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Fight against high cholesterol :
Some Nutrient-packed foods that boost heart health naturally :
Scientists are discovering that getting high cholesterol levels in check isn`t only about the foods you forgo (such as those containing artery-damaging saturated and trans fats). A host of recent research suggests that regularly including some of Mother Earth`s most nutritious fare in your meals can be just as effective at lowering total cholesterol levels. Add them to your diet and watch your numbers drop.
Eat more of these:
Mushrooms (shitake most preferably)
Consuming shiitake, maitake, or enoki mushrooms daily can lower blood cholesterol levels by as much as 25% after 4 weeks, reports a study published in Experimental Biology and Medicine.
Beans (especially black beans)
"Just 1/2 cup of pinto beans daily for 8 weeks can lower cholesterol 8%," says Carol Johnston, PhD, RD, a professor and chair in the department of nutrition at Arizona State University. Their soluble fibers inhibit the absorption of cholesterol.
Replacing saturated fat with omega-3s found in fish like salmon, herring, and sardines helps lower cholesterol. And research from Loma Linda University showed that eating two servings of fatty fish a week for 1 month raises "good" HDL cholesterol by 4%.
A Columbia University study found that eating two servings of cereal containing oats daily for 6 weeks lowered total and "bad" LDL cholesterol by 4.5% and 5.3%, respectively. Beta-glucan in oats absorbs LDL cholesterol, which your body then excretes.
People who noshed on 1.5 ounces of whole nuts 6 days a week for 1 month lowered their total cholesterol 5.4% and LDL cholesterol 9.3%, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Researchers with the U.S. Department of Agriculture have identified an antioxidant in blueberries called pterostilbene (it`s similar to resveratrol, the antioxidant found in grapes and red wine). This compound has effectively lowered cholesterol levels in animal studies.
This fish is a particularly good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to lower LDL cholesterol while raising the good (HDL) kind.
Numerous studies have demonstrated that eating garlic regularly reduces LDL cholesterol and raises HDL levels.
Avocados are rich in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat known to help lower cholesterol. In fact, one study found that people with moderately high cholesterol levels who ate a diet high in avocados for one week had significant drops in total and LDL cholesterol levels, and an 11 percent increase in the good HDL cholesterol.
Rich in both pectin and fiber, along with powerful antioxidants, including quercetin, catechin, phloridzin and chlorogenic acid, apples help lower bad cholesterol while raising the good kind.
Dark Green, Leafy Vegetables
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute`s Family Heart Study, participants who ate four or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day had significantly lower levels of LDL cholesterol than those who ate fewer servings. Among the most powerful veggies are the dark green, leafy variety, such as spinach, kale, collard greens and Swiss chard.
A new study found that eating two servings of soy protein a day can lower cholesterol by up to 9 percent--but it must be uncooked to have benefit. "Soy protein increases the activity of low-density lipoprotein receptors primarily on the liver that clears it from the body. Eating soy protein increases the activity of these enzymes that break down the cholesterol," said study author James Anderson, a scientist at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.