Cholesterol Lowering Foods
Cholesterol is a naturally occurring substance found in all cells of the body, and helps build cell membranes, hormones and vitamin D. High cholesterol levels can have severe implications for cardiovascular health and increase your risk for heart attack and stroke, so it is important to do what you can to maintain healthy levels.
Fortunately, making simple dietary changes can help. Here’s a look at the top cholesterol-lowering foods to help you get started on a heart-healthy journey:
A bowl of oatmeal provides a wealth of heart-healthy benefits . Oatmeal is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and soluble fiber, two nutrients that help lower cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber binds with cholesterol and removes it from the body. Studies have found that 7–10 grams of soluble fiber a day can reduce your low-density lipoprotein (or “bad cholesterol”) by up to 10%.
Avocados are packed with the necessary vitamins and minerals your body needs to stay healthy, as well as healthy fat , which can be beneficial to your cholesterol levels.
Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats, which have been found to lower cholesterol levels. According to a study of 45 participants, consuming half an avocado with lunch decreased LDL cholesterol levels by 13.5%.
Olive oil is one of the healthiest cooking oils you can use and has been shown to improve cholesterol levels. It is high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which has been found to decrease total cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides.
Researchers have also found that consuming four tablespoons of olive oil a day can improve HDL cholesterol levels.
Nuts are incredibly nutritious, and some studies suggest that the fatty acids and fiber found in certain types of nuts may help lower cholesterol levels.
A review of 19 studies found that consuming tree nuts (such as almonds, pecans or walnuts) or peanuts was associated with an 11% decrease in total cholesterol levels and a 13% drop in LDL levels.
Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been found to help reduce inflammation and lower triglycerides, total cholesterol and LDL levels.
Legumes, such as lentils, beans and chickpeas are a great source of protein and dietary fiber, both of which can help lower cholesterol levels.
According to a review of 11 studies, consuming legumes every day can reduce LDL cholesterol by 5%.
Other Foods That May Help Lower Cholesterol
• Dark chocolate
• Green tea
• Red wine
• Fatty fish
• Fruits and vegetables
Making a few simple dietary changes and incorporating these cholesterol-lowering foods can help reduce your risk for heart attack and stroke, and help you to maintain a healthy lifestyle.