Many foods can fight LDL, the bad cholesterol, and raise HDL, the good version. Even chocolate – who knew! – can be an ally in this battle. New discoveries pop up at any moment. Here's what scientists already know.
1. Passion fruit
A study coordinated by chemist Armando Srur found that the peel of the fruit is full of pectin, a soluble fiber that attacks cholesterol completely and, as a result, high glucose rates. Two tablespoons of crushed passionfruit peel at each meal has a good effect. Here's the recipe:
- Select firm, wrinkle-free passion fruit. Remove the pulp and cut the peel in half or in pieces.
- Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about half an hour, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven when the peel is toasted. Beat in the blender. If lumps are left, sift the flour.
- Sprinkle the flour in dishes and drinks.
Mentha piperita juice, or peppermint, is not only a true antidote to LDL but also raises HDL, the good cholesterol. Experts recommend two servings of the drink, which should be prepared as follows: In a liter of water, add 100 grams of fresh leaves and beat in the blender. Cool and drink next. But attention: children, pregnant women and babies should only take refreshment under medical advice.
Everyone knows that this delicacy is greasy. But the fat of the cocoa, called stearic acid, changes in the liver, turning into oleic acid – a beneficial acid also present in olive oil. And more: the consumption of 20 grams daily (a small tablet or a bonbon) increases by up to 20% the amount of antioxidants in the body. The latter prevent bad cholesterol from depositing on the vessel walls. But attention: only the bitter (dark) chocolate is useful, since the saturated fat present in the milk disrupts the benefits of the one in the cacao.
4. Vegetable oils
They are rich in good fats. Present in olive or canola oils, olives, and avocados and nuts (nuts, nuts and almonds), monounsaturated fats are good for lowering total cholesterol without lowering HDL, the benfaze. To take advantage of olive oil, choose extra-virgin, which also has antioxidant components. Polyunsaturated fats – such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids – also have the same effect. In addition to vegetable oils, they are in nuts and flax seeds, and even in cold-water fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines and cod.
This little grain is full of beneficial compounds. Isoflavones prevent the formation of fat plaques in the blood. Phytosterols compete with cholesterol, causing it to be eliminated from the body. And the soluble fibers, which reduce LDL levels. For this reason, the FDA, which monitors foods and medicines in the United States, recommends the daily consumption of 25 grams of soy protein (equivalent to 100 grams of cooked soy, a glass of soy milk or a half cup of tofu). According to studies, this habit can knock 3.5% to 6.4% of LDL and raise the HDL rate by up to 10%.
6. Soluble fibers
Present in various fruits (apple, orange and guava) and legumes (beans, chickpeas and lentils), these substances have proven to detonate cholesterol levels. One theory suggests that they absorb bile acids in the intestine, essential for the fatty molecule to penetrate the walls of the organ to be later eliminated. The artichoke is also rich in inulin, a soluble fiber that helps the liver stay in shape, thus preventing LDL from escaping from normal parameters.
Another super heroine against cholesterol. In 2004, the study on the benefits of oats, made at UNIFESP, showed a fall of up to 15% in blood fat levels in 126 volunteers who consumed 100 grams of oat flakes per day.
Amaranth grains are rich in protein, calcium and zinc that, according to various studies, overturns cholesterol rates.
The flavonoids in grape bark have already become synonymous with healthy vessels and arteries, thanks to its powerful antioxidant action, which helps prevent plaque formation. One cup a day is the right measure – remembering that alcohol is not highly recommended for diabetics, hypertensives and anyone who has high triglyceride levels. In these cases, a good glass of grape juice can substitute for wine.
Its anti-cholesterol strength is in the sulfurous compounds which, unfortunately, do not withstand the heat cooking. That is, whoever wants to benefit will have to eat a clove of raw garlic per day! The alternative to this malleable therapy is to swallow the same capsule-shaped portion.
Eggplant to fight cholesterol? Forget it, this is just a legend and has already been duly demystified by InCor cardiology center. The recipe, recommending a glass of orange juice beaten with eggplant made it big hit among cholesterol scholars. But in 2004, after following three groups of patients, the InCor scientists found that such a drinking only worked for those taking cholesterol-lowering drugs. What a pity.