Cholesterol is a fat-like substance present in the blood and cells of the body. It is essential for making cells, tissues and organs. It also makes up hormones, vitamin d and bile juice. There are good cholesterols called HDL and bad cholesterol called LDL and glycerides. Increased LDL levels can cause fat buildup within the arteries that cause block the blood flow to the heart.
Cholesterol levels can be kept in check by increasing fiber intake, reducing saturated fats, adding plant-based foods, eating less refined food and reducing trans fats in the diet. Keeping cholesterol at a healthy level will ensure you a long and healthy life.
Recent studies have reported that high cholesterol levels are found in nearly 25-30% of the urban population and nearly 15-20% of the rural population. It is thus essential to consume a nutrient-rich diet.
Dr. Bipin Kumar Dubey, HOD And Consultant, Cardiac Science, HCMCT Manipal Hospitals, Dwarka, New Delhi provides us with a list of drinks that can help maintain cholesterol levels.
Green tea is an excellent source of antioxidants. It contains catechins and epigallocatechin gallates. Drinking green tea helps in lowering LDL and total cholesterol levels. Black tea has lesser catechins than the green variant.
Tomato has a good amount of lycopene, which is an antioxidant that helps protect cell damage. An interesting thing about tomatoes is that processing it can help increase the lycopene content in them.
It is also contains niacin & cholesterol-reducing fibers. A study shows 280ml per day for 2 months significantly improves cholesterol levels.
Soy milk contains low levels of saturated fats. Replacing regular creamers and high-fat milk with soy milk can help in cholesterol management. Food and Drug Association (FDA) recommends a diet low in saturated fats and 25gms of soy protein each day as a part of diet.
Oat milk is very efficient in bringing down cholesterol levels. It contains a substance called beta-glucans which in interaction with bile salts and creates a gel-like layer in the intestines which in turn helps in reducing the absorption of cholesterol. One cup of oat milk provides 1.3gm of beta glucan. Always ensure to check the label for beta-glucans on the cartons of the oat drink.
Berries are a rich source of antioxidants and can help keep cholesterol levels in check. Many berries like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries are loaded with antioxidants and fibers. A handful of berries with low-fat milk as a shake daily can reduce cholesterol levels significantly.
Cocoa contains an antioxidant called flavanol that helps in reducing bad cholesterol levels in the body. Cocoa is the main ingredient found in dark chocolate which contains high levels of monosaturated fatty acids that help improve cholesterol levels. It contains antioxidants called flavanols that improve cholesterol levels. Usually, 450mg cocoa twice daily helps in cholesterol level reduction. Processed chocolates should be avoided as they contain high levels of saturated fats.
Smoothies containing ingredients like kale, pumpkin, melons and bananas can help control cholesterol levels. Mixing these ingredients in Oat milk to make smoothies will ensure there are fewer saturated fats which are responsible for irregular cholesterol levels.