Sunday, 11 November 2007

Four Foods To Lower Cholesterol

High cholesterol is bad news because it can lead to heart disease and cause strokes. It is now clear from the latest statistics that more and more younger people are on these cholesterol lowering drugs and that is yet another sign that the obesity epidemic is raging.

Below, you will find my top four foods which can be a help in lowering cholesterol. The photo above shows my beach on the Med - you will see why in a moment!

The first one is tomatoes, in any shape or form, preferably cooked. Tomatoes contain lycopene which is great at stopping the oxidation of LDL cholesterol often known as bad cholesterol. Studies have shown that large consumption of lycopene can indeed reduce cholesterol levels.

Second on my list is fish, especially the high fat fish such as wild salmon, trout, herring and mackerel. These fish contain a fatty acid which is known as Omega-3. This type of fat has been shown to lower cholesterol as evidenced by all the studies that have been done on the Eskimos who are great fish eaters.

Soy is in third place for me although the American Heart Association has found that soy has a minimal effect on blood pressure and cholesterol. I know that it is full of vitamins and minerals and more importantly it provides me with low-fat protein which is an important element in my diet. That saves me from eating too many eggs and red meat, which in my opinion gives it a high ranking.

Any type of nuts from walnuts, almonds, cashews and so on, come in fourth place. The first reason is that nuts are great sources of the healthy kind of fat and also contains Omega-3, not to mention some valuable minerals. The great thing about nuts is not only all the valuable nutrients they contain such as calcium, potassium , folic acid, Vitamin E but the fact that they contain lots of fibre which gives you a sense of fullness. Because they contain lots of fat (unsaturated), a handful of nuts a day is quite enough !

These top foods I have outlined are just a few of those mentioned in the Mediterranean Diet which has been the at the centre of attention for a long time now. Studies show that people living in the Mediterranean basin actually have a lower rate of cholesterol and heart disease than many other nations. It has nothing to do with the sun - it is what they eat !


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