Which Foods Are The Best To Lower Cholesterol
Theres a long list of foods you can eat in order to help your cholesterol levels. While no single food may be responsible for dramatic decreases, incorporating several heart-healthy foods can definitely get your levels to more acceptable levels. Elena Paravantes, a registered dietitian nutritionist and author of the book The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Beginners says, foods that are rich in soluble fiber are very beneficial for cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and turns into a gel-like substance. Other good choices are monounsaturated fats and foods that contain natural plant sterols such as nuts and seeds.
Below, weve included a list of the best foods that lower cholesterol.
Guide For Lowering Cholesterol Naturally
The complete Pritikin Program for lowering cholesterol with little or no medication. Includes recipes and 5-day meal plan. The Ultimate Guide for Lowering LDL Cholesterol Naturally
If your LDL levels are still too high after trying these 6 nutrition-based approaches, talk to your doctor about cholesterol-lowering medications like statins, but give these 6 tips your best shot, encourages Dr. Danine Fruge, MD, ABFP, Medical Director at the Pritikin Longevity Center. The right eating plan, like Pritikin, can be powerfully beneficial and there are no adverse side effects.
The Best And Worst Foods To Eat To Lower Your Cholesterol
Cardiovascular disease is the number one leading cause of death in the US.
High cholesterol levels, particularly high LDL cholesterol, have been associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
Luckily, cholesterol can be improved through lifestyle and dietary changes.
Check out these 15 foods to help lower cholesterol and decrease your risk for heart disease.
Specifically, these foods target lowering bad LDL cholesterol levels.
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Beans: Healthy Pintos And Garbanzos Stand Out
All types of beans and other legumes pinto, red, white, navy, black, garbanzo, lima, and lentil, for example are excellent sources of soluble fiber. Fiber binds to cholesterol-laden bile salts in the small intestine and promotes their excretion along with waste. When this happens, the liver must use more cholesterol to produce more bile salts, therefore lowering the amount of cholesterol available to make LDL.
Still, results of nutrition surveys published in January 2016 in PLoS One show that awareness of the cholesterol-lowering benefits of beans is low. Eating as little as one half cup of cooked pinto beans per day may lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol significantly, noted a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition in June 2007.
Add These Foods To Lower Ldl Cholesterol
Different foods lower cholesterol in various ways. Some deliver soluble fiber, which binds cholesterol and its precursors in the digestive system and drags them out of the body before they get into circulation. Some give you polyunsaturated fats, which directly lower LDL. And some contain plant sterols and stanols, which block the body from absorbing cholesterol.
1. Oats. An easy first step to lowering your cholesterol is having a bowl of oatmeal or cold oat-based cereal like Cheerios for breakfast. It gives you 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber. Add a banana or some strawberries for another half-gram. Current nutrition guidelines recommend getting 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day, with at least 5 to 10 grams coming from soluble fiber.
2. Barley and other whole grains. Like oats and oat bran, barley and other whole grains can help lower the risk of heart disease, mainly via the soluble fiber they deliver.
3. Beans. Beans are especially rich in soluble fiber. They also take a while for the body to digest, meaning you feel full for longer after a meal. That’s one reason beans are a useful food for folks trying to lose weight. With so many choices from navy and kidney beans to lentils, garbanzos, black-eyed peas, and beyond and so many ways to prepare them, beans are a very versatile food.
4. Eggplant and okra. These two low-calorie vegetables are good sources of soluble fiber.
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Is The Portfolio Diet Right For Me
Recent research from Toronto University has shown that the Portfolio Diet can improve blood pressure, decreasing inflammation and reduce the 10-year risk of heart disease. However, people taking cholesterol-lowering drugs were excluded from the original study, so it is not known whether the diet could produce the same level of cholesterol reduction in those on medication.
How Does Diet Affect Cholesterol Levels
Your cholesterol level has a lot to do with what foods you choose to put on your plate.
In the United States, Cardiovascular Disease is one of the leading causes of poor health, sometimes accompanied by death.
This happens to be directly associated with poor eating habits.
For instance, consuming too much fat can increase LDL cholesterol. Subsequently, elevating the risk of heart disease.
However, choosing a healthy diet reverses this process, giving you a clean bill on health.
And if these are not enough, there are other foods to sink your teeth into in order to balance your cholesterol level.
Here are some foods to increase HDL and decrease LDL levels.
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Cholesterol: The Good And The Bad
Two different types of lipoproteins carry cholesterol to and from cells. LDL cholesterol carries lipoproteins to the cells.
HDL carries nutrients and excess lipoprotein molecules to the liver to be excreted.
Each of these cholesterol levels can be checked by your primary care doctor.
They can help you review your levels and find out whether or not they are in the desired range.
Work In Some More Movement To Your Daily Tasks
Do you need to start running every day? Do you need to join a gym or buy a bunch of home fitness equipment? If you want to, go ahead! But there are many other choices, and finding a routine that works for you is whats most important.
Ideally, you want to aim for at least 2.5 hours of moderate physical activity every week. You can break that up however you like. You might focus on doing something every day, or you could dedicate yourself to just a few days per week. The key is to just get started.
For example, do you usually take the elevator? Take the stairs instead. Do you walk your dog every day? Go a little farther than usual, or walk at a faster pace. Need to go shopping? Park farther away than you normally do. Catching up on your favorite TV series? Try stretching, dumbbells or kettlebells while youre watching rather than just sitting on the couch. Also look for chances to bring motion into your daily life, such as walking while you talk on the phone.
If youre feeling good, work up to more intense physical activity, like lap swimming, jogging or hot yoga. Dont overexert yourself, but remember that regular and consistent exercise has benefits beyond managing your cholesterol. It also helps reduce blood pressure and builds your overall physical, mental and emotional well-being.
Even if you just go a little farther or a little faster than you usually do, that extra activity will be a big step in the right direction for your health.
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Add Plant Stanols Or Sterols
Include 2 grams of plant stanols or sterols per day. This may help lower your LDL cholesterol. Stanols and sterols are found in fortified foods or supplements. To add these in your diet you can:
Add foods fortified with stanols and sterols. Ask your dietitian for more information.
Include daily supplements such as CardioSterols or Cholestoff capsules and Benecol chews.
Oats And Oat Bran: Just A Little Every Day
Oats and oat bran contain beta-glucan, a water-soluble fiber that helps reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol circulating in the blood. A meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in December 2014 found that a daily intake of at least 3 grams of oat beta-glucan reduces total cholesterol and cuts LDL cholesterol levels. That’s the amount in ¼ cup of uncooked oat bran or 1½ cups of cooked steel-cut oatmeal.
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Substitute Healthy Oils In Place Of Butter And Margarine
Of course, its not always realistic to avoid fats when youre whipping up a tasty meal.
When you do need to add fat for cooking, baking or pan frying, use healthy oils instead of solid fats like butter, margarine, shortening and lard. Solid fats are high in saturated fats, but oils are high in unsaturated fats, which remember are better for you. The American Heart Association recommends using oils that have less than 4 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon .
Many times, its easy to swap a solid fat to a healthier one. Try using olive oil, sunflower oil or grapeseed oil in place of a solid fat.
For example, if youd rather use olive oil than butter, substitute ¾ the amount of butter in a recipe with olive oil. You might also bring out some new, surprising, subtle flavors, too.
Foods To Lower Ldl Cholesterol And Raise Hdl Cholesterol
Low-Density Lipoprotein cholesterol, as we all know, if exceeded, can block the artery walls.
And conventionally known as the good cholesterol, HDL does the job of absorbing cholesterol and sending it back to the liver.
Thereafter, the liver flushes it from the body.
Hence, it has all the means and rights to be called healthy cholesterol that combats bad cholesterol aka LDL effectively.
HDL being less than 40 mg/dl for men and below 50 mg/dl for women is a matter of concern.
People with such dropped levels need an immediate HDL boost in their blood.
On the other hand, a high LDL needs to be lowered down ASAP to prevent cardiac arrest.
So, why not fill your plate with an overall nutritious heart-healthy diet?
Lets find out how to lower LDL cholesterol and go through the below-listed food sources that can lower LDL cholesterol and up HDL in the long run.
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Why Is There Good And Bad Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a powerful building block in our body.
It is composed of a waxy substance that helps makeup cell walls, absorb vitamins and minerals, and regulate hormones.
We need cholesterol to live optimally.
In fact, the body makes cholesterol on its own due to the high demand for this molecule in our body.
Cholesterol often acts as a transporter.
There are two main types of transportation that cholesterol can do.
The first is from the liver to the bloodstream.
This pumps healthy building blocks to the body to help build healthy cells.
LDL cholesterol is the type that carries cholesterol throughout the body.
It transports nutrients from the liver to the cells in the body.
Elevated LDL cholesterol is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
HDL cholesterol acts as a transporter from the cells back to the liver.
This type of cholesterol is often thought of as the clean up crew.
Because it is transporting cholesterol and excess molecules back to the liver to be excreted via bile acids, HDL is beneficial.
How Is Cholesterol Measured
Most people with high cholesterol feel perfectly well and often have no symptoms. The best way to find out if your cholesterol is high is to have a blood test .
Visit your GP to determine whether you need to lower your cholesterol level and what action to take.
GPs can also do a heart health check, that calculates your heart disease and stroke risk.
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Minimize Foods That Raise Blood Cholesterol
Eat far fewer :
- Saturated-fat-rich foods such as butter, tropical oils like coconut oil, fatty meats, and dairy foods like cheese, cream, and whole/low-fat milk
- Organ meats
- Processed meats such as hot dogs, bacon, and bologna
- Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils
- Cholesterol-rich foods like egg yolks.
Have you recently heard in the news that egg yolks are okay? Dont believe it, cautions Kimberly Gomer, Director of Nutrition and Educator at Pritikin. Egg yolks are not okay, as this review by faculty at Pritikin elucidates.
What Is The Ideal Cholesterol Level
The ideal blood cholesterol level is below 150 milligrams per deciliter , based on the results of the Framingham Heart Study and other research. At that level, heart disease is very unlikely. Unfortunately, nearly 107 million Americans have cholesterol levels that are greater than 200 mg/dL, which is dangerously close to 225 mg/dLthe average cholesterol level of coronary artery disease victims.
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What Causes High Cholesterol
Some causes of high blood cholesterol include:
- Low intake of foods containing healthy fats healthy fats tend to increase the good cholesterol.
- High intake of foods containing unhealthy fats such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, butter, coconut oil, palm oil and most deep-fried takeaway foods and commercially baked products . Foods high in trans-fats include most commercially baked products and deep-fried takeaway foods.
- Low intake of foods containing fibre foods that are high in dietary fibre, particularly soluble fibre, can reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol in your blood. Include fibre-containing foods in your diet by choosing vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, nuts and seeds every day.
- Cholesterol in food this has only a small effect on LDL cholesterol -saturated fats and trans-fats in food have a much greater effect.
- You can also eat up to 7 eggs a week as part of a healthy, balanced diet low in saturated and trans-fats, without increasing your risk of heart disease.
Some people will have high cholesterol even if they follow a healthy, balanced diet low in saturated fats and trans-fats. These people may need to take cholesterol-lowering medicine as prescribed by their doctor.
Repeat After Me Beans Beans Beans
Beans are soluble fiber superstars all beans, from lentils to pintos.
Eating a cup of beans each day, such as kidney, navy, pinto, black, chickpeas, or butter beans, can lower cholesterol by as much as 10% in six weeks. A review7 of 26 studies recently found that one serving of beans per day was linked to lower levels of LDL cholesterol as well as healthier arteries, especially in men.
Beans are also very good for weight loss. They help people feel fuller and reduce food cravings, research8 has shown.
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Apples: Rich In Fiber And Beneficial Antioxidants
As with beans, apples are an excellent source of LDL-lowering soluble fiber, primarily pectin. Research published in December 2014 in the European Journal of Nutrition also shows that eating an apple a day can slow the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. This health benefit comes thanks to antioxidant polyphenols found primarily in apple skin . Antioxidants are important because inflammation and plaque buildup in the arteries are more likely to occur when LDL cholesterol interacts with free radicals and becomes oxidized.
Try Having One Vegetarian Meal Every Week
Dont let the word vegetarian scare you. By choosing a smartly prepared vegetarian meal, youre hitting multiple cholesterol-lowering goals at the same time, like eating healthier fats and getting more soluble fiber. Plus, many vegetarian meals are just as flavorful and filling as their meaty cousins.
Heres one idea for a low-cholesterol recipe: Try a freshly prepared salad with a sesame vinaigrette and some grilled, spiced tofu. For dessert, add some fresh blueberries, strawberries and oats to low-fat vanilla yogurt.
The key here is to build up a routine, like making every Tuesday night vegetarian night. Once that becomes the norm, try expanding to different nights, or add a weekly vegetarian lunch, too. You can also be flexitarian by just eating smaller portions of meat. Over time, these modifications can really add up and pay off.
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Aspects Of Cholesterol Problems
In and of itself, cholesterol is not a bad thing: It’s present in every cell in the body and does a lot of goodsupporting the production of hormones, digestion, and converting sunlight into vitamin D. Approximately 75 percent of the cholesterol present in the blood is produced by the liver, but the rest is derived from the diet, which is why making dietary changes is an effective way to keep cholesterol levels healthy.
There are two types of cholesterol:
- Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol is regarded as “bad cholesterol.” It’s the soft, waxy stuff that can accumulate in the bloodstream and interfere with the flow of blood.
- High-density lipoprotein the so-called “good cholesterol”helps keep blood vessels clear by carrying LDL cholesterol to the liver for disposal.
In addition to cholesterol, the levels of triglycerides in the body are important to heart health and so usually are considered a key aspect of a person’s overall blood cholesterol “profile.”
|Cholesterol Level Guidelines for Adults 20 and Older|
What Can You Eat On A Low Cholesterol Diet
Being mindful about what you eat can lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of developing heart disease. Foods to include in a low cholesterol diet include those that lower bad cholesterol or low-density lipoproteins and increase good cholesterol or high-density lipoproteins .
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Risks And Side Effects
While adding these foods to your diet can definitely help keep your cholesterol in check, its important to combine them with a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle to really optimize heart health. Even on the best cholesterol-lowering diet, adding a few superfoods here and there is unlikely to make much of a difference if youre not making changes in other parts of your daily regimen.
Minimizing stress levels, exercising regularly, increasing your intake of whole foods, cutting out heavily processed, high cholesterol foods and giving up unhealthy habits like smoking or drinking are just a few other natural ways to keep cholesterol levels under control and support better health.