Keeping a healthy diet is essential when it comes to controlling your cholesterol levels. Making some lifestyle changes for the better is much needed to lower the risk of heart disease and other dangers that high cholesterol brings, and therefore it is good to know that there are certain types of foods you can incorporate into your diet that can help you with your problem.
We all know that we should avoid butter, cheese, pastries, donuts, meat, and processed food if we want to keep our low-density lipoprotein or LDL levels, also known as bad cholesterol, low. Also, it is important to note that certain types of fat should be avoided and incorporating various healthy foods in your diet can aid with the lowering of cholesterol levels greatly. There is an ongoing discussion about the types of foods beneficial for this problem, and one of the most popular topics in this realm is yogurt – is it good or is it bad for cholesterol? Good news! If you like yogurt you should know that it can actually help with the maintenance of cholesterol levels in your body!
Benefits of Yogurt
Yogurt is known as one of the best probiotics out there as it contains live bacteria that has numerous positive impacts on the digestion. It is also a very good source of calcium and protein, but you should be careful because it also contains a lot of fat, which, as we all know, is not good for people with high cholesterol. There has been a number of discussions over the past several years about the benefits of yogurt for the reduction of cholesterol levels and a few scientific studies have been conducted to test whether the consumption of yogurt can actually help with keeping the cholesterol levels low.
Are All Types of Yogurt Beneficial?
As with every other food type, not all variations of yogurt are good for cholesterol and they won’t have the same effect on your body. A study conducted in 2011 on people with type-2 diabetes has found that eating 300 grams of yogurt that contains live active cultures Bifidobacterium lactic Bb12 and Lactobacillus acidophilus La5 every day benefited the patients by lowering their cholesterol levels. So, try to find this type of yogurt by reading the labels carefully and if possible, opt for a low-fat version whenever you can.
High Fat or Low Fat?
As previously mentioned, if possible, always look for a low-fat or fat-free yogurt. Consuming foods that are high in saturated fat or total fat can actually lead to the increase of your cholesterol levels, so it is better to choose Greek yogurt or a low-fat version instead of the regular kind. Compared to 8 grams of fat and 5.1 grams of saturated fat in plain yogurt, fat-free version has only 0.4 grams of fat, including 0.3 grams of saturated fat. Fat-free Greek yogurt has three times less fat than a regular whole Greek yogurt, so if you have high cholesterol, avoid this as much as possible.
Special Kinds of Yogurt for Cholesterol
Nowadays, there are a lot of special yogurts with added plant stanols that help reduce cholesterol levels in our bodies. A study published in 2009 shows that consuming a plant stanol fortified yogurt helps lower the bad cholesterol, including LDL and low-density lipoprotein, and triglyceride levels. This type of yogurt is better for you than yogurt with probiotics, which basically only lowers cholesterol levels and not triglycerides.
Making it Work
If you think that you can simply add those 300 grams of fat-free yogurt to your diet and magically lower your cholesterol, think again. Yogurt alone, although beneficial, cannot be the only healthy change you incorporate in your life. Try pairing your daily intake of yogurt with other cholesterol-lowering foods such as fruits high in soluble fiber.
These fruits are very good for keeping your cholesterol levels at bay and, combined with yogurt, make a perfect meal or a snack that you can enjoy guilt-free. Apricots, various berries, apples, pears, plums, peaches, oranges, and mangoes all contain at least one gram of soluble fiber which makes them the perfect pair to your fortified yogurt.
Cut down on the meat intake and try using soy protein instead. You can find a myriad of organic soy products that can definitely help with cholesterol and pair them up with yogurt, which can also be made of soy or some other plant source.
If possible, opt for a vegetarian diet which can help you lose weight and keep the cholesterol levels low. Excess fat on your body does not help, and incorporating healthy ingredients in your kitchen will not only make you look amazing but also feel better than ever. Pairing fruits and vegetables with nonfat Greek yogurt can change your life for the better health wise, and, at the same time, won’t make you miss all the delicious meals you used to make as you will get enough tasty dishes with no guilt or risk.
Naturally, steer clear of hyper-processed Greek yogurt you can usually find in supermarkets. These dips and spreads that are masked as Greek yogurt contain loads of unnecessary fats, sugars, and other cholesterol-raising ingredients that you definitely do not need in your diet if you are looking to lower your cholesterol. Be cautious when purchasing these products and read the labels carefully so as to avoid saturated fats, excess salt and sugar, and refined flours and other chemicals. Stay away from hidden sugars in these Greek yogurt products, which are masked as corn syrup, maple syrup, rice syrup, sorghum, molasses, malted barley, barley malt, maltitol, sorbitol, and dextrose and glucose.