High cholesterol is a very common condition in the United States and other places in the world because of poor lifestyle choices, like lack of exercise and unhealthy diets … Bad cholesterol that blocks heart arteries and causes heart attacks is known as LDL … Elevated LDL levels cause preventable heart attacks and … premature death. Eating healthy, whole foods can help you lower cholesterol naturally …
How do these whole foods lower cholesterol?
- One of the ways is through soluble fiber that attaches to bad cholesterol and removes it from the body before they can enter the bloodstream.
- The other way is through foods that provide good fats that lower the bad cholesterol, known as, LDL.
- Lastly, some whole foods provide plant sterols and stanols that block the absorption of cholesterol.
Top Foods That Help Lower Cholesterol Naturally
Avocadoes: Avocadoes are super healthy and contains high amounts of heart healthy monounsaturated fat that helps to raise good cholesterol, HDL, while lowering the bad LDL. They also contain beta-sitosterol that helps to lower cholesterol absorbed from food. Both of these qualities make avocadoes a true cholesterol fighting powerhouse. However, since avocados are high in calories, it is recommended to eat them in moderation.
Whole Grains: The all-important soluble fiber for fighting cholesterol is found in high amounts in whole grains, like oat bran, wheat bran, barley and oats, specifically steel cut oats have a lot of soluble fiber to help keep bad cholesterol at bay.
Beans: Beans are second only to wheat bran in soluble fiber content, and they are especially high in cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber. Studies have shown that eating, pinto, black, chickpea, kidney and butter beans can lower bad LDL by 10% in just 6 weeks.
Both beans and lentils contain soluble fiber and are slow to digest in the body, a lot of this fiber is the heart healthy variety that is a good replacement for animal proteins that contain a lot of unhealthy saturated fat that leads to high cholesterol levels.
Fish: Salmon and sardines have high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids that lowers LDL cholesterol. Sardines also have potent anti-inflammatories that greatly reduce artery clogging triglycerides that block heart arteries. Eating fish two or three times per week is a great way to replace unhealthy animal proteins, such as, red meat.
Nuts: Unsalted walnuts, almonds and pistachios are great for heart health and keeping bad cholesterol in check. Studies have shown that 2 to 3 ounces of these nuts per day can cause significant improvements in LDL cholesterol.
These nuts supply phytosterols, which is the all-natural plant compound that blocks absorption of dietary cholesterol. Pistachios are also great sources of fiber, monounsaturated fat and antioxidants, all nutrients essential for heart health.
Soy: Foods that are soy sources, include tofu, soybeans and enriched soy milk. “Used in place of meat and cheese, soy foods help your heart by slashing the amount of saturated fat that you eat.” Beyond replacing saturated fat, some studies suggests that isoflavones (compounds found in soy foods) may also work to reduce LDL cholesterol.
Vegetable Oils: Healthy oils that do not elevate bad cholesterol levels in the blood, include, coconut oil, canola, sunflower, safflower and extra virgin olive oil. Since butter and lard are often culprits in high cholesterol, it’s better to use the heart healthy liquid oils instead.