10 Foods that Can Lower Your Cholesterol

June 8, 2013 Nutrition

oatmeal lowers cholesterolMedicines which keep the bad cholesterol or LDL (low density lipoprotein) under control can have unwanted side effects. On the other hand, diet plays an important role in maintaining our health and overcoming diseases. Healthy oils, fibre, soy, omega-3 fatty acids, nuts are good allies in the fight against the bad cholesterol.

Here are 10 foods that have been found to lower cholesterol numbers.

Oatmeal & oat bran, whole grains – A bowl of oatmeal and one banana contain around 2.5 of soluble fiber which can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. Barley and other whole grains can fight cholesterol as well.

Fibre – Beans, peas, lentils and other pulses are rich in soluble fibre. During the digestion process, which is longer than for other foods, the fiber removes the cholesterol. A number of studies showed that foods with a high fiber content can also protect arteries from heart disease. Vegetables like eggplant and beetroot are also rich in soluble fiber. Beet can lower the level of bad cholesterol, especially through its fibre, carotenoids and flavonoids content. After 6 weeks on a diet which includes pulses daily LDL can be lowered by approximately 10%.

Nuts – Nuts like almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pecans help reduce cholesterol. To fully benefit from their properties, eat them raw and unsalted. The daily portion of nuts shouldn’t be more than about ten, in order not to gain weight. Most studies show that LDL is lowered by an average of 5% when eating nuts.

Healthy oils – The antioxidants in extra virgin olive oil can lower the LDL and keep HDL, which is the good cholesterol. Sunflower and safflower could have the same effect.

Garlic – A herb used in many cultures, the garlic can protect the heart, by preventing blood clots and keeping cholesterol particles from sticking to artery walls.

Soy products – You can count on soy based milk, tofu, yogurt, soy lecithin granules dissolved in water, natural juice or yogurt to lower your cholesterol. They support the liver to eliminate cholesterol from the bloodstream, by about 6%.

Fruits – Certain kind of fruits which are rich in a soluble fiber called pectin are recommended to lower LDL: strawberries, citrus fruits, and apples.

Vegetable and animal products rich in omega-3 fats: chia seeds, ground flaxseed, fish. The highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish like mackerel, lake trout, herring, salmon and sardines.

Avocados – Rich in monounsaturated fats, avocados can boost HDL and reduce LDL. They are also rich in calories, so you should also pay attention to this.

Tea – Especially green and black tea contain a great deal of antioxidants that can lower LDL and blood pressure. One cup of tea every day is enough to benefit from their healthy properties.

In the battle against LDL you should keep in mind other things. Besides adding the good foods that can lower the bad cholesterol, you should take out those which boost LDL: foods high in saturated fat. This is usually the case of butter, fast food and processed foods. The other very important thing is regular physical exercises.

Sources: Prevention.com,Mayoclinic.com, Harvard.edu