Indian cuisine is a great way to enjoy rich flavors without sacrificing healthy cholesterol levels. The problem occurs when people overconsume these dishes. Too much cholesterol is bad for your health, but too little high-density lipoprotein cholesterol is essential for overall wellness.
Keep reading to find out how to increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol with Indian foods.
High-density lipoprotein cholesterol: an overview
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is necessary for your body to build cell membranes and make certain vitamins and hormones. However, eating too much cholesterol can be a problem. LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and HDL cholesterol (the good kind) are two types of cholesterol. The risk of cardiovascular disease increases with an increase in LDL cholesterol and a decrease in high-density lipoprotein.
HDL and LDL are two types of lipoproteins. They are a mixture of lipids (lipids) and protein.
HDL cholesterol is high in protein and low in fat, which makes it very dense. Hence it is called “high-density lipoprotein”. HDL cholesterol is beneficial because it transports excess cholesterol from the blood to the liver. Therefore, it protects against cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes. In addition, it possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Moreover, it helps protect arterial walls from the harmful effects of LDL cholesterol and protects cells and biochemicals in the blood and tissues from damage.
How do you raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in Indian foods?
Here are some of the nutritious foods that nutritionists recommend to raise your HDL cholesterol.
Fenugreek or methi seeds can lower LDL cholesterol levels by decreasing the liver’s production of cholesterol and its absorption in the intestines. A study showed that fenugreek supplementation significantly reduced triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and increased HDL levels in diabetic patients more effectively.
Research suggests that sesame and its husks make beneficial changes in risk factors for cardiovascular disease. In addition, the effects of pumpkin, sunflower, and basil seeds on HDL cholesterol levels were significantly positive.
Pistachio kernels can help increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Moreover, consumption of pistachios can increase the activity of serum paroxonase and arylsterase, which prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol.
Studies show that cashews increase HDL cholesterol concentrations. In addition, the oleic acid, phytosterols and phenolic compounds found in cashews are beneficial for heart health and strengthening blood vessels. The heart-healthy properties of cashews reduce bad cholesterol, raise HDL cholesterol, and lower blood pressure.
Walnuts have long been known for their antioxidant and anti-cardiovascular effects. According to studies, on average, people who ate walnuts had an increase in good HDL cholesterol and a decrease in their levels of bad cholesterol. In addition, eating 30 grams of walnuts per day significantly improved the lipid profile of type 2 diabetics.
Almonds are a great source of fiber, potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, MUFA, and PUFA, all of which are excellent for your heart. Furthermore, there is strong evidence that almonds help lower LDL levels while raising HDL levels.
Healthy fats and oils
Some of the healthy fats that increase HDL cholesterol include coconut oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, walnut oil, mustard oil, ghee, etc. These fats improve lipid profiles and support heart health due to their high monounsaturated omega-3 content.
The bioactive compound in garlic, called allicin, helps reduce triglycerides and prevents the development of plague. Therefore, including it in your daily diet will help in lowering the harmful cholesterol levels.
Foods that are high in fiber can help lower bad cholesterol. Fruits rich in pectin, a type of soluble fiber, which helps lower bad cholesterol, including grapes, pears, strawberries, gooseberries and apples. Oats, barley, wheat, and ragi are the few best options for high-fiber foods that increase HDL and lower LDL.
Beans and legumes (D)
In most regions of India, beans and dal are staples. Therefore, including it regularly in your diet is a great way to raise your HDL cholesterol. Chickpeas, rajma, cowpeas, soybeans, masoor dal, ahar dal, muong dal, and chana dal are great ingredients for increasing your high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. You can have it with roti or rice.
green leafy vegetables
Dark leafy greens may also help lower cholesterol levels by making your body excrete more cholesterol.
Leafy greens like methi, spinach, and sarson sag contain lutein and other carotenoids, which leads to a lower risk of heart disease.
Paneer is a smooth, low-fat ingredient in many Indian dishes. Helps meet your calcium needs without compromising HDL levels. Nutritionists suggest enjoying fresh paneer mixed with vegetables or marinated and grilled.
One can include paneer-based dishes, spinach paneer, rain-fed paneer, or grilled curry paneer. Choose cow’s milk instead of buffalo, because the latter is high in fat. However, eat fried or sweet paneer preparations in moderation.
Following some healthy eating guidelines will allow you to enjoy Indian cuisine while maintaining your HDL cholesterol levels. Nuts, seeds, dal, leafy greens, fruits, and whole grains are nutritious and raise HDL cholesterol. For best results, seek personalized diet guidance from a qualified dietitian.
Sample 3 day indian diet plan for cholesterol
- Early in the morning: Methi seeds (1 tablespoon) are soaked in warm water
- breakfast: Poha oats with vegetables and a bowl of yoghurt
- mid morning: Fruit chaat (grapes, guava, apple)
- lunch: Whole wheat roti, vegetable salad, chicken curry and cucumber raita
- mid afternoon: handful of nuts
- Evening snacks: Steamed sprouts
- Dinner: Moong dal khichdi, palak sabzi, and curd
the second day
- Early in the morning: A cup of water soaked in lemon
- breakfast: Porridge oats and a bowl of pomegranate seeds
- mid morning: An apple and a cup of green tea
- lunch: Brown rice with lauki dal, salads, and yogurt
- mid afternoon: Low fat yogurt
- Evening snacks: Chana Roasted
- Dinner: Whole wheat roti, gobi matar curry and cucumber raita
- Early in the morning: almonds
- breakfast: Methi roti/thepla, bowl of curd, scrambled eggs
- mid morning: 1 apple or guava
- lunch: Whole wheat roti, black paneer, and vegetable salad
- mid afternoon: handful of nuts
- Evening snacks: Boiled Kala Chana Dal Chat
- Dinner: Next to roti, methi dal, beans and sabzi carrots
Eating a healthy, balanced diet along with exercise can help maintain cholesterol levels. Most Indian recipes include dal, whole grains, vegetables, beans, legumes, and healthy fats, which can help with cholesterol.
Plus, many simple recipes include quality vegetables for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For additional benefits, avoid adding high-fat creams or fried foods that increase cholesterol levels.