One of the leading causes of death around the world is heart disease and the main factor that increases the risk of heart disease is having high cholesterol levels. It was found that high LDL cholesterol levels and low HDL cholesterol levels in your body are linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
What you eat has a significant impact on the cholesterol levels in your body. When you eat foods that are high in cholesterol, trans fats, and saturated fats, it will increase the cholesterol levels in your body. There are several plant-based foods that will help in lowering your cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of developing heart disease.
Here is the list of some of the plant-based foods that you can include in your plant-based diet for lowering cholesterol levels in your body.
Avocados are one of the most nutrient-dense fruits available right now. They are packed with fiber and monounsaturated fats. Both these nutrients are very beneficial in lowering the LDL cholesterol levels and increase the levels of HDL cholesterol in your body. There are several clinical studies that prove the ability of avocados in lowering cholesterol. In a recent study, an obese person with high LDL levels ate one avocado each day for one month. After the study period, the LDL cholesterol levels in his body reduced significantly.
Peas, lentils, and beans are the most common legumes that we consume. They are loaded with several minerals, protein, and fiber. Many experts are suggesting replacing processed meat with legumes for lowering the risk of heart disease. A recent study has shown that one of the best ways to lower the LDL cholesterol levels in your body is by eating half a cup of legumes every day. Studies have also shown that legumes will help in losing extra weight, which is very helpful in lowering the risk of heart disease.
There are several studies that associate whole grains to lower the risk of heart disease. According to a review of 45 studies, eating three servings of whole grains each day could lower the risk of heart disease and stroke by 20%. If you increase the servings of whole grains up to seven, the health benefits will be even more. The beta-glucans present in barley and oats can lower the levels of LDL cholesterol levels. Beta-glucan is a type of soluble fiber that helps in lowering cholesterol. Whole grains also provide several other nutrients that offer a lot of health benefits.
Nuts, especially walnuts and almonds are very helpful in lowering cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of heart disease. Nuts are packed with several nutrients that can alleviate many health problems. They are very rich in monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat that can improve your heart health. Phytosterols, a plant compound present in nuts can block the absorption of LDL cholesterol in your intestines. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium present in nuts will help in lowering the blood pressure and reduces heart disease risk.
Chocolate, one of the most popular plant-based food, is loved by everyone. It is one of the delicious foods that we eat every day. Cocoa, one of the main ingredients of dark chocolate, is very beneficial in lowering the levels of LDL cholesterol in your body. Many studies have also proved this claim. A study has shown that drinking a cocoa beverage twice a day for a month can reduce LDL cholesterol levels and increase HDL cholesterol levels. Also, cocoa can decrease your blood pressure, which is very beneficial for reducing the risk of heart disease.
Soybeans fall under the category of legumes and they are packed with lots of healthy nutrients. Soybeans are proven to be very effective in improving your heart health. However, there are only very limited studies that prove the effectiveness of soybeans in improving heart health. A recent analysis of 35 studies has shown that consuming soy foods can lower the levels of LDL cholesterol and also increase the levels of HDL cholesterol in your body.
Garlic is one of the most common ingredients in many of the dishes and people are using it for cooking and as a medicine for hundreds of years. It contains several plant compounds that offer many health benefits. According to some recent studies, garlic can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. It will also ensure the decrease of LDL cholesterol levels in your body.
Vegetables are the most important part of a heart-healthy vegan diet. There are several vegetables that are packed with antioxidants and fiber, which helps in maintaining healthy body weight. Pectin, a soluble fiber that can help in lowering cholesterol levels, is abundant in some vegetables. Carrots, potatoes, eggplants, and okra are some of the vegetables that are high in pectin.