We all have two types of cholesterol in our bodies: HDL “good” cholesterol, and LDL “bad” cholesterol. In this article, we’ll talk about the foods that lower cholesterol naturally.
Having high LDL “bad” cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease. Having low HDL “good” cholesterol also increases risk.
Fortunately, you can eat certain foods to lower LDL cholesterol, and improve your overall cholesterol profile. In this article, I decided to make a list of 10 such foods.
Foods That Lower Cholesterol
You can lower your LDL cholesterol by having a bowl of oatmeal or oat-based cereal for breakfast.
Oats contain a soluble dietary fiber called beta-glucan. Beta-glucan helps lower cholesterol. Eating oats regularly can help lower your LDL cholesterol by as much as 7%.
You can add a banana or some strawberry with your oatmeal or cereal for a little more fiber.
Avocados are rich in fiber and monounsaturated fats. Both of them are good at raising HDL cholesterol and lowering unhealthy LDL cholesterol.
According to a review of 10 studies , you can lower your total cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides by substituting avocados for other fats.
In another study, researchers tested the effects of avocado on overweight and obese adults. The result was as expected. Those who ate avocado daily lowered their LDL level significantly more than those who didn’t eat any.
Nuts are very nutrient-dense. They contain protein, monounsaturated fat, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phytosterols, L-arginine, etc.
All of these are good for your heart health. Calcium, magnesium, and potassium lowers your risk of heart disease. L-arginine helps regulate your blood pressure. Phytosterols lower your cholesterol level.
In a review of 25 studies, researchers found that you can lower your LDL cholesterol level by an average of 10.2 mg/d, if you consume two to three servings of nuts every day.
Eat nuts regularly. But be careful not to go all out on them. They are high in calories.
4. Green Tea
Green tea can lower LDL cholesterol without lowering HDL cholesterol. According to a meta-analysis of research, green tea consumption significantly lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol level. But it doesn’t affect HDL cholesterol.
Green tea also has other benefits. It lowers risk of cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, and various types of cancer. It also helps you lose weight and live longer.
Legume is the umbrella term for a group of plant foods that includes beans, lentils, and peas. They contain a good amount of fiber, mineral, and proteins.
According to an analysis of 26 randomized controlled studies, you can lower your LDL cholesterol by up to 8% by eating half a cup of legumes every day.
This happens because of the rich amount of fiber legumes contains. Fiber has been shown to decrease the amount of cholesterol you absorb from certain foods.
6. Dark Chocolate
Cocoa powder has been found to increase HDL (“good” cholesterol) and decrease total LDL (“bad” cholesterol) in men with elevated cholesterol. Cocoa powder is the raw ingredient in chocolate. So you can get the same benefit by eating a chocolate bar.
Dark chocolate often contains some sugar. The darker the chocolate, the less sugar it contains. So buy the darker ones. Also, make sure it contains at least 75% cocoa content. The higher the better. Avoid the bars that have added milk or vegetable oil. Both of them are sources of unhealthy saturated fats.
Garlic has many benefits. It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune-boosting properties. It can also help lower total and LDL cholesterol.
Garlic can also help lower blood pressure if you have high blood pressure. To get all these benefits of garlic, you need to consume relatively large amounts of garlic. This is why many studies are done using garlic supplements.
You can try garlic supplements. Or you can consume 2 to 4 fresh cloves every day to get some of the benefits.
8. Fatty Fish
Fatty fishes contain omega-3 fatty acids. They increase good HDL cholesterol.
According to one study from Loma Linda University, replacing saturated fats with omega-3 fatty acid can raise HDL cholesterol by as much as 4%.
You can lower your LDL cholesterol by replacing meats with fatty fish two or three times a week. Meats contain LDL-boosting saturated fats.
Omega-3 also lower inflammation and decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke.
The best sources of omega-3 are salmon, sardines, mackerel, and herring. Try to stay away from fried-fish. They may increase your risk of heart disease. Eat baked, broiled or grilled fish.
9. Soy Foods
You can lower your cholesterol by eating soybeans and other soy foods such as tofu and soy milk.
According to a review of 35 studies, soy foods reduce LDL and total cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol. You can lower your LDL cholesterol by up to 6% if you consume 25 grams of soy protein every day.
10. Olive Oil
Olive oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids. This helps lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol.
Olive oil has other benefits. It has strong anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects, helps prevent stroke and heart disease & promotes brain health and helps you maintain a healthy weight.
You can also lower LDL cholesterol by replacing butter or lard with vegetable oils such as safflower, canola, sunflower, and others.
As I already mentioned, high cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease. So consume these 10 foods to lower this risk.
To make sure your LDL cholesterol level doesn’t increase, stay away from saturated and trans fats. Red meat, whole-fat dairy products and a few vegetable oils, such as palm oil, coconut oil are typical sources of saturated fat.
Also, don’t forget to exercise regularly. Inactivity depresses HDL and boosts harmful LDL.