5 healthy nuts that lower bad cholesterol levels
Nuts are wonderful and a powerhouse of nutrients. Many studies have vouched for their cholesterol-lowering properties and benefits for heart health. Here are 5 healthy nuts you must add to your diet for lowering bad cholesterol levels.
A storehouse of healthy fats and vitamins, nuts pack a powerful nutritional punch, lowering bad cholesterol levels effectively and boosting heart health. From almonds, walnuts, peanuts, hazelnuts to pistachios, eating a handful of them every day could offer wonderful benefits ranging from weight loss to blood sugar control. Many studies have vouched for their cholesterol-lowering properties and their ability to supply body with essential nutrients like protein, omega-3 fatty acids, flavonoids, antioxidants and a multitude of vitamins and minerals. It is a myth that eating nuts can increase one's cholesterol levels but it's far from true. (Also read: 7 reasons why you must start your day with soaked nuts)
Not all cholesterol is bad and the healthy one helps in removing the harmful cholesterol from our arteries and preventing heart attacks and strokes. It is thus important to include foods rich in good cholesterol for optimal heart health.
How much nuts should you consume in a day
"Nuts are beneficial in lowering bad cholesterol only when consumed in the optimal portions (not more than a handful – 20gm). The high protein and fibre in nuts make them very filling. However, they're also high in calories that can add up fast and lead to weight gain. Hence, make sure you don't overdo it," says Dr Meghana Pasi, Nutrition Consultant MyThali program, ArogyaWorld.
Dr Pasi suggests a few commonly consumed nuts that also help in lowering the bad cholesterol.
1. Walnuts: They are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, the same "good" fats found in oily fish like salmon and tuna. Omega-3 helps in lowering your risk of abnormal heart rhythms; decreasing triglyceride levels; slowing the rate of artery-clogging.
2. Almonds: They are rich in Vitamin E (an antioxidant), protects cells from damage by free radicals and maintains metabolic processes.
3. Peanuts: They contain Vitamin B3, niacin, antioxidants, and are a good source of proteins and fibre. They contain phytosterols and are rich in unsaturated fatty acids that help lower “bad” cholesterol.
4. Pistachios: They are rich in phytosterols (plant sterols) which is a natural cholesterol lowering compound.
5. Cashews: They are best sources of several minerals including zinc, copper, magnesium, selenium and vitamin K. They also several flavonoids and their antioxidant levels are enhanced with roasting.
Healthy ways to consume nuts
• Add them to your salads, cereals, fruits, milk shakes, smoothies, curries or gravies, sautéed veggies and soups
• Avoid sugar coated, chocolate dipped, salted or fried nuts. This will add high sodium, fats and sugar to your diet.
• Prefer unsalted natural nuts or roast them without salt or soak them overnight and have them next morning.