to eliminate cholesterol for periods of time. Medical professionals, however, caution against over-indulgence in alcohol of any type, including red wine.
Finally, we come to chocolate. Who doesn’t think of chocolate as an indulgence, and something that contributes to being overweight or unhealthy? Fortunately, the exception to this myth is dark or bittersweet chocolate. This type of chocolate is one of the purest forms of the natural cocoa bean, and is high in flavonoids, chemicals that are known to lower LDL levels in the blood. They also have been shown to protect against coronary heart disease. Be sure to look for pure versions of dark and bittersweet chocolate, with little fats and chemicals added.
Incorporate some of these delicious foods into your daily diet to aid in lowering cholesterol levels and raising your overall health in a big way. Learn to love nature’s gifts and use them to enhance your life in a good way.