An elevated cholesterol level increases the risk of developing heart disease. Healthy diet and lifestyle plays an essential role and helping to lower blood cholesterol level. Plant based foods are cholesterol free and contain compounds that may decrease the levels of LDL cholesterol and increase HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) or “good” cholesterol.
Flavonoids are one of the largest nutrient families. It’s a phytonutrients in plant-based food products that often contribute to the color of the foods and provide antioxidant activity which may play a significant role in anti-inflammatory as it supports the cardiovascular system and blocks the production of messaging molecules that promote inflammation.
Flavonoids helps to protect LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein), the bad cholesterol molecules from oxygen-related damage. This LDL protection, in turn, helps to lower risk of atherosclerosis.
There are thousands and thousands of food flavonoids. Certain plant-based food groups are known to be much higher in flavonoids than others, such as berries. Many of the berries are high in flavonoids, particularly red, blue and purple berries. Darker and riper berries tend to have higher flavonoid value.
Fruits that grow on trees also have been shown to be high in flavonoids are bananas and citrus fruits including grapefruit, lemons, limes and oranges. Members of the Rosaceae family of tree fruits including apples, pears, plums, peaches and apricots are best if consumed raw with the skin on.
Some nuts and certain beans are also high in flavonoids are walnuts, pecans pistachios and cashews, soybean. Dark beans such as black and kidney beans tend to contain higher flavonoids. Beans that are consumed in an immature form such as fava beans or pinto snap beans are rich in flavonols.
Most vegetables contain flavonoids, particularly green and red vegetables. Members of the nightshade family including peppers, tomatoes and eggplants. Onions, particularly red onions and green onions and green vegetables such as celery, artichokes, snap beans, okra and broccoli are all high in flavonols.
Some spices and flavoring agents are high in certain types of flavonoids, and, while generally consumed in smaller quantities, may still offer some health benefits particularly if used while fresh, such as dill, parsley, thyme, capers, also chocolate, especially the dark variety.
Fruit juices made from raw, unprocessed fruit maintains many of the health benefits if consumed in an unfiltered form, as do vegetable juices. Red wine carries many of the health benefits of grapes and grape juices. Tea of all types including black, red and green varieties have been shown to be high in flavonols.