Cholesterol is the reason behind several heart related complications. Having high cholesterol (especially LDL particles) is linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Low HDL, or good cholesterol and high triglycerides also lead to increased risk. However, some foods can help lower cholesterol and improve other risk factors for heart disease. Here are some of them:

1. Pulses

Pulses are a group of plant foods that include beans, peas and lentils. They’re high in fiber, minerals and contain lots of protein. Replacing refined foods and processed meats with pulses can lower your risk of heart disease.

2. Avocados

Avocados are nutrient-dense fruits and have several health benefits for heart health. They are rich in monounsaturated fats and fiber – both of which help in lowering LDL and raising healthy HDL cholesterol.

3. Nuts

Nuts are also nutrient-dense and rich in monounsaturated fats. Walnuts contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids that are good for heart health. They also contain protein and are rich in L-arginine which helps regulate blood pressure. Calcium, magnesium and potassium are also found in nuts and are linked to reduce blood pressure, and lower the risk of heart disease.

4. Whole Grains

Researches have suggested that whole grains help lower the risk of heart disease. They have all parts of the grain intact, which means they provide more vitamins, minerals, plant compounds and fiber than refined grains. Oats and barley are two such whole grains which play a big role in lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

5. Fruits and Berries

Fruits are one of the best ways to maintain optimum heart-health. Certain fruits are rich in soluble fiber, which help lower cholesterol levels. Pectin, a form of soluble fiber found in apples, grapes, citrus fruits and strawberries has been shown to lower cholesterol by up to 10%. Fruits also contain bioactive compounds that help prevent heart disease and other chronic diseases due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

6. Garlic

Garlic has been used for several centuries due to its medicinal and healing properties. It contains various plant compounds, including allicin. Studies have shown that garlic helped lower blood pressure, total and LDL cholesterol. However, to achieve desired results, large amounts of garlic is needed. Therefore, garlic supplements are believed to be more effective in heart-protective properties. Try some of these garlic supplements available at MyNutraMart here.

7. Dark Leafy Greens

While any kind of vegetable is good for the heart, dark leafy greens are particularly healthy for heart. Greens such as kale and spinach contain lutein and other carotenoids, which are linked to a lower risk of heart disease. Carotenoids act as antioxidants to get rid of harmful free radicals that can lead to atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. One study suggested that lutein lowers levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol and could help prevent cholesterol from binding to the artery walls.

If you want to lower cholesterol and maintain optimum heart health, try including some of the above mentioned foods in your diet.