If you’ve been having a lot of chicken tikka, mutton seekh kabab and other tandoori dishes from restaurants on a regular basis, it might be a good idea to get a cholesterol check done.
Cholesterol produced in your liver has many important functions like keeping our cell walls flexible and producing various kinds of hormones. However, just like anything else, too much of it is a bad thing. Your cholesterol levels largely hinge on your diet, and there are some foods that help bring them down naturally. Here is a lowdown on a few.
Garlic has received much attention of late for its ability to bring down cholesterol levels. It contains an active ingredient called allicin that’s thought to help with this. “The generally recommended dose is one to two cloves of raw garlic per day, or 300 milligrams of dried garlic powder in tablet form,” says Shikha A Sharma, a Delhi-based dietician and nutritionist at Fat to Slim, a slimming centre.
“Dry coriander seeds have high levels of antioxidants that help alleviate cholesterol levels. Coriander is also diuretic in nature, which means it enhances the ability of kidneys to flush out toxins, including unwanted cholesterol,” says Sharma.
Psyllium husk, an edible water-soluble fibre, can also work wonders in this department. “Psyllium helps lower cholesterol by binding with fats and bile acids, and flushing them out of the body. It is further shown to increase good cholesterol. However, as psyllium is not very palatable, it would be a good idea to add it to your breakfast cereal or blend it into a smoothie,” says Delhi-based Tushima Mashelkar, a diabetes educator at BeatO, an app that caters to diabetics.
Regular consumption of fenugreek seeds helps in lowering total cholesterol, LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglyceride levels in the blood while increasing beneficial HDL cholesterol levels. This is because these seeds contain steroidal saponins that slow down cholesterol absorption of the intestines. “They also reduce the intensity with which the liver produces cholesterol. Apart from this, fenugreek seeds decrease the absorption of triglycerides from fatty foods,” explains Mashelkar.
Green tea is rich in catechins, a form of naturally occurring antioxidants. These not only prevent the release of free radicals but also help bring down bad cholesterol levels in the blood.
In clinical studies, the Indian gooseberry has been shown to have a hypolipidemic effect in reducing triglycerides and cholesterol. Amla is rich in essential amino acids and antioxidants, all of which help lower bad cholesterol levels.
According to Mashelkar, amla supports liver functions and helps flush out toxins from the body. Consume fresh amla daily or drink a glass of lukewarm water with 1 teaspoon of dried amla powder to enjoy the benefits of this vitamin C rich fruit.