Lowering cholesterol is easy with these
WHEN it comes to eating healthily, there is a basic triumvirate of factors that most people are familiar with: Weight, sugar and cholesterol.
They are all related in one way or another, but each also measures different aspects of unhealthiness.
With the advent of commercial medical laboratories providing personalised blood tests direct to the public, anyone can get their glucose and cholesterol levels tested with a prick of a needle.
Most people are satisfied just to check if their levels fall within the normal ranges.
But what if they don't?
Before starting on statins - those cholesterol-lowering drugs that doctors prescribe - why not try a non-pharmaceutical method like modifying your diet first?
Here is a list of the top cholesterol-lowering food, as recommended by dietitian Ang Bee Xian:
OATMEAL AND OAT BRAN
These two items are probably the best-known celebrities of cholesterol-lowering food, and rightfully so.
Oatmeal and oat bran are filled with soluble fibre, whose main function is to help absorb cholesterol from what you eat and take it out of your body when it gets passed out.
Eating 1½ cups of cooked oatmeal provides 6g of soluble fibre. Between 5g and 10g per day is recommended to decrease total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as "bad" cholesterol.
Soya food helps lower cholesterol in two ways: By providing an alternative to meat, which contains more saturated fat, and by helping to lower LDL cholesterol.
Examples are tofu, soya milk, edamame, miso and tempeh.
Eating fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines, two or three times a week, provides you with enough omega-3 fatty acids to help lower your triglyceride levels.
A wholegrain sibling to oatmeal, barley is a lesser-known cholesterol-lowering food star.
Also containing lots of the soluble fibre called beta-glucan, barley can help lower total and LDL cholesterol, as well as trigylceride levels.
Avocados are full of monounsaturated fats that help lower LDL cholesterol, while increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good" cholesterol.
They also contain fibre and a chemical called beta-sitosterol, which helps reduce the amount of cholesterol absorbed from food. But they are high in calories, so don't overdose on them.
If you really crave a snack, then why not help lower your LDL cholesterol with some nuts?
A handful of plain almonds, walnuts, peanuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts or other types of nuts a day can lower LDL cholesterol by about 5 per cent.
FRUIT RICH IN PECTIN
Apples, prunes, blackberries and citrus fruit like oranges and grapefruit are all examples of fruit rich in pectin, which is a type of soluble fibre that helps lower LDL cholesterol.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK