Cholesterol is fat in our blood which is naturally produced by the liver. It is not only produced in the body but also, it can be consumed through food, termed as the dietary cholesterol. Cholesterol performs multiple purposes including, helping the organs to function properly, making hormones, digestive fluids, and membranes, etc.

Although it serves various purposes in the body, an excessive amount of cholesterol can become harmful to the body. The low density-lipoprotein cholesterol is referred to as bad cholesterol. One of the common ways to normalize the excessive amount of cholesterol is to consume foods that can help in lowering the bad cholesterol.

NUTS: Nuts contain a significant amount of essential nutrients such as fibre, vitamins, proteins, and antioxidants, etc. Being rich in fibre, nuts help in blocking some of the cholesterol being absorbed into the blood. Some of the nuts that are commonly used to lower cholesterol levels include almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, and walnuts.

FRUITS & BERRIES: Fruits and berries can prove to be very beneficial for normalizing the increased cholesterol level. Fruits that are rich in pectin (a type of soluble fibre), especially apples and pears are very essential for lowering cholesterol. Similarly, citrus foods including oranges, grapefruits, lemons can also reduce the cholesterol level. In addition to fruits, eating berries also make a huge difference in the reduction of cholesterol levels. Some berries having the ability to inhibit the level of bad cholesterol are strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and most importantly, blackberries.

EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL: It is a source of monosaturated fatty acids. The phenols present in extra virgin olive have antioxidant properties. This is the reason why consuming two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil daily has proved to be very beneficial for the reduction of risks of heart diseases and cholesterol levels.

 VEGETABLES: Vegetables being low in calories and containing high fibre content work amazingly for the regulation of cholesterol level. Particularly, okra and eggplants are thought to be exceptional for their soluble fibre content.                                                                 

FISH: While all the fish comprise of cholesterol in them, there are certain kinds of fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids. These omega-3 fatty acids are very important agents for decreasing the level of cholesterol in the blood. Fatty fish including salmon, sardines, halibut, and mackerel are suitable for those who have a high amount of cholesterol. Also, it should be preferred to consume fish is baked or grilled form, rather than fried fish.

DARK CHOCOLATE & COCOA: Unsweetened cocoa powder and dark chocolate have flavonoids and antioxidants in them which decrease the cholesterol level and also, reduce the risks of heart diseases. The chocolate is high in saturated fat and sugar should be consumed moderately to avoid inconvenience.

GARLIC: Garlic is one of those ingredients that are widely used in cooking and medicines. In spite of being commonly used, most people do not know that garlic is also an effective agent for lowering the level of cholesterol in the bloodstream.

BEANS: Beans of all kinds, including black beans, kidney beans, and lentils are very rich in soluble fibre and so, they have the ability to bind to the cholesterol present in blood and hence, remove it.

TEA: Both, green as well as black tea, if consumed moderately can help in reducing the level of blood cholesterol. This cholesterol-lowering ability of tea is due to an essential antioxidant, called catechins present in it.

SOY FOODS: High quantities of protein, fibre, and heart-healthy omega-3s are present in soy foods including soy milk, tofu, and edamame. Soy is naturally cholesterol-free and low in saturated fat has the ability to decrease cholesterol by 5 to 6 per cent.

BARLEY & WHOLE GRAINS: Barley and other whole grains such as brown rice and oatmeal appear to contain significant amounts of soluble fibre. Thus, they promote a healthy heart rate and cause an effective reduction in the levels of cholesterol.