Coconut Oil: Not As Good As Olive Or Sunflower Oil
Although some studies have found that coconut oil helps reduce bad LDL and total cholesterol levels, others have shown that it increases them. The jury is still out on coconut oil for lowering high cholesterol. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends using coconut oil less often than olive or sunflower oil, whose heart-health benefits are well-known.
Swap Processed Meat For Fish
Salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna and other fatty fish are some of the best foods to lower LDL and reduce heart disease risk. According to a 2016 review featured in , fish may help prevent cardiovascular problems thanks to its high content of bioactive compounds and polyunsaturated fatty acids , such as omega-3s. Research suggests that the fats in fish have little or no effect on total cholesterol but affect HDL and LDL cholesterol.
The study also points out that PUFAs may lower blood pressure, improve endothelial function and reduce inflammation, leading to better cardiovascular health. Processed and red meats, on the other hand, have been shown to increase the risk of death from all causes. Researchers believe that these side effects may be due to the nitrites and nitrates in red meat as well as to the toxic compounds released during cooking.
As the American Heart Association notes, red meat is higher in saturated fat than fish, chicken and vegetables. Processed meat contains trans fats that raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol levels. That’s why health experts recommend limiting red meat consumption and eating more fish and white meat.
Foods To Help Lower Cholesterol
You can increase your HDLs through exercise, but when it comes to your diet, there are several foods that can help with LDL reduction The key here is to reduce, replace and improvise.
Soluble fiber is a gummy fiber that binds to bile and removes it with your bodys waste. For every 1 gram of soluble fiber you eat, you can lower your LDL by 1%. Replacing foods high in saturated fat with mono- and polyunsaturated fats can also help reduce LDL in your body. Its important to find small ways of building these foods into your diet, like swapping out cheese on a salad with avocado slices or replacing a creamy dressing with olive oil and vinegar.
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Crushed Walnuts Instead Of Croutons On Salad
High-fiber vegetables are great for lowering cholesterol, so salads are a go that is, until you top them off with high-carb croutons, which may also be high in unhealthy fats. Enter heart-healthy nuts walnuts in particular are a great healthy food swap for garnishing a salad. A study published in March 2014 in the journal Metabolism showed that when people added 43 grams of walnuts to their diet every day for two months, their bad cholesterol levels went down significantly by about 7 milligrams per deciliter more than a control diet. And when it comes to nuts, walnuts are a particularly heart-healthy food for low cholesterol because they’re rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, a healthier type of fat.
Tactics To Reduce Cholesterol Quickly
For most of us, there’s really no need to pack our medicine cabinets with pills to reduce cholesterol levels. Natural, lifestyle-based strategies have proven extraordinarily effective in reducing cholesterol quickly and permanently.
Get the top 5 food and fitness tips recommended by the doctors, dietitians, exercise experts, and other faculty at the Pritikin Longevity Center. Pritikin has been helping people lower cholesterol levels since 1975.
Did you know that for every 10% drop in your cholesterol level, your heart attack risk drops by 20% to 30%? Theres more good news: Most of us can reduce cholesterol quickly, and without the need for medications. Simple lifestyle strategies can be very powerful.
Thats what several studies on thousands following the Pritikin Program of diet and exercise have found. Within three weeks, people were able to lower their cholesterol levels on average 23%, which translates into a 46% to 69% drop in heart attack risk.1
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Cook Fresh Vegetables The Heart
Try cooking vegetables in a tiny bit of vegetable oil and add a little water during cooking, if needed. Just one or two teaspoons of oil is enough for a package of plain frozen vegetables that serves four. Place the vegetables in a skillet with a tight cover and cook them over very low heat until done.
Add herbs and spices to make vegetables even tastier. For example, these combinations add subtle and surprising flavors:
- Rosemary with peas, cauliflower and squash
- Oregano with zucchini
- Basil with tomatoes
Start with a small quantity of herbs and spices , then let your familys feedback be your guide. Chopped parsley and chives, sprinkled on just before serving, can also enhance the flavor of many vegetables.
Foods To Avoid On The Mediterranean Diet
Any food with trans fat. Your goal is to eat as little trans fat as possible while still following a balanced diet. Foods high in trans fat include fried foods such as donuts and french fries, commercially baked goods like cookies and cakes made with partially hydrogenated oil, margarine spreads, fast-food fries, processed and packaged snacks.
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List Of Foods To Avoid To Lower Cholesterol
While certain foods can help to lower cholesterol levels, some are best avoided in order to keep your cholesterol levels in check. Heres the list of some of the foods to avoid to keep your cholesterol level under control.
Saturated Fat And Cholesterol
Diets high in saturated fat and cholesterol can contribute to high total cholesterol and a high low-density lipoprotein level in the body, increasing your risk for coronary artery disease caused by atherosclerosis, which is plaque build-up in the arteries.
Hereâs a list of foods that are high in cholesterol or saturated fat that you need to limit or avoid:
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Dark Chocolate Instead Of Milk Chocolate
If youre a chocoholic trying to stick to a heart-healthy diet, opt for the dark stuff. While milk chocolate contains saturated fat that can raise your LDL cholesterol, you can choose dark chocolate and skip most of the fat. Studies have shown that dark chocolate may actually boost your HDL cholesterol, too. Cocoa butter contains oleic acid, a healthier monounsaturated fat like that in olive oil. Additionally, cocoa may lower LDL cholesterol in people at risk for heart disease. Just make sure the dark chocolate you choose has 70 to 80 percent cacao, suggests Chauncey Crandall, MD, cardiologist at the Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center and the Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Foods With Added Sterols And Stanols
Sterols and stanols are plant chemicals which are a similar size and shape to cholesterol. They are absorbed from the intestines into the blood stream and block some cholesterol from being absorbed, lowering the cholesterol in your blood.
We get a small amount of sterols from plant-based foods such as vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, but its not enough to lower cholesterol. So, food companies have developed foods with plant sterols or stanols added to them, such as mini yogurt drinks, fat spreads, milk and yogurts.
These fortified foods lower your cholesterol gradually, over a few weeks, and how much depends on the amount you eat. Some experts believe they are the most effective single food for lowering cholesterol.
Who should eat foods with sterols and stanols added?
Sterols and stanols have been thoroughly researched, so they can be added to foods and are safe to eat.
They are suitable for:
- People with high cholesterol theres no real benefit if you dont have high cholesterol.
- Children with inherited high cholesterol such as familial hypercholesterolaemia with support from a doctor or dietitian.
- People taking statins sterols and stanols will help to lower your cholesterol further because they work in a different way to the statin.
They are not suitable for:
Aim for: one to three servings of fortified foods a day. This will give you 1.5 to 3g of stanols and sterols.
Three servings of: OR
- 1 glass of milk
One product a day:
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Scallops Instead Of Red Meat
Swapping out red meat for fish especially fattier varieties, like salmon may contribute to lower cholesterol numbers overall, says Sue Gebo, RD, MPH, a nutrition expert and assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Connecticut Medical School in Hartford.
Scallops are a particularly healthy substitute because they’re among the lowest in fat of all fish choices, so you’ll save on calories, too. Plus, Gebo adds, they have a rich texture and a very satisfying flavor, especially when theyre grilled.
Dark Chocolate And Cocoa
Cocoa is the main ingredient in dark chocolate.
It may seem too good to be true, but research verifies the claims that dark chocolate and cocoa can lower bad LDL cholesterol .
In one study, healthy adults drank a cocoa beverage twice a day for a month.
They experienced a reduction in bad LDL cholesterol of 0.17 mmol/l . Their blood pressure also decreased and their good HDL cholesterol increased .
Cocoa and dark chocolate also seem to protect the bad LDL cholesterol in your blood from oxidation, which is a key cause of heart disease .
However, chocolate is often high in added sugar which negatively affects heart health.
Therefore, you should use cocoa alone or choose dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 7585% or higher.
The effect seems strongest in people with high cholesterol.
SummaryThere is some evidence that soy foods can reduce heart disease risk factors, especially in people with high cholesterol.
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Enjoy Lots Of Fruits And Vegetables
Studies show that adults who consume at least four servings of fruits and vegetables each day have roughly 6% lower LDL cholesterol levels than people who eat fewer than two servings per day .
Fruits and vegetables also contain high numbers of antioxidants, which prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidizing and forming plaques in your arteries .
Together, these cholesterol-lowering and antioxidant effects can reduce your risk of heart disease.
Research has found that people who eat the most fruits and vegetables have a 17% lower risk of developing heart disease over 10 years compared to those who eat the fewest .
Summary Eating at least four servings of fruits and vegetables daily can lower LDL cholesterol levels and reduce LDL oxidation, which may reduce your risk of heart disease.
What Foods Are High In Cholesterol
Some foods naturally contain cholesterol, called dietary cholesterol. According to the NHS, dietary cholesterol has much less of an effect on the cholesterol levels in your blood than saturated and trans fats . Foods high in dietary cholesterol include:
- Organ meats
Eating too many foods high in saturated fat can raise the level of cholesterol in your blood. This is because saturated fats cause your liver to produce more LDL cholesterol. Its best to replace saturated and trans-fats with healthy unsaturated fats.
Foods high in saturated fat include:
- Butter, ghee, and lard
- Foods containing coconut oil, palm oil, and cocoa butter
Trans fats can also raise cholesterol levels . Foods containing trans fats include:
- Processed foods like pastries, pies, cakes, and biscuits made with trans-fat vegetable oils
- Commercially fried food products
- Fries or potato chips fried in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils
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Foods That Lower Cholesterol
A persons diet plays a crucial role in how healthy their cholesterol levels are. Eating foods that keep cholesterol within a healthy range can help prevent health issues, including a heart attack or stroke.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that travels through the bloodstream as a part of two different lipoproteins: low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein .
People sometimes refer to LDL cholesterol as bad cholesterol because it causes fatty deposits to build up in the blood vessels. These deposits can block blood flow and cause heart attacks or strokes.
HDL, or good, cholesterol helps remove cholesterol from the body through the liver. High levels of HDL cholesterol can reduce the risk of heart problems and strokes.
Pasta With Olive Oil And Veggies
A simple pasta dish made with olive oil, lots of vegetables, and lean protein is an easy meal that can help support healthy cholesterol levels. Stick to the proper portion size of your pasta servingâabout the size of a baseballâand top it with good-for-you ingredients like olive oil, greens, and chicken breast for a satisfying carb that is low in fat and contains no added sugars.
Eating olive oil has been shown to increase HDL cholesterol and decrease LDL cholesterol. And veggies are obviously jam-packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a slew of other nutrients that are important for supporting your heart and overall health.
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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.
Portion Control For Better Numbers
As youre planning a high cholesterol diet, dont forget that portion control matters, too. Your body weight can have a surprising effect on your cholesterol. If someone is overweight or obese, they can reduce LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol by losing as little as 3 percent to 5 percent of their body weight, says Sollid. For healthy weight loss, aim to lose no more than one to two pounds per week.
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Cook With Herbs And Spices
Herbs and spices are nutritional powerhouses packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Human studies have shown that garlic, turmeric and ginger are especially effective at lowering cholesterol when eaten regularly .
In fact, eating just one garlic clove per day for three months is enough to lower total cholesterol by 9% .
In addition to lowering cholesterol, herbs and spices contain antioxidants that prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidizing, reducing the formation of plaques within your arteries .
Even though herbs and spices are not typically eaten in large quantities, they can contribute significantly to the total amount of antioxidants consumed each day .
Dried oregano, sage, mint, thyme, clove, allspice and cinnamon contain some of the highest numbers of antioxidants, as well as fresh herbs such as oregano, marjoram, dill and cilantro .
Summary Both fresh and dried herbs and spices can help lower cholesterol levels. They contain antioxidants that prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidation.
Foods That Lower Your Cholesterol
Some foods can actively help to lower your cholesterol and they all work in different ways. Try to include these foods in your meals whenever you can:
1. Oats and barley
Eating whole grain foods reduces your risk of heart disease. Oats and barley are extra special because they are high in a type of soluble fibre called ‘beta glucan’. Beta glucan helps to lower ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in your blood2,3.
Tip: Flavoured oat products like ‘Quick Oats’ often contain added salt and/or sugar. Choose products that contain 100% oats as they’re closest to how theyre found in nature.
2. Vegetables and fruit
Eating a variety of colourful vegetables and fruit everyday can help protect you against heart disease, stroke and some cancers4,5. Many vegetables and fruit are high in soluble fibre which helps to reduce the absorption of cholesterol and lower ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in your blood.
Tip: Leave the skins on vegetables like pumpkin, kmara and carrot to maximise your intake of fibre. Use orange and lemon peel in dressings and sauces.
3. Foods rich in heart-healthy fats
Eating plenty of foods that contain heart-healthy mono and poly-unsaturated fats increases the levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol in your blood.
These foods contain heart-healthy fats.
- Vegetable oils and spreads
Eating these foods instead of foods high in saturated fat improves your cholesterol. Itll reduce your risk of heart disease too6.
4. Legumes and beans
6. Soy products
7. Plant sterols
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