Vegetables grow on the ground or under it. If you want to lower your cholesterol, raise them to your dinner plate--at least 4 1/2 cups every day--say nutrition experts at Harvard University's School of Public Health. The soluble fiber in vegetables is credited for lowering your "bad" cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein, LDL. The best vegetables for the purpose are the green, leafy ones and the intensely colored ones.
Start with lettuce of every variety, including the well known romaine, Boston or looseleaf, and others like the less known, robust flavored Chinese lettuce. Do not use lettuce as a convenient way to indulge in large amounts of oily dressings. Try a little vinegar or lemon juice with olive oil, which, according to the American Heart Association, is also a cholesterol-lowering plant product. Other green leafy vegetables known for their cholesterol-lowering ability include spinach, mustard greens and Swiss chard, which you will usually cook before serving--though all make good salads too.
The cruciferous vegetables are better known by their everyday names: Broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale and bok choy. These are usually cooked, but also eaten raw in salads and with dips. As with the green leafy vegetables, avoid commercial dips and dressings which usually contain a high fat content and calories which will work against your efforts to lower your cholesterol. Opt instead for lower calorie selections such as salsa or hummus.
Harvard School of Public Health specialists recommend tomatoes, raw or cooked, along with highly colored root vegetables such as carrots, beets, sweet potatoes and yams, though starchy tubers should be eaten sparingly to keep calorie counts low. These vegetables derive their cholesterol-lowering ability from rich supplies of biochemicals called sterols and stanols which are similar enough to cholesterol that they are thought to block the normal cholesterol uptake pathways in your digestive tract, according to researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.
- vegetable symphony image by santosilva from Fotolia.com
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.