Newspapers have reported on the drawbacks of having a diet high in fat. High-fat diet has been linked to high cholesterol and ultimately to heart attacks. Hence, people have started avoiding beef and eggs. But cholesterol is not bad. Our body needs it to protect nerves and build new cells and hormones. It is only when we include foods like pizzas, burgers, ice creams, steaks or any food containing animal product that the problem starts. Excess cholesterol settles along the walls of the arteries and can clog them thus, restricting blood flow. This gives rise to angina, heart attack or stroke. It has also been shown that high cholesterol leads to gallstones. There are two types of cholesterol called good cholesterol or HDL and bad cholesterol or LDL. LDL is the cholesterol that clogs the arteries and should be lower while HDL scours the artery walls and removes the harmful LDL and should be higher.
Doctors recommend reducing and avoiding high-fat diets containing meat, eggs and dairy products. But you can use the following home remedies for treatment:
? Increase the intake of Vitamin E: It is advised to increase your intake of Vitamin E to 400 international units to prevent the oxidation of bad cholesterol where the cholesterol hardens into the arterial plaque thus giving rise to heart attack. It also raises the level of HDL. You can include Vitamin E as dietary sources or include vegetable oils, nuts or grains in your diet.
? Eat your breakfast: People who skip the breakfast have higher cholesterol levels than those who have breakfast everyday. This is because they tend to eat unhealthy foods which are high in fats.
? Eat small meals frequently: Large meals have been shown to release a large amount of insulin, which in turn stimulates the production of the enzymes that increases cholesterol production by the liver. But eating small frequent meals without increasing the total calories will limit the insulin production and thus controls the cholesterol and in turn heart diseases.
? Add Vitamin C to your diet: Though other vitamins and minerals play an important role in the cholesterol production, Vitamin C is the most crucial vitamin for cholesterol control. It increases HDL levels and is very beneficial if you get it from fruits and vegetables, since they have a special fibre called pectin. It surrounds the cholesterol and flushes it out of the digestive system before it gets into the blood. Include fruits like citrus fruits, tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, apples and spinach which are rich in vitamin C and pectin.
? Increase garlic intake: Taking seven cloves of garlic a day will reduce cholesterol levels significantly. If you cannot stand the normal garlic, then you can opt for odorless garlic pills, which are available in local health stores.
? Skip decaf: Avoid decaffeinated coffee since it has been shown to raise LDL levels. This is because the beans used for decaf are far stronger than the normal beans.
? Munch grapes: Grapes and their products have a compound which lowers cholesterol significantly. So you can increase your intake of grapes, grape juice and wine to decrease your cholesterol level.
? Have grapefruit: Grapefruit contains pectin which reduces cholesterol significantly. Hence, people who consume grapefruits show a marked decline of cholesterol over 7 percent after two months of consumption.
? Eat beans: Lima beans, kidney beans, navy beans, soybeans and other legumes have been shown to lower cholesterol as they have a high amount of pectin. Research has shown that people who consume about 11/2 cup of cooked beans a day have decreased their cholesterol levels by 20 percent within three weeks.
? Splurge on carrots: Carrots have plenty of pectin, the most useful type of fibre for lowering cholesterol. Having about 2 to 3 carrots a day will reduce cholesterol levels by 10 to 20 percent.