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Eat These 9 Foods That Do Not Raise Cholesterol

In addition to avoiding smoking and staying active, eating a healthy diet can keep your cholesterol levels and overall wellness in check. Read on to find 9 foods that do not raise cholesterol and are perfectly good to be a part of a healthy diet.

Exercise & Fitness By Ariba Khaliq / Dec 23, 2014

The Spiked Cholesterol Levels

Breaking news: A 2013 American Heart Association report suggests that more than 98 million Americans age 20 and above have cholesterol levels over the healthy maximum of 200 milligrams per decilitre. And those are the numbers from only one country; imagine the spike in those numbers if we will talk about the world. If you’re one of the millions of people with high cholesterol a reading of 240 milligrams per decilitre or higher, you must understand that you are at hefty risks for heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Avoiding smoking and staying active are obvious choices, but eating a healthy diet is a crucial action you must take to keep your cholesterol levels and overall wellness in-check. Here we have compiled 9 foods that do not raise cholesterol and are perfectly acceptable as part of a healthy diet. You might be surprised to see some options here!

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They are rich in dietary cholesterol and have long been a blackguarded when it comes to heart health. According to the USDA Nutrient Database, one yolk can contain up to 185 milligrams of cholesterol, depending on the size of the egg. It is not the cholesterol in the egg yolk that is the problem, but the high levels of arachidonic acid that potentially increase inflammation in the arterial wall. Most people Americans tend to over-consume essential omega-6 fats like arachidonic acid and lack essential omega-3s. To reap the correct nutritional benefits of eggs, such as vitamins B-12 and D, without damaging your cardiovascular health, limit your intake to one egg daily if you have heart disease or diabetes, recommends the Harvard School of Public Health.

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Olive Oil

Cholesterol is a fat produced by your liver that is found in various foods. It may seem like a practical thing to avoid fat-rich foods if you're prone to high cholesterol, but not all dietary fats or sources are nutritionally equal. As a solid fat source, butter may increase your cholesterol levels, according to experts, because “bad” LDL cholesterol requires fluidity. They recommend a heart-healthy alternative- olive oil, which according to them is an excellent choice.

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According to an analysis of 25 studies published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2010 that focussed on nut consumption, showed that daily nut intake can lower overall cholesterol and triglyceride levels and improve the ratio of “bad” LDL cholesterol and “good” HDL cholesterol. Most nuts are low in saturated and omega-6 fats, and high in polyphenols. Experts call it a winning combination to reduce inflammation. They recommend people to have about 1 ounce of nuts per day, which is equal to about 24 almonds, 35 peanuts or 18 medium-size cashews.

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Dairy products are an important part of our nutritional health; they are full of calcium, protein and a multitude of vitamins. For maximum benefits without excess saturated fat and calories, dieticians recommend opting for low-fat and part-skim varieties of yogurt, cheese and milk. In a study published in the European Heart Journal in 2013, the dairy intake and heart disease risk factors of 3,078 adults ages 35 to 64 were analyzed. Participants who consumed the highest amount of low-fat dairy products showed the lowest risks for heart disease. Additionally, no significant link was drawn between high-fat dairy intake and heart disease markers.

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Whole Grains

Whole-wheat and whole-grain products are some of the healthiest products you can consume. Rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre, whole grains also promote weight control, strong immune function and overall health. In a study published in The Journal of Nutrition in January 2012, 79 overweight or obese women consumed a calorie-restricted diet either containing refined-wheat or whole-wheat products for 12 weeks. While refined grains increased participants’ total and LDL cholesterol levels, whole grains did not.

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The Columbia University Health Services say that most seafood varieties contain similar amounts of cholesterol per ounce as beef and pork, but they can bring exceptional benefits to a heart-healthy diet. Cold-water fish enhance cardiovascular health in multiple ways, providing omega-3 fats, which reduce inflammation, lower LDL cholesterol and boost positive HDL. Fish particularly rich in omega-3s include mackerel, salmon, flounder, herring and sardines. Healthy cooking methods include baking, poaching and grilling fish in olive oil. To stave off high blood pressure risks, the American Heart Association recommends seasoning fish and other dishes with natural herbs, spices and vinegar and limiting salt.

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We bet you are the happiest reading about chocolate in this list. Yes, you don't have to give up chocolate to keep your arteries healthy. In a study published in European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2011, researchers analyzed 10 trials involving the effects of dark chocolate and cocoa products on cholesterol levels. While the cocoa products did little to improve HDL cholesterol or triglycerides, they significantly lowered LDL and total cholesterol levels. Because chocolate products tend to be high in calories, fat and added sugar, stick to moderate amounts of dark chocolate, which contains the most nutritional benefits. Add unsweetened baking cocoa to healthy foods, such as oatmeal, or drizzle melted dark chocolate on fresh fruit for a healthy dessert.

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Lean Red Meats

Lean poultry has long been considered the heart-healthiest meat, but recent studies show that some red meats suit a healthy cardiovascular diet equally. If you have high cholesterol, it is suggested that you focus on lowering your LDL levels by following an anti-inflammatory diet geared toward blood sugar control, then limiting red meat to two servings per month. Anti-inflammatory foods that promote blood sugar control include cold-water fish, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and unsaturated fat sources, such as nuts, seeds and avocados. Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition in September 2011 compared the impact of lean white chicken to lean lamb on cholesterol levels in women, and found no difference between the two. Both fit equally well within a healthy diet, the study concluded.

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Seeds are rich in nutrients beneficial for cholesterol health. They also contain valuable amounts of fiber and protein, which promote appetite control. A study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry in 2010 showed that adding fenugreek seeds to cholesterol-rich diet improved blood cholesterol levels in rats. Researchers attributed these effects to the seeds' rich antioxidant properties. Other heart-healthy, antioxidant-rich seeds include flaxseeds and hemp seeds. Sprinkle seeds on other healthy foods, such as curries, yogurt and salads, or snack on a small handful of seeds instead of munching on low-nutrient foods, such as candy or pretzels.

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