Summer fruits and vegetables to lower cholesterol levels
Go slow on ice creams and aerated drinks, and add these juicy, nutritious-rich summer foods to your diet for lowering cholesterol levels.
Summer season is ideal for weight loss considering we burn more fat during the season and cravings for fatty and oily food too are low. However, one may be at risk of turning sedentary when the weather gets hot as stepping outside is uncomfortable and even dangerous. So, many people maybe switching on their air conditioning and sipping aerated drinks, enjoying ice creams and all kinds of sugary treats which can increase bad cholesterol levels in the body. Adding right food to your diet can prevent this risk. Eating lots of fruits and vegetable salad and fibre-rich diet can not only cool your body from inside but also keep chronic as well as seasonal diseases at bay. (Also read: High cholesterol: 7 unhealthy eating habits that raise bad cholesterol levels)
"Summer is the season of fresh and juicy fruits and vegetables. From the delicious mangoes to the refreshing watermelon drinks, summer is all about soaking in the sun's warmth. However, it is equally important to take care of our health no matter how much we indulge in some tasty foods. Fat-like substance cholesterol is found in the body and there are two types of cholesterol, LDL and HDL. While cholesterol is required for our system, too much bad cholesterol or LDL can lead to kidney issues and increase the risk of heart disease," says Gagan Sidhu, Chief Dietitian at Dt Gagan's Clinic and Managing Director at Gleuhr Skin Clinic.
Processed food, fried food, dairy, red meat, bakery products, cured meat like salami, sausages, chorizo, fatty cuts of meat all have high saturated fat and can increase LDL cholesterol or bad cholesterol in the body.
Here are some summer foods according to Sidhu that can help lower cholesterol:
1. Okra (Bhindi)
Lady finger or okra is a must-have during the summer season. Not only it is an easy vegetable to cook, but it has tons of health benefits. Rich in essential nutrients such as Vitamin K, C, and A and magnesium, folate, and fibre, okra is easy to digest and help deal with bad cholesterol. Okra contains a substance called pectin which is beneficial for lowering LDL. Also, the presence of mucilage removes the extra cholesterol during excretion. Include okra or lady’s finger in form of sabzi and see the benefits yourself.
2. Bitter gourd (Karela)
Bitter gourd may not be a favourite vegetable for every one but it is packed with loads of nutritional benefits. It is a rich source of antioxidants which is one of the major components for lowering cholesterol. It also contains a high amount of vitamins and minerals which aid in building a strong immune system and fighting against heart risks and others.
3. Pointed gourd (Parwal)
Summer is the season for various types of gourds and pointed gourd is one such delicious vegetable that all love to indulge in. This vegetable is not just a staple summer food but it also helps to reduce high cholesterol levels. Enriched in nutrients such as vitamin C, B1, B2, and A, pointed gourd aids in increasing the levels of good cholesterol or HDL. Besides, it helps with weight loss and constipation issues as well.
4. Watermelon (Tarbooj)
Who does not love to have a glass of watermelon juice after a hot, sunny day? Watermelon contains a great nutritional value and the presence of lycopene helps to lower cholesterol levels. Have a glass of watermelon juice with your breakfast or cut down a few slices of watermelon and have it as a mid-day snack.
5. Cucumber (Kheera)
Cucumber is another staple for the hot months. It contains a high volume of water which is great to keep you cool in the heat. It consists of phytosterols which are known to reduce high cholesterol levels. Besides, it also has pectin which is a soluble fibre that aids in lowering down the levels of cholesterol.