It’s easy to eat your way to an alarmingly high cholesterol level. The opposite is true too – changing what you eat can dramatically decrease your cholesterol. Plant foods are part of a heart-healthy diet, but some foods are particularly good at lowering cholesterol levels. How? Some foods contain a high amount of dietary fiber, which binds cholesterol in the digestive tract and helps you excrete it rather than absorb it. Other foods contain many unique bioactive compounds that may directly lower your “bad cholesterol” and raise your “good cholesterol.”
Here are 5 foods to consider adding to your diet to help lower cholesterol.
- Oats – Have a bowl of oatmeal or oat-based cereal such as Cheerios in the morning for breakfast. It gives you 1-2 grams of soluble fiber.
- Nuts – Research consistently shows that consuming 2 ounces of nuts every day can lower your “bad cholesterol” by about 5%.
- Fatty fish – Eating fatty fish such as salmon two to three times per week has been shown to be heart healthy by providing a potent dose of omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fats have been shown to reduce triglycerides and prevent abnormal heart rhythms.
- Beans – Beans are especially rich in soluble fiber. They also take a while for your body to digest, leaving you full for a longer time after a meal.
- Blueberries – Are packed with antioxidant compounds known as anthocyanins that may lower your “bad cholesterol” in as little as 4 weeks.
As you consider eating more of the foods that can help lower your cholesterol, keep in mind that avoiding certain foods containing saturated and trans fats can also help dramatically improve your results. In other words… stay away from fried food!