High cholesterol is a condition that clogs the arteries and can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. Although high cholesterol may be due to heredity or other uncontrollable factors, eating a nutritious diet can help control this disease and reduce your risk of complications. Substituting whole grains for refined grains is one way to help lower your cholesterol.
Everyone has cholesterol in their bodies -- good cholesterol, and bad cholesterol. Your body requires cholesterol to build healthy cells. An abundance of bad cholesterol can be caused by genetics and by food choices. Excessive amounts of this waxy substance in your bloodstream lead to the formation of fatty deposits, a condition that may restrict the flow of blood through your arteries. This decrease in blood flow can lead to a heart attack or stroke. High cholesterol does not exhibit any symptoms and medical testing is the only sure way to determine the level of cholesterol in your blood. Your doctor may prescribe medications to treat your high cholesterol, as well as advising you to consume foods that can help lower your cholesterol levels.
Fiber is an important part of controlling cholesterol levels. Dietary fiber is an edible substance that your body does not digest. Soluble fibers that absorb water help speed fecal matter through the digestive tract -- allowing you to go to the bathroom more frequently to flush the bad cholesterol out of the body. This decreased blood cholesterol levels and minimizes the risk or heart disease, colon cancer, diabetes and diverticulitis.
Grains provide your body with carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, without adding large amounts of fat. While white rice falls into this category, it is not as healthy for your diet or as beneficial in lowering your cholesterol as brown rice. White rice is a refined grain that no longer contains the bran or germ, the outer particles of the grain that provide the largest amount of fiber, since it is removed during processing. One cup of cooked brown rice supplies your body with about 3.5 g of fiber, while the same amount of white rice only offers about 1/3 that amount.
Substitute whole grains for refined foods whenever possible to help lower your cholesterol. Eat brown rice or wild rice in place of white rice and choose whole-grain breads and cereals over white breads and refined cereals. Look for items that include at least 3 g of fiber in each serving size, avoiding grains that contain less than this amount.
- woman eating rice cracker image by forca from Fotolia.com
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.