Top 15 Foods That Lower Cholesterol
Nowadays, cholesterol is associated with getting fat and being unhealthy. It is partially true because high amounts of LDL cholesterol can lead to so many health complications. Our body actually needs a small amount of cholesterol to be used for building cell membrane structures, helping in the metabolism process, and producing vitamin D and hormones like testosterone and estrogen. The body cannot function properly without cholesterol. This fat-like substance becomes a problem if there is a high amount of LDL cholesterol levels that can build up in the arteries. If this cholesterol build-up continues, it will cause high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases. The good news is that there are many foods that lower cholesterol in the body. With the proper diet, regular exercise, and healthy lifestyle, you can reduce the amount of cholesterol buildup that can dangerously clog the arteries and cause a lot of health problems. Here are the top 15 foods that can help lower your cholesterol level.
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Some people would hesitate to eat fatty fishes because they think it is full of fats and cholesterol, but these fishes are actually super healthy. They contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are capable of reducing blood pressure and lowering the risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases. Salmon is a fatty fish that is most recommended by the American Heart Association to be consumed twice a week because of its heart-healthy benefits. This fish can improve your HDL cholesterol, which helps eliminate the cholesterol in your artery walls, thus preventing dangerous plaque buildup from forming. Other fatty fishes that you can include in your regular diet are tuna, mackerel, and sardines. Remember that the healthiest way to consume these fishes is to broil, grill, or bake them. Frying them may actually add more cholesterol in your body and increase the risk of heart diseases.
Oatmeal is considered as one of the best foods that lower cholesterol because it contains high levels of beta-glucan, which is a type of soluble fiber that makes the oats bulk up when soaked in liquid. This soluble fiber can lower your LDL cholesterol by forming a sticky layer in your small intestine, thus blocking the cholesterols from entering the bloodstream. When eating oatmeal, you can add fruits that can serve as a natural sweetener and also boost its soluble fiber content. Avoid putting sugar, which can only be fattening and unhealthy for you.
Just like oatmeal, beans are also rich in soluble fiber. Beans keep you full for a longer period of time because it takes a while for your stomach to digest. This is why beans are great for people who are trying to lose some weight. Aside from soluble fiber, beans contain high levels of protein, which makes them a good replacement for animal-based protein. Beans are versatile and there are so many ways to prepare them. You can add them to soups and salads or mix them with chilis and tacos. Other types of legumes that work in lowering the LDL cholesterol and providing plant-based proteins are peas, lentils, and garbanzos.
Most fruits are rich in soluble fiber, but apples are special because their skin contains pectin, which is a type of soluble fiber that clings onto the LDL cholesterol and guides it through your digestive system until it goes out of the body, thus lowering your cholesterol level. Aside from soluble fiber, apples also contain high doses of polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation in the body. Other fruits that are high in pectin include grapes, strawberries, and citrus fruits.
Studies have shown that nuts such as pecans, walnuts, and pistachios are effective in lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol level. One study discovered that consuming nuts daily can lower the risk of heart disease. Nuts are rich in monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids that are closely linked to heart health. Nuts also contain a special plant sterol that can prevent the cholesterols from entering your bloodstream. Some of the nutrients found in nuts are calcium, potassium, and magnesium, which helps lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and reduce your blood pressure. However, you should still control the portions that you are consuming because they can be high in calories. You can add a handful of nuts to your oatmeal or mix them with dried fruits for a healthier snack.
Avocado is a popular nutrient-dense fruit that is high in monounsaturated fats and fiber. The combination of fiber and monounsaturated fiber is very effective in lowering LDL cholesterol and improving your HDL cholesterol or healthy cholesterol. In one study, the overweight adults who ate one avocado per day experienced a reduction in their LDL cholesterol levels. They also contain phytosterols, which are antioxidants that have been shown to also help reduce cholesterol. However, just like nuts, you should control your portions when eating avocado because they can be high in calories. You can try them as a delicious guacamole dip, mix them with your salads, or spread them on your sandwiches. Read more – Top 10 Avocado Health Benefits and Nutrition Facts
Chocolate lovers would surely be delighted to know that dark chocolate is good for lowering cholesterol. Cocoa contains powerful antioxidants called flavonoids, which is the main compound that lowers your LDL cholesterol level. Since cocoa is the main ingredient of dark chocolate, eating them can be good for your health. Remember, you should choose the dark chocolate variety because the milk chocolates have reduced cocoa, which means it has low flavonoids. Look for the ones that have a high cocoa content. You can try using cocoa powder and add it to your yogurt or smoothies. Also, keep in mind that most chocolates are very high in sugar, which can be very bad for your health. Read more – Top 10 Dark Chocolate Health Benefits
Over the years, more and more people are learning about the long list of garlic health benefits. Garlic is not only great for boosting the immune system, it can also help you reduce any cholesterol buildup in the body. Studies have shown that garlic and garlic extract is capable of lowering cholesterol by preventing the production of cholesterol in the liver. Eating garlic is also good for lowering your blood pressure. Another research shows that garlic can prevent plaques from clogging the arteries at its earliest stage by stopping the cholesterol from sticking to the artery walls. It is recommended to consume 2 to 4 fresh garlic cloves per day. You can use garlic on your stir-fries, sauces, salads, and to many more delicious home-cooked meals. Read more – Top 10 Health Benefits of Garlic
You may be surprised to find oil in a list of foods that lower cholesterol. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids that are known to keep the heart healthy. Olive oil can also lower your LDL cholesterol and even trim down your belly fats. One study has proven that people who took 4 tablespoons of olive oil had a much lower risk of heart problems compared to those who did not take any olive oil. It is also a good source of polyphenols, which has the ability to fight inflammation. You should use olive oil as the main ingredient when making your own salad dressings or cooking vegetables, fish, and chicken. When buying olive oil, you can choose the extra virgin olive oil since it has the highest quality and it has the highest levels of monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. Extra virgin olive oil also has the most olive flavor and has low acidity. Read more – Top 10 Olive Oil Benefits
When eating spinach, you may not acquire superhuman strength like Popeye, but there are a lot of health benefits you can get from this amazing leafy vegetable. Spinach contains high amounts of lutein, which helps in preventing macular degeneration and blindness. Recent studies have also shown that consuming lutein daily can reduce the risk of heart attacks because it helps the artery walls from eliminating cholesterols that leads to clogging. Just one-half cup of spinach per day can boost your heart health tremendously. You can make a delicious spinach side dish or add them to your salads for a healthier lunch and dinner.
Kimchi is a popular Korean delicacy that is usually made from cabbage, cucumber, or radish. Since kimchi is fermented, it has high amounts of the good bacteria and fiber that keeps your gut healthy. Plus, the bioactive compounds contained in kimchi can prevent cholesterol from entering the bloodstream, thus helping to lower your cholesterol level. The good bacteria produced by the fermentation process are also a big factor in reducing your cholesterol. When consuming kimchi, it is better to watch your portions because it can be high in sodium.
Green tea may be the most popular, but black tea and white tea also has powerful plant compounds that are beneficial to your health. Tea is known for being rich in antioxidants that fight cancer, but it is also great in preventing the occurrence of high LDL cholesterol levels. A research on black tea has shown that it is capable of reducing blood lipids by 10 percent in a span of 3 weeks. Tea contains catechins that can keep your blood pressure stable. The catechins also hinder the cholesterol synthesis and absorption and prevent blood clots. Quercetin is another important compound in tea that lowers inflammation and improves blood vessel function. There have been many studies linking tea and the lowering of LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol level in the body. Read more – Top 10 Health Benefits of Green Tea
Dark Leafy Vegetables
Most foods that lower cholesterol is always good for the heart. Dark leafy vegetables are particularly very helpful in keeping your heart healthy. Kale is one example of dark leafy greens that are rich in carotenoids, lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease. Carotenoids are antioxidants that fight harmful free radicals that cause many health issues like the hardening of the arteries. Dark leafy vegetables can bind with bile acids, causing the body to get rid of more cholesterol, thus lowering your cholesterol level. Including more dark leafy vegetables into your diet can really help in improving your overall health.
Food Products Fortified with Plant Sterols and Stanols
Foods that have been fortified with plant sterols and stanols are great for lowering cholesterol. These sterols and stanols are substances naturally found in plants that are capable of blocking the absorption of cholesterol in the body. You can find kinds of margarine, yogurt drinks, chocolates, granola bars, and orange juice drinks that have been added to these cholesterol-lowering plant sterols. You would need to consume at least 2 grams of plant sterols to get the best results. This means that if you are drinking a sterol-fortified orange juice, you will need to drink about two 8-ounce glass per day.
Soybeans and soy foods are very effective in keeping your heart healthy and they are closely linked to lowering LDL and total cholesterol in the body. Studies have shown that consuming 25 grams of soy per day can lower your LDL cholesterol by up to 6 percent. This means that you will need to eat at least 10 ounces of tofu or drink two and a half cups of soy milk per day. What is great about soy foods is that its effect is strongest in people with very high cholesterol levels.
These are the foods that lower cholesterol levels in the body. If you are overweight or have a higher risk of heart disease, then it is most recommended to include these foods in your regular diet. You should not ignore having a high cholesterol level because it is a huge risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Try lowering your cholesterol with these foods and avoid foods that are high in cholesterol and fats. It’s time to reduce or put limitations on your intake of saturated fats and trans-fat. Saturated fats can increase your LDL cholesterol, while trans-fat has no nutritional value whatsoever. Excess weight and inactivity is a dangerous combination that boosts the levels of your LDL cholesterol. By practicing a healthier diet and regular exercise, you can reverse the negative effects and trim down on your total cholesterol level.