I've had high cholesterol since I was fourteen. Since the start of high school, I have sacrificed my health in an effort to pull up my grades, score a 2400 on the SAT, and be the president of two clubs. All the junk food and binge-eating episodes have ravaged my body enough. Here's how I'm going to reverse the effects of all that greasy, creamy, and fried food, even though I'm shelling out $60,000 per year for college.
1. Black beans - $1 per can
Black beans have a gargantuan amount of fiber, and they also have plenty of calcium, folic acid, and potassium! It's even healthier to buy dry beans, since boiling the beans at home can help preserve more of their cancer-fighting antioxidants. If you're not a fan of black beans on their own, try Beanitos, which are chips made from beans. In fact, they're high in fiber and protein, and they're gluten-free, trans fat-free, MSG-free, and GMO-free.
2. Eggs - $2 per dozen
Eggs may have a bad reputation for their high amounts of cholesterol, but whole eggs actually raise your levels of HDL, or "good cholesterol." Eggs are also high in lutein and zeaxanthin, which are antioxidants that reduce your chances of getting eye diseases. And, of course, eggs are full of protein!
3. Oats - $1 per pound
Oats are high in fiber and low in fat. Oat also has the potential to lower your cholesterol levels, decrease your chances of getting a cardiovascular disease, enhance the immune system's response to infection, and stabilize your blood sugar levels. Oats are also incredibly easy to incorporate into your diet: oatmeal for breakfast, oatmeal bars for snacks, oat bread for lunch, and oat risotto for dinner. They can even be a substitute for rice!
4. Tofu - $2 per pound
Tofu is another great source of protein. In moderation, tofu can even help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of breast cancer. Tofu is a healthy alternative for meat, and it can make the transition to vegetarianism or veganism easier. Just this Sunday, I grilled tofu "steaks" for my parents!
5. Grapes - $1.50 per pound
Grapes are high in antioxidants, which can help lower cholesterol. Resveratol, an antioxidant found in the skin of purple and red grapes, can speed up weight loss, eradicate brain-damaging plaques, improve brain power and function, protect your skin from cancer, protect your body from radiation, activate the human gene for survival and longevity, fight diabetes, support muscle recovery, and subdue inflammation. Who knew something with the circumference of your thumb could do so much?
6. Kiwis - $0.40 per kiwi
Kiwis may seem like fuzzy, unappetizing fruits, but in reality, they're actually berries that are full of vitamin C and fiber. In fact, kiwis have more vitamin C than oranges! Regular consumption of kiwis can result in a healthier heart, clearer skin, improved sleep, lower blood pressure, and the prevention of constipation.
7. Garlic - $0.30 per bulb
Garlic may give your breath a foul odor, but it's definitely worth it! Garlic is known to have many neurobiological benefits, such as the enhancement of memory and the reduction of the risk of getting Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Furthermore, garlic can boost the function of the immune system, reduce blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, detoxify heavy metals in the body, and ameliorate bone health.
8. Onions - $0.18 per onion
Onions may also give you stinky breath, but their benefits are overwhelming. The phytochemicals in onions can improve the function and efficiency of the immune system, and chromium, which is found in onions, can help with the regulation of blood sugar. Quercetin, another extraordinary compound found in onions, plays an important role in the prevention of cancer. Raw onions also encourage the production of HDL and can be easily incorporated into any meal: burgers, salads, salsa, tacos, and much, much more.
9. Sweet potatoes - $1 per pound
Next time you're tempted to order a side of french fries with your burger, ask for sweet potato fries! Sweet potatoes are full of vitamins, such as vitamin A, B6, C, and D. These vitamins make the sweet potato a superfood that prevents cancer, offers protection from the sun, helps the skin maintain its smoothness and youthful elasticity, aids in building healthy bones, heart, nerves, teeth, and skin, and supports the thyroid gland. Sweet potatoes are a great substitute for the white potatoes. After you get used to their taste, try steaming, pureeing, baking, roasting, or grilling them for an even healthier meal!
10. Kale - $2 per bunch
Kale is known as the antioxidant king of all fruits and vegetables. If that doesn't persuade you to try it, kale is full of amazing antioxidants, such as quercetin and kaempferol, which have resounding cardiovascular, blood pressure-lowering, anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral effects. Kale also helps lower cholesterol, is an excellent source of vitamin K, which is vital for blood clotting, and is high in lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that help protect the eyes.
All prices may have variations, but every food listed is known to be both healthy and cheap. Let's start our journeys to being healthy, despite our financial burdens!