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7 vegetables to lower cholesterol

Having high levels of bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein can lead to heart disease or stroke. So, eat vegetables to lower cholesterol.

Cholesterol, a fat-like substance, is important for producing hormones and digesting fatty foods. But too much of it can lead to heart-related problems. Obesity and type 2 diabetes can also raise your risk for high cholesterol, as can a diet full of saturated and trans fats. Cholesterol and your diet go hand-in-hand. While you should eat less foods with unhealthy fats, consuming vegetables can help to reduce cholesterol. It is all about making healthy eating choices to prevent high cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Read on to know the vegetables that can lower cholesterol.

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance found in our body. It has a waxy texture, and It is essential for producing hormones, vitamin D, and digesting fatty foods. Your body makes the blood cholesterol, but you can find dietary cholesterol in seafood, chicken, eggs, and dairy products. If your total cholesterol is more than 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), it is considered high, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Protect heart by eating vegetables to lower cholesterol
High levels of bad cholesterol can lead to heart issues. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Too much cholesterol in your blood is not good, as it can increase your risk of heart disease. There is the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol, which needs to be controlled. Having high levels of bad cholesterol can lead to build-up of plaque in the arteries, resulting in stroke or heart disease.

The level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol should be up, as it can lower your risk of heart disease. When you get your cholesterol level checked, triglycerides also plays a role. It is a type of fat in blood that is used by the body for energy. Its high levels, combined with either low HDL cholesterol or high bad cholesterol levels, can increase your risk for heart attack, as per the CDC.

Which vegetables can lower cholesterol?

Consuming more than three servings of vegetables and fruits in a day can help lower levels of bad cholesterol and total cholesterol, as per a 2020 analysis published in Nutrition Reviews. Here are some of the vegetables that can help to manage cholesterol, suggests nutritionist Tanya Mehra.

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1. Spinach

Spinach is high in lutein and other carotenoids, which help lower cholesterol levels. You can add it to salads, smoothies, or even sauté as a side dish.

2. Kale

Kale contains fiber and antioxidants that can help reduce LDL cholesterol.
A 2016 study, published in the Journal of Hypertension and Cardiology, involved people with metabolic syndrome. It was found that consuming 14 grams of kale powder every day for eight weeks lowered bad cholesterol level in the participants. Use it in salads, soups, or make healthy kale chips.

3. Broccoli

Broccoli contains soluble fiber and is rich in antioxidants, aiding in cholesterol reduction, says the expert. Steam, roast, or add this cruciferous vegetable to stir-fries.

carrot is a vegetable to lower cholesterol
Carrots may help to lower cholesterol. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

4. Carrots

Carrots are high in soluble fiber, particularly pectin, which can help lower cholesterol. Eat them raw as snacks, add to salads, or cook in soups and stews to stay healthy.

5. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are high in fiber and antioxidants, which can help manage cholesterol levels, says Mehra. Bake, roast, or mash them. You can also use sweet potatoes as a base for stews and soups.

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6. Cabbage

A very fibrous vegetable, cabbage is also full of antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. You can use it to make dry vegetable dish or include it in your salad.

7. Bitter gourd

Bitter gourd or karela can purify the blood and help in promoting heart function, says the expert. You can steam it, stir-fry, or use it to make curry or bitter gourd juice.

These vegetables are good options for lowering cholesterol because they contain soluble fiber, and antioxidants that can reduce LDL cholesterol and improve overall heart health. Generally, eating these vegetables does not have serious side effects. However, some people may experience digestive issues, such as gas or bloating, especially if they consume them in large quantities.

#vegetables #cholesterol

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