food items you should include in your diet for a healthy heart

First Published Nov 21, 2022, 7:00 AM IST

An individual’s diet plays an essential role in how healthy their cholesterol levels are. Eating foods that keep cholesterol levels within a healthy range can help prevent health issues like a heart attack or stroke. Read on to find out what these items are. 
 

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Bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein (LDL or Bad cholesterol;) is the maximum cholesterol in your body. High LDL levels may clog the artery and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. To lower these lousy cholesterol levels, you need to check your diet. To start with, add food items that may help boost the level of good cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in the body. Here is a list of foods you can incorporate into your daily diet to lower bad cholesterol.

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Onions: A study submitted found that quercetin, an important compound found in onions, helps lower cholesterol in rodents. Onions help in preventing inflammation and hardening of arteries. You can eat onions raw by adding them to a salad or to your sprout chaat and omelette.

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Nuts: Nuts are packed with high nutrients. Nuts like Walnut are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, which are suitable for your heart. The presence of a specific amino acid in Almonds helps in regulating blood pressure. The presence of plant compounds like phytosterols in nuts helps lower cholesterols by preventing absorption into the intestines. Daily intake of these cholesterol-lowering nuts can reduce the risk of heart disease.

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Garlic: Garlic adds a solid flavour to your foods and can lower bad cholesterol. The presence of plant compounds, including allicin, can help lower blood pressure in people with high levels. It may also help reduce the total and LDL cholesterol levels in the body.

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Fatty Fish: Salmon and Mackerel are excellent sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 increases good cholesterol (HDL) levels and may lower the risk of heart stroke. In a study titled Fish consumption can reduce the risk of stroke risk in elderly individuals. It is found that consuming baked or broiled fish once a week by older adults lowered the risk of a stroke by 27 per cent instead to frying, steaming or boiling the fish for positive effects.

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Fruits: For a balanced diet, it is also imperative to include fruits. Many fruits are healthy for the heart and have soluble fibre, which can help lower LDL levels. Cholesterol-lowering properties of different pectin type in mildly hyper-cholesterolemic men and women found pectin soluble fibre in apples, grapes, citrus fruits, and strawberries reduces cholesterol by 10 per cent. Fruits are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that may prevent heart diseases.