7 foods you need in your iftars to lower cholesterol

Hiba Nauman Jul 07 2015
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Keeping in mind the sort of oily food we have been eating for the past two weeks (courtesy Ramadan), a post discussing Cholesterol-reducing foods is something that we all can use.

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is found in every cell of the human body. It’s manufactured by the body and is also taken up by the food we eat.

But it is not all that bad.

Cholesterol is extremely important for many body functions. For example, it allows the body to produce vitamin D – a vitamin important for bone growth and strength. Cholesterol also plays an important role in keeping a balance of certain hormones in the body.

However, excess of anything can be fatal, and cholesterol is no different.

Cholesterol is the leading cause of heart disease in Pakistan. According to Dr Khawar Abbas of Tabba Institute of Cardiology,

“In Pakistan, a person gets a heart attack when his cholesterol level reaches 150 milligrams, whereas for Europeans it is 200 milligrams.”

The cost of treatment in Pakistan for heart diseases goes up to millions, as it requires procedures, tests, medicinal treatment and a good specialist. We all need to take care of our health in order to stop such incidences from taking place.

Obesity, aging, smoking, unhealthy diet, or simply genetics are certain factors which can cause an increase in cholesterol levels. Everyone needs to keep a check on their cholesterol levels. And how can they do that? By using these seven foods which are known to lower one’s levels of bad cholesterol and keep the body healthy.

Coriander seeds

These seeds are extremely beneficial for cholesterol patients. Here is how you can consume them:

  1. Take one cup of water and include two teaspoons of coriander seed powder.
  2. Put the mixture on boil, and strain after.
  3. Consume this 1-2 times a day. Add sugar, cardamom and milk to drink as a substitute for your daily tea cravings.

 

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar lowers triglyceride levels (bad cholesterol) and also controls the blood pressure. Here is one of the ways in which you can consume them:

  1. Mix a teaspoon of organic apple cider vinegar in a glass of water.
  2. Consume this 1-2 times a day for the next month.

 

Oats

Simply change your morning breakfast to oats in order to lower your cholesterol level. Oats contain beta-glucan, which is the substance that absorbs bad cholesterol and gets it excreted out of the body.

Beans

Beans are great for the heart. As per a research, a soup of ½ cup of beans lowers cholesterol by eight per cent. Fiber contained in beans lowers the absorption rate of cholesterol in the body. For your daily 1/3-fiber needs, you can go for black, kidney, or pinto beans.

Garlic

Garlic is the main herb in our foods as it adds a beautiful aroma to it along with a zing of spice. However, garlic is an amazing natural medicine for blood pressure, cholesterol and it also prevents blood clots while fighting against infections. Research shows that garlic keeps cholesterol from sticking to the artery walls.

Garlic should be taken with apple cider vinegar, blended in a mixture along with honey and taken in the morning on an empty stomach, followed by a glass of water.

Spinach

This leafy green is well known to make blood, as a source of iron. But it also helps to fight against cholesterol. Spinach contains a pigment called lutein. This yellow-green pigment helps to ‘shrug-off’ any cholesterol that accumulates on the artery walls. You can add spinach in your salads or green smoothies.

Fish oil

Fish oils contain omega-3 fatty acids which are not your typical stroke causing fats. These fatty acids help reduce fat in the blood, thus preventing heart diseases.

To get the utmost benefits, take approximately 1-4 grams of fish oil per day. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, make sure you add ground flaxseeds into your diet. These contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.

While there are many other entities that have similar characteristics, these foods can be utilized in our daily cooking and can become part of our otherwise oil-laden iftars and sehris.

Happy eating everyone!

Hiba Nauman

Hiba Nauman:

'Hiba is a dental student with a flair for writing. She takes caffeine very seriously, and loves experimenting with art. She strives to be a dental surgeon someday who not only performs surgeries but also spreads health awareness and free smiles.