Cholesterol is a wax-like substance that is found all over the body – blood, cells, arteries and tissues. It’s an extremely important element that’s needed to make maintain hormonal balance. It becomes a problem when the ‘bad’ cholesterol overtakes the ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL). That’s what increases the risk of heart problems as it can clog walls of arteries and harm blood flow. High cholesterol levels can also lead to obesity, diabetes and joint pains. A poor diet, lack of protein, inadequate physical movement, smoking, being overweight are some of the reasons of high cholesterol levels. Statins are an easy way out to control these levels, but these are strong medicines and difficult to stop. A better solution would be to make a few lifestyle changes and control your cholesterol naturally. Supporting your liver is key when it comes to lowering cholesterol levels and it can be done through natural food sources. Here, Nutritionist and Chef Ishti Saluja is suggesting eight foods that can help reduce cholesterol naturally. CELERY, CUCUMBER, GINGER & MINT JUICE — packed with nutrients and antioxidants, it helps purify blood and optimizes functioning of the liver so it reduces the production of LDL cholesterol. Simply blend the ingredients with some water and add a pinch of Himalayan salt. Drink it immediately – do not let it sit around after blending. FIBRE-RICH FOOD — fibre helps to trap cholesterol and prevents the body from reabsorbing it into the bloodstream. It helps remove it as waste from the body, keeping overall toxins low. Good sources of fibre: Overnight soaked chia and flax seeds, green vegetables, whole grains, berries. OATS — rich in fibre, oats also increase satiety and keeps blood sugar levels in check – helping reduce food cravings. This helps with weight management and thus helps in controlling cholesterol levels. PROTEIN — increasing your intake of protein along with proper physical movement helps increase HDL levels, while reducing LDL levels. This happens when each cell in the body reduces its fat content and increases its protein content. Clean sources of protein include: eggs, salmon, paneer, edamame, green beans, lentils, chickpea, kidney beans, sprouts and prawns. HEALTHY FATS — high cholesterol levels does not mean you cannot have fats. Healthy fats are a great source of omega 3, which keeps the heart healthy. Include food items like ghee, avocado, salmon, olive oil, nuts and seeds to your diet to keep the heart healthy and reduce LDL levels. BANANAS — high in potassium and fibre, bananas help maintaining blood sugar balance, reduce food cravings and blocks cholesterol from being absorbed from the intestines in the bloodstream. WHEATGRASS JUICE — having this on an empty stomach helps detox the liver, helping it remove excessive toxins, including the bad cholesterol. LIMIT YOUR INTAKE OF SUGAR & PROCESSED FOOD — a good lifestyle includes the removal or lowered consumption of sugar and processed foods like potato chips, full fat dairy, canned drinks, sugary snacks and so on. They are full of preservatives that add pressure on the body’s natural elimination system, making it harder to remove toxins. It’s best to focus on home cooked food, rich in whole grains, fresh, seasonal produce! OTHER FOODS THAT CAN REDUCE CHOLESTEROL — traditionally some foods are believed to cut fat which includes sugar, fennel water, apple cider vinegar and cumin water. One can consume these after having fatty meal to reduce the absorption of fat in the bloodstream.