Lower Cholesterol with These 7 Foods

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Cholesterol can be a tricky thing to wrap your head around. It’s hard to keep up with what you’re supposed to be eating and what you’re supposed to be avoiding. But most of the foods laden with cholesterol are also heavy in saturated fats and other things you want to avoid. What you need to know about cholesterol is that we all have it in our blood and it cannot dissolve on its own. It needs to be couriered to and from your cells by lipoproteins. If the cholesterol isn’t able to get processed, it sticks to our arteries and causes problems for your blood.

oatmeal_almonds_apples_picGood cholesterol, or high density lipoprotein (HDL) protects you from heart attacks, strokes, and other types of heart disease related to the presence of plaque in your arteries. The bad cholesterol is the low density lipoprotein (LDL). This is the type of cholesterol that builds up in the blood and hardens on the arteries. It contributes to clots and trouble for your heart and brain.

The goal then is to reduce the bad cholesterol and increase the good. There are drugs that can help with that, but the best way to get a handle on your cholesterol level is by watching your diet. There are foods that contribute to LDL and foods that contribute to HDL. Leave the processed, salt-heavy packaged foods behind and create a diet that is full of fresh, healthy options. The following foods can turn back your bad cholesterol and give you healthier, happier arteries.

Oats. Full of soluble fiber which will help bring down the bad cholesterol and keep your arteries flexible, oats pack a huge and healthy punch. Scientists believe that the fiber-heavy oats become soggy when they work their way through your digestive system. As they break down into soggy, sticky substances, they latch onto the cholesterol floating around in your blood and carry it out of your body for you. Instead of absorbing the cholesterol, oats help your body get rid of it. The Food and Drug Administration allows manufacturers of oats and oatmeal to declare their food “heart healthy.” It is when you keep it simple. Look for whole oats instead of products that have large amounts of sugar added to them. Or make your own oatmeal and oat muffins. Cereals made from oats are also a good option. mixed_nuts_picNuts. Lots of people shy away from nuts when they are eating healthy because they’re worried about the calorie count. Yes, nuts are higher in calories than a lot of other foods, but the benefits they provide outweigh the caloric density. Remember that not every calorie is created equal. It’s much better to get 200 calories from a handful of nuts than a bag of potato chips. Nuts have a huge impact on keeping your cholesterol levels healthy. Almonds, walnuts, and peanuts are great for you. It’s been proven that eating two ounces of nuts per day can lower your LDL. In addition to fighting cholesterol, nuts are full of heart benefits. They are easy to eat as a snack, or you can use them to make healthy substitutes in other recipes. For example, sprinkle chopped almonds on a salad instead of croutons. Whole Grains. Like oats, other whole grains high in soluble fiber can bring down your cholesterol levels in positive ways. Barley and bran are great fiber-producing grains. It’s important for you to know the difference between a whole grain and a refined grain. When you eat whole grains, you’re getting more fiber and nothing has been processed out of the original grain. Whole grain breads, wheat pastas, and brown rice are examples of a whole grain. Refined grains have been milled, which means the most valuable parts of the grain are removed. Flour, enriched breads, and white pastas and rice are all made from refined grains. To lower your cholesterol, you want to focus on whole grains and avoid anything refined when you can. Red Wine. It may seem too good to be true that alcohol can have a positive effect on your health, but when it comes to red wine and cholesterol, it’s true. Research has shown that not only does a moderate alcohol intake increase your HDL, red wine specifically can also bring down your LDL. That’s due to the powerful flavonoids in red wine, which carry into your blood antioxidants that are ready to chase away the bad cholesterol while citrus_orange_grapefruit_slice_picassisting the good cholesterol. Don’t overindulge; one or two glasses of red wine per day are all that’s recommended. Fruit. Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes are a great addition to your diet when you’re trying to lower your cholesterol. Don’t forget the berries: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cranberries are all great for your blood. These fruits are full of pectin, which is a big help, turning into that very-valuable soluble fiber and carrying the cholesterol right out of your body. Other fruits like apples and grapes can help raise the level of antioxidants in your blood and reduce cholesterol’s ability to do any damage. Try to eat your fruit raw and fresh. Sprinkle some berries onto your oatmeal for a double burst of cholesterol lowering food. Beans. Pick your favorite bean: Navy bean? Pinto bean? Kidney bean? Black bean? All of them are generous in soluble fiber, which means your cholesterol level will drop when you eat more beans. The best thing about beans (other than their power to bring down that LDL cholesterol count) is their versatility. You can sauté some garbanzo beans in a little olive oil and garlic, stir some black beans into a soup, or make a breakfast burrito with pinto beans and salsa. You’re also getting a lot of protein with each serving and when you choose beans as a protein source instead of meats that have more saturated fat, you’re making an impact on your cholesterol. eggplant_slice_picEggplant. The eggplant, gorgeous and purple with its shiny skin and its tasty texture, is another excellent food for fighting cholesterol. It’s low in calories and very high in fiber, which means it will be able to attack and absorb the cholesterol in your blood before it gets a chance to harden in your arteries. The fiber helps you to feel full after you’ve eaten eggplant too, which means you won’t be tempted to supplement your food intake with unhealthy choices. Try it grilled or sautéed with other vegetables. If you’re not a fan of eggplant, try okra which is similar but a little sweeter and also proven to be excellent at fighting off bad cholesterol.

Changing your diet is the best way to lower your cholesterol. Don’t forget to exercise as well. Being overweight leads to a lot of health problems, including issues with your cholesterol. If you’re eating more of these cholesterol-friendly foods and getting all the physical activity you can and you’re still not seeing results in your blood tests, talk to your doctor about a supplement. You can take fiber supplements that will help to flush out the cholesterol you don’t want. Foods that have sterols added to them will also help. It’s a compound extracted from plants that helps the body absorb cholesterol from the blood. They are available as supplements, and you can also find them added to things like margarine and even snack foods such as granola bars.

Stay away from foods that are packed with saturated fats, trans fats, and other additives. You don’t want to make it harder for the arteries in your body to work. Focus on whole foods: fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and secret agent foods like oats and beans to keep your heart healthy and your cholesterol level in check.

Claims on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA. Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Sunwarrior’s awesome expert writers do not replace doctors and don’t always cite studies, so do your research, as is wise. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.

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COMMENTS / REPLIES 22

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  • If the research is done then it will be seen that for most, cholesterol levels are related to a number of factors. Diet, genetics and exercise. How each affects us is dependent upon the make up of our being. 2 of these can be controlled by ourselves , the third cannot. However until it is tried you don't know which factor is dominant. Only then can you find out. Then you can decide with your Doctor which route is best and whether statins are the final option.

  • Not worrying about it is working for me. i was told I had high cholesterol. Eating simple foods, a friendly relationship with Olive Oyl, partaking of life's simple pleasures are some of the elements in my figuring on being around for a while yet, and enjoying the trip, exploring the territory... Ay vto go, from my point of view :-)

  • A good way to have eggplant without adding oil is to bake it. Wash whole eggplant, pierce a few holes in it with skewer and bake in the oven. When cooked let it cool and dice, it is very moist and has no need for oil.

    • In reply to Lyn's comment

      My favorite recipe for egg plant is - slice in half - bake till soft (about 40mins 200c) cool- scoop out flesh- add crushed garlic, juice and zest of a lemon, s&p. - you can also add a TEASPOON of olive oil if required. Mash well or whiz in liquidiser. Refrigerate and use as a dip. Scrummy.

  • What you eat & what is in your food is critical to excellent natural, good, health. GMO's are now outlawed in most countries as they spiced round-up & other killing products into them. Piglets fed GMO corn where autopsied at only 22 weeks, the results were stomachs that had internally exploded, their stomach walls were like mush. If your stomach cant perform you will slowly get , very, sick and make a fortune for the medical mafia & drug corporations. The female piglet's vaginias were 25 % enlarged, shows me it is also a source of female problems. So those out there who say diet is unimportant, you are not researched.Hydrogenated fats will kill, avoid them, avoid processed foods. The Mediterranean diet is a good choice, olive oil is a good oil to use. Look at ingredients, research them & stop eating harmful chemicals & crap and do the same for your pets.Exercise doing something you enjoy and get involved in changing our world for the better.

  • I really don't get the grapefruit, when in fact you are warned by cholesterol medicine not to eat it while taking the meds. I miss grapefruit and here you are suggesting it.

    • Moderator

      In reply to maryanne's comment

      Grapefruit is great for cholesterol alone, but should not be combined with cholesterol lowering drugs and many other medications for that matter. Grapefruit decreases the normal breakdown of many medications, meaning you absorb much more than normal. If you aren’t on medication, grapefruit is a great idea to naturally lower cholesterol. If you are, then avoid it.

  • I do not agree with the statement that "the best way to get a handle on your cholesterol level is by watching your diet" because diet contributes only 15% of all cholesterol in your body. Yes, you should watch your diet and increase your vegetable and fruits intake, increase your fiber and not only through vegy and fruits but by taking additional fibres like psyllium husk, chia and flax seed. Exercise is a must! Exercise will help increase good cholesterol which will affect the ratio.
    I absolutely agree with the previous comments that genetic play a big role but so does the liver. All our blood goes through the liver and if the liver doesnt work properly it will affect the level of cholesterol in our body.
    The question is how can we make the liver work to its best? And the answer is to assess your digestive system. Most deseases starts from digestive system not working well.

  • Great article and nice to see you state the good stuff protects the body.
    According to dr joe esposito only 3% of illness is genetic. However we do copy behaviour and habits from our parents and if these habits cause ilness for our parents it most likely will do the same for us.
    Many ppl confuse this with genetic problems.
    Studies are also showing we can overide our genetics too by changing lifestyles and diet.
    Keep up the great articles.

  • I agree with it all but the red wine. Everything else is a diet out of the Bible
    stick with God and you will be" a ok".

    • In reply to Kristina's comment

      Christ's first miracle was changing water into wine.
      There is no diet in the Bible.
      If you are thinking about claiming Daniel...
      Check out John the Baptist .
      He only ate big grasshoppers and honey.
      If you are going to stand on it...
      Stand on it !

  • We need to eat as much raw fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts seeds etc as we can, and avoid fried foods animal products dairy etc. diet and exercise is responsible for our health.

  • What about olive oil .
    Frying eggplants in olive oil ?

    Need yr advice ?

    • In reply to Nina's comment

      No added oil. None.
      And if your numbers are high, avoid nuts, avocados and coconut. They contain saturated fats.
      You want olive oil? The safest way is by eating the whole olive. :)
      Saute in water or low sodium vegetable broth. Works like a hot darn and so much healthier for you.
      No oil salad dressings are not only fresher tasting but far healthier than the alternative.

  • I disagree that diet does not play a huge role in cholesterol levels. Our ancestors ate a lot of fried food & meats. Change your diet to plant based & your cholesterol will get to where it should be in most cases. If you're overweight, your cholesterol will probably be elevated.

  • I concur. I'm vegetarian and have cut way back on dairy products. Eat nuts, beans all the time. Not much grain but when I do I avoid wheat in favor of gluten free when possible. Still have high cholesterol.

  • thank you I still need to lower mine and don't want to use statins

  • Cholesterol levels are determined as much by genetics as by diet.

    • In reply to sharon's comment

      Sorry but I don't think all health problems ar we genetic. Diet is a huge factor, exercise also plays a big part. I lowered my cholesterol levels with diet alone, and my doctor said that diet wouldn't make much of a difference. Well I showed him different!

    • In reply to Angela's comment

      Yes but genetics is a HUGE issue for some of us. I have followed a vegan diet for 14 years (happiest choice of my life!) , eat VERY low fat and low sugar, and exercise regularly (don't have a car). And I have high cholesterol (bad ratio). There is nothing else I can do except go with statins which I've avoided until now.

    • In reply to Mike's comment

      Read Prevent and reverse heart disease. Especially if you have genetic issues, but even for the rest of us, ANY added oil will hurt, and it's in so many processed foods, even vegan.

    • In reply to sharon's comment

      do you mean diet DOES NOT influence our cholesterol levels?