Cholesterol Free Foods

How to control your cholesterol? Limit your fat intake? Why not just add cholesterol free foods in your daily diet? Some are even great at lowering your cholesterol!

Although it is vital to life, too much cholesterol can damage your health. Almost all foods contain some fat, which is an important source of energy and it also helps to produce hormones and build cells. Saturated fat will increase your overall cholesterol by making the levels of bad cholesterol, or LDL, higher. Too much LDL will build up plague in the arteries, and this will interfere with the blood flow to your heart. Trans fats are formed when fats are hydrogenated. They are worse since they raise bad cholesterol while lower good cholesterol.

Cholesterol Free Foods

Keeping a healthy balance of good and bad cholesterol is especially important for good heart health. A healthy diet can help lower your cravings for foods with high amounts of cholesterol, and lower your bad cholesterol, and maintain good cholesterol, plus help to lower your risk of stroke and heart attack. If you are currently eating plenty of cholesterol free foods, then keep it up. If you are not, start by adding them to your diet now.

1. Rice and Grains

For a cholesterol free diet, you can add rice and grains. A majority of starches, which includes beans, rice and bread, have little to no cholesterol. Ingredients added in their preparation, however, such as butter on bread or lard in refried beans, could contain fats which are animal based and high in cholesterol.

2. Potatoes

Potato is one of the cholesterol free foods. Like breads and beans though, be careful of how the potatoes are prepared. Most French fries are made in vegetable oil, which has a low cholesterol content, but it is high in fat. When you are trying to find cholesterol free foods, don’t forget that the best to go for are baked potatoes.

3. Mushrooms

There are many different ways in which mushrooms can be prepared. They work great as a pizza topping, but be careful of the cheese since there is a lot of cholesterol there. You could also swap out the hamburger patty with some portabella mushroom caps. However, if you prepare them, mushrooms are a great choice for a cholesterol free food.

4. Fish

A lot of fresh water fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can assist in lowering cholesterol. There are many types of fish available which means that you can easily switch up your recipes. You can have grilled salmon for dinner, and fish tacos for another night with a lot of rice, avocado and beans.

5. Garlic and Onions

Garlic will keep your blood free of cholesterol. If you want a delicious snack, you can simmer whole cloves of garlic in olive oil and then spread them on dishes, crackers, bread or other foods which are low in cholesterol.

Onions, like garlic, contain antioxidants. They can be sautéed, grilled or cooked in other ways, but raw onions have the highest level of heart-healthy nutrients.

6. Tofu

Tofu is not everyone’s first choice for cholesterol free foods, however when it is cooked properly, it can be a great substitute for meat in many dishes. Tofu is like a sponge, as it can absorb spices, soup bases, marinades and add additional texture and flavor to your meal.

7. Nuts

Nuts contain healthy monounsaturated fats and also have magnesium, vitamin E and phytochemicals which have been linked with heart health. Walnuts have omega-3 fatty acids as well. People who regularly eat nuts have less heart diseases and other illnesses than others. The monounsaturated fats in nuts are also better for your joints than polyunsaturated fats in safflower and corn oils.

Keep in mind that nuts are high in calories, so the key is moderation. You can keep a jar of chopped nuts in the refrigerator and add them to veggies, cereal salads or yogurt. You can add them onto your stir-fry as well. Hazelnuts, almonds or walnuts could be used in pilafs, or make a trail mix with your favorite seeds, nuts and dried fruits.

8. Tea

Tea is full of antioxidants, whether iced or hot. Tea helps keep blood vessels relaxed and prevent blood clots. The major antioxidants in tea, flavonoids, have been known to prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. These powerful antioxidants can lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels.

One cup of hot tea contains more antioxidants than any other fruit or vegetable. Both black and green tea has high levels of antioxidants. Have at least a cup of tea each day!

9. Spinach

An excellent choice when it comes to cholesterol free foods, spinach has a lot of lutein, which is the sunshine-yellow pigment found in egg yolks and dark leafy green veggies. Lutein has a great reputation for guarding against macular degeneration, a leading cause for blindness. It is suggested that only a half cup of lutein rich food each day protects you against heart attacks by assisting the artery walls to shake off any cholesterol that causes clogging.

Find 9 oz. bags of baby spinach leaves which you can cook in the microwave for a few minutes. Add a tablespoon of toasted sunflower seeds and a couple tablespoons of Parmesan in a roll and you’ll have a nice dinner for yourself that is completely low in calories.

10. Avocado

Avocados are a good source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, which helps raise your good cholesterol while lowering your LDL levels. Plus, avocados have more beta-sitosterol, which is a helpful plant-based fat, than any other type of fruit. Beta-sitosterol can lower cholesterol which is absorbed from food. With the combination of this and the monounsaturated fat, avocados are great at lowering cholesterol.

Avocados are somewhat high in calories, so your best bet is to use them in place of another high-fat condiment or food.

Tips:

1. Staying away from high cholesterol does not mean you have to stop eating. It does, however, mean you’ll have to be careful to watch your nutritional labels and be more creative about cooking. The more you experiment with foods, the less bored you will be and your heart will thank you.

2. Regular exercise plus a cholesterol-free diet can lower your LDL cholesterol and raise your HDL or good cholesterol. You’ll also experience many cardiovascular benefits. The best regimen is 30 minutes or more of aerobic exercise 5 or more days a week.

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