Here are some foods…
Dietary fibre plays an important role in maintaining our health and protecting us against many diseases like diabetes, heart disease. Oats, oat bran, and oatmeal contain a specific type of fibre known as beta-glucan. It is a soluble fibre that helps in decreasing LDL (bad cholesterol). One of the special things about the way oats work unlike other fibres is that it lowers only bad cholesterol while levels of good cholesterol (HDL) remain unchanged. This means an even better ratio between total cholesterol and HDL, ensuring increased protection against heart disease. Oatmeal is the only wholegrain food recognised by the FDA to lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease, thereby allows its claim as a heart protective ingredient in food labels. Studies also show that in individuals with high cholesterol (above 220 mg/dl), consuming just 3 grams of soluble oat fibre per day (an amount found in a bowl of oatmeal) typically lowers total cholesterol.
Soy protein protects against various heart diseases and hypercholesterolemia as it decreases LDL (bad cholesterol) significantly, increases HDL (good cholesterol) and prevents oxidation of bad cholesterol to prevent oxidation in blood vessels.
Several studies have suggested that drinking either green or black tea may lower blood cholesterol concentration, blood pressure and inhibit clotting of blood, providing some protection against cardiovascular disease. While green tea benefits arise from catechins, black tea benefits arise from theaflavins, both of which inhibit oxidation of bad cholesterol LDL. Tea contains significant amounts of folic acid. Folic acid helps reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. A person could obtain up to 25 per cent of RDA for folic acid by drinking five cups a day.
Several scientific researches have found that barley has some unique health-promoting effects, particularly for the heart. Its cholesterol fighting effects seem to be even more promising than oats. Studies suggest that barley can lower cholesterol levels as much as 15 per cent in individuals with elevated cholesterol levels.
Like oats, barley too is a good source of “beta glucan”, a water soluble form of fibre, which seems to retard fat and cholesterol absorption by the intestine. The fibre tends to bind bile salts, thus increasing cholesterol removal from the body, and fat soluble substances, tocotrienols (vitamin E) appear to suppress cholesterol synthesis by the liver.
The good old ‘Isabgol’ is high in insoluble fiber (hemi-cellulose) and soluble fibre. Psyllium has also been known to exhibit cardio-protective role as it helps in lowering blood cholesterol, especially the undesirable fraction of serum cholesterol, lowdensity lipoprotein (LDL), triglycerides, apo-lipoprotein B and reducing inflammation. Cholesterol lowering properties of psyllium can be attributed to its high fibre content and presence of beta-sitosterol (a phyto-chemical).