Mindful eating is amongst the most complex forms of mindset shift for modern consumers. The root cause is a popular misconception about healthy food not being tasty. Today, we are bombarded with a minefield of unhealthy and processed food items. A diet that includes processed foods is bound to be full of sugar and saturated fats, which increases our cholesterol levels. A spike in our bad cholesterol, i.e., LDL levels, clogs our arteries over time, thereby dramatically increasing the risk of heart diseases, heart attacks, and strokes.
Interestingly enough, plant-based diets are free of cholesterol, extremely low in saturated fats, and contain soluble fiber. A daily intake of plant-based food like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains containing sterols can help lower LDL cholesterol by 5-10%. Moreover, a balanced and nutritious diet comprising ample amounts of fruits, vegetables, lentils, whole grains, nuts, and seeds can fulfill our body’s daily nutritional requirements. Here’s a roundup of some plant-based foods that help us lower our cholesterol levels.
Internet’s favorite fruit has a lot more to it than what meets the eye. The presence of oleic acid in avocados helps lower bad cholesterol in our bloodstream without taking a toll on our taste buds.
Nuts like almonds and walnuts contain many polyunsaturated fatty acids that help lower our LDL levels. Besides, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and hemp seeds are also helpful as they contain Omega-3 fats. To avoid a high-calorie count, we must consume them in moderation and nibble away.
Now that we have gone nuts on nuts, it is time to switch to some delicious whole grains that also help reduce our LDL levels by lowering the absorption of cholesterol into our bloodstream. Brown rice, muesli, and quinoa are phenomenal options we can include in our daily diet.
Apples, berries, and citrus fruits like oranges and lemons contain a type of fiber called pectin, which reduces cholesterol. Additionally, fruits are a great source of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
As kids, finishing all the veggies on our plate during every meal was made compulsory. It is because vegetables are rich in all that is good for us, and they are a great way to reduce cholesterol. Additionally, eggplant and okra are abundant in soluble fiber and antioxidants.
Daily consumption of 25 grams of soy protein actively lowers our cholesterol levels. Replacing skimmed milk with soya milk for our everyday needs is also an excellent way to get the required 25 grams.
Lentils are a part of the staple diet in every Indian household. They improve our cardiovascular health and are low in fat and high in fiber and proteins.
Say yes to beta-glucans found in oats, barley, and mushrooms. This particular type of fiber is very effective in reducing cholesterol levels.
Switching to a plant-based lifestyle is a healthier choice for us as well as the environment. However, it is also important to not lose track of the fact that just because something is plant-based doesn’t mean that it is automatically healthy. There is a good chance that products like faux meats, and packaged plant-based items that claim to be healthy alternatives are actually ultra-processed, high in calories and fats, in turn being very unhealthy alternatives. Tropical oils like coconut and palm are also a no-go. So, we must check the packaging of our favorite plant-based ice cream or protein bar for the presence of sugar and tropical oils before purchasing them. Similarly, baked goods and processed sweets, even if they contain plant-based ingredients, are harmful to our bodies. They include trans fats, which increase our LDL (bad cholesterol) while reducing our HDL (good cholesterol).