Foods high in gluten have been long considered as one of the leading causes of high cholesterol level. Gluten is protein found in cereal grains, especially wheat. Wheat endosperms which are commonly grounded into white flour contain glutens, which are responsible for the dough texture found in baked wheat products.
Is gluten harmful?
In cereal grains, gluten nourishes plant embryos during germination process. Hence, this is not a necessarily bad substance. However, some people are gluten intolerant, making their body produce an abnormal immune response when breaking down gluten from wheat. As a result, allergic reactions, such as rashes on the skin and the difficulty of breathing might be present. This gluten-allergy also causes inflammation inside the body system.
Gluten and cholesterol level
When there is an inflammation, our body produces cholesterol to deal with it. Thus, if you are gluten-sensitive, your body can probably produce higher level of cholesterol when gluten-induced inflammation occurs. To put it simply, when you eat gluten-containing foods, you are getting a higher level of cholesterol, which is not a good thing for your entire health. Inside the body, gluten is transformed into sugar in the bloodstream. As a food source with high glycemic index, gluten is digested fast by the body and will directly be absorbed by the bloodstream, causing higher level of blood sugar. This is one of the triggering cause for escalating cholesterol level.
Therefore, if you are concerned about your cholesterol level and consider starting to consume statins to get it lower, you might want to first consider keeping gluten away from your daily diet. Some people with high cholesterol level have found that eliminating gluten-containing foods has a major role in restoring their cholesterol level into a normal level without having to consume liver-poisoning statin medications.
Top gluten-free cholesterol lowering foods
In order to have your cholesterol level lower by eliminating gluten-based foods from your daily menus, you need to be consistent in adjusting your dietary plan. Start by reducing your carbohydrate consumption, which may raise the blood cholesterol and triglycerides. Some foods which are gluten free can be included into your daily consumption, as they contain better nutrition for lowering cholesterol level. Some top gluten-free foods to lower cholesterol level include:
- Fish, such as salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, and tuna—or canned tuna. These fish are definitely gluten-free and yet, are loaded with omega-3 fatty acid, which helps lower bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and raise good HDL cholesterol. Omega-3-rich fish also reduces inflammation and blood pressure, which is good for cholesterol-lowering plan.
- Beans and legumes, such as mung beans, red beans, lentils, and kidney beans. These beans are recommended for diabetic patients, as they contain proteins and both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. These fiber has a significant role in lowering bad LDL and slow down digestive process, due to the considerably lower glycemic index. Slower digestion prevents glucose and insulin level from escalating drastically.
- Nuts and seeds, which include walnuts, almonds, flaxseeds, and other raw nuts. Nuts contain unsaturated fat, which is effective in lowering both the LDL and triglycerides level in the blood, without affecting the level of HDL. A sufficient portion each day will give a good control on your cholesterol balance. However, be really wise on the portion, as nuts are filled with calories as well.
- Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccolis, cabbages, cauliflowers, and kale. Those are packed with fiber to reduce cholesterol in the blood. Dietary fiber helps disposing cholesterol from the body, which is beneficial for the heart. Regular consumption of these vegetables also help lower blood pressure.
Non-fat yogurt is among the top gluten-free foods for lowering cholesterol. The byproducts of lactobacilli fermentation inhibits body’s ability to make cholesterol. Thus, the food source is able to control cholesterol level in blood. Combining yogurt with vegetarian diets gives a significant role of controlling low cholesterol level.
- Red wine
Although alcohol is often associated with raising blood sugar level, occasional drinks of red wine can maintain your cholesterol and triglycerides level lower. Red wine is derived from red grapes, with skin loaded with resveratrol—a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substance which may help protect from LDL cholesterol build up in the arteries.