Smoothies That Lower Cholesterol
When cholesterol level rises, we mostly turn to modern medicine for answers. Doctors would prescribe statins and other cholesterol-inhibiting drugs. Then the symptoms subdue and all things go back to normal. Until it rises again and back to the drugstore you go.
This is the vicious cycle that most of us with cholesterol problems are trapped in. Those medications might work for now but it can have nasty side effects over time. Statin, for example, may cause liver inflammation and muscle problems.
We’re not saying you shouldn’t take these things. But there are other ways to lower cholesterol without risking your liver or muscles. Eating healthy foods is a great start.
One of the fastest, easiest and yummiest ways get your daily fixing of healthy foods is a smoothie. It’s so fast and easy to make. Just throw everything in a blender and you’re good to go. Plus you can drink it whenever and wherever you want.
You can also drink smoothies to lower cholesterol. The key is in the ingredients you throw into it. But before we delve deep into how you can turn your smoothie into an anti-cholesterol machine, let us first know more about cholesterol.
What is Cholesterol?
Thanks to mass media, cholesterol has become a household term in the past few decades. But what is cholesterol? Is it really that bad? Where does it come from?
Cholesterol, per se, is not bad. It’s a waxy, fat-like substance normally present in our cell membranes and helps our body function normally. It’s especially useful in producing hormones, vitamin D and bile acids that help digest fat.
There are two sources of cholesterol: our liver and the foods we eat. Our liver does an excellent job of producing just the right amount of cholesterol that our body needs. But excessive cholesterol from the foods we eat can throw off that delicate balance.
When one has too much cholesterol in their bloodstream, it gets deposited in the arteries. Over time, this builds up and blocks the flow of blood. This leads to various cardiovascular illnesses.
But where does all this excess cholesterol comes from?
Apart from foods, other lifestyle choices also affect our cholesterol levels. Smoking, alcohol, and lack of physical exercise all contribute to increasing the risk factors. Genetics plays a role too. If your family has a history of cholesterol problems, then there’s a great chance you’ll inherit it.
Why should you not ignore high cholesterol? Because cholesterol levels, when left unchecked, can be fatal. Some of the most common diseases brought about by too much cholesterol include stroke, high blood pressure, heart attack, blood clots, and even impotence.
Smoothie Ingredients that Help Reduce Cholesterol
Before we go into the recipes, let us first take a look at what basic ingredients should be present in your smoothie.
They are some of the most nutritious foods on the planet. They also make a great addition to your smoothie.
Choose dark green vegetables such as spinach, kale, brussel sprouts, artichokes, and broccoli. Pumpkins and cucumbers work too. These vegetables make a nice, green smoothie that’s not only very refreshing but very healthy too. How can green smoothie lower cholesterol? Most green vegetables have high fiber and antioxidant content. Soluble fiber helps regulate the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream.
Fruits make the best smoothies. Not because most of them are naturally sweet but because they have low calories and are packed with nutrients and soluble fibers. Some of the best fruits to make your smoothies with are apples, raspberries, blueberries, banana, mango, orange, persimmon, guava, and strawberries.
This humble breakfast staple has made a name for itself in terms of fiber content. Another great thing about it is you can actually add it to your smoothies. A half-cup of dry oats should do the trick. Whole grain rolled oats makes great smoothies but any other type will do. It’s not recommended for those allergic to gluten though. If you’re craving for a gluten-free smoothie, try using quinoa instead. Check out our post on the health benefits of oats vs. quinoa.
Seeds and Nuts
One way of lowering your cholesterol is to munch on foods with high amounts of unsaturated fats. This type of fat helps lower your body’s LDL cholesterol or more commonly known as the “bad cholesterol”. It also aids in reducing inflammation. Seeds and nuts like almonds, flax seeds, walnuts, chia seeds, cashews, and sesame seeds are excellent sources of unsaturated fats.
An important ingredient to every smoothie is the mixing liquid. Instead of plain water, choose liquids that are fortified with cholesterol-lowering nutrients. You can substitute water with orange juice, soy milk, coconut water, almond milk or other low-fat milk.
Whey Protein Powder
You may not commonly see whey protein powder being recommended as an addition to your smoothie but you should. Studies have found that it helps reduce bad cholesterol and lowers your blood pressure to boot. It also contains casein, a type of milk protein that reduces the body’s total cholesterol. Follow the serving instructions on the level to know how much you should add.
Any excess calories from the foods we eat are stored as triglycerides in fat cells. The more calories we eat, the more triglycerides are deposited in our bloodstreams. When this goes out of hand, your arteries can harden increasing your risk for heart attack. A study found that the calcium and other living organisms in unflavored yogurts lower cholesterol and triglycerides making it a perfect addition to your smoothie.
To help you get started on a cholesterol-free journey, here are five smoothie recipes you can easily whip up at home:
Banana Strawberry Smoothie
- 12 medium-sized strawberries
- 1 banana
- 1 cup baby spinach leaves
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- ice cubes (optional)
Blueberry Avocado Smoothie
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1/2 of an avocado
- 1 cup of coconut water
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1 serving of vanilla whey protein powder
- ice cubes (optional)
Ultra Green Smoothie
- 1/2 a cucumber with the peel,
- 2 cups of swiss chard,
- 2 celery stalks,
- 1 medium peach,
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/4 of an avocado
- 2 cups kale or spinach
- 1 green apple
- 1/2 to 3/4 cups of water
- spirulina powder (optional)
Fruity Ginger Smoothie
- 6 ounces of water or orange juice
- 1 cup pineapple, diced
- 1 mango, peeled
- 2 cups kale, chopped or torn into pieces
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
Berry Oatmeal Smoothie
- 1/4 cup of rolled oats
- 1/2 cup of almond milk
- 1/3 cup of greek yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 5 medium strawberries,
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- a squeeze of lemon juice
- ice cubes (optional)