It feels like we’ve always heard “lower your cholesterol”, “avoid these foods to keep your cholesterol level down”; but why do we even need to keep our cholesterol level low? Well cholesterol is a waxy substance that can be found in your blood. The body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells, but having too high levels of cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease. People with high cholesterol can develop fatty deposits inside your blood vessels, which can eventually grow and cause difficulties inside your arteries for blood-flow. You can combat this risk by simply changing what you eat. Adding foods that lower LDL cholesterol is the way to go, and luckily for you we have composed a list of the best foods that can lower LDL cholesterol! Some deliver soluble fiber, some give you polyunsaturated fats and some cause blockages in the body of the body actually absorbing the cholesterol! It’s pretty amazing what a change in diet can do. So what are these super anti-cholesterol foods?
The first step you should take that can easily lower cholesterol in is by starting the day with a bowl of oats in place of a bowl of sugary cereal. Simply doing this gives you 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber. Proceed by adding a banana or some strawberries for another half gram too. Nutritional guidelines advise an intake of 20-35 grams of fiber daily, with 5-10 grams coming directly from soluble fiber.
Barley and Other Whole Grains
Just like oats, barely and other whole grains can lower your risk of heart disease through the soluble fiber that they deliver. Barley is rich in vitamins, minerals and other beneficial plant compounds.
The great thing about beans is that they are exceptionally rich in soluble fiber. Another useful factor is that they also take a while for the body to digest, meaning that you will feel full longer after finishing a meal. In this retrospect, beans can also be a useful food for weight-loss. There are also a large variety of beans for you to choose from; you will never get bored! Some great examples are navy beans, kidney beans, lentils, garbanzos, black-eyed peas (not the band!) among many more. They are versatile, tasty and can add significant health benefits to your meal.
Eggplant and okra
Here we have two examples of low calorie vegetables that act as great sources of soluble fiber. A reminder that soluble fiber is important because it attracts water and forms a gel-like substance with food as it is digested. As a result, digestion will be slowed down and you will feel full much faster- important for weight management. It also reduces LDL cholesterol.
Many studies have come out and shown that eating nuts such as almonds, walnuts, peanuts and others are great for the heart. Eating 2 ounces of nuts daily can lower LDL, while they also provide nutrients that protect the heart in other ways. Nuts are the future! Try and incorporate them into your diet.
Liquid vegetables such as canola, sunflower, safflower and others can be a great substitute for butter, lard and other unhealthy fats. They lower LDL cholesterol and are much better for you.
Fruit such as apples, grapes, strawberries and other citrusy fruits are rich in pectin, a type of soluble fiber that can help to lower LDL.
Foods That Contain Sterols and Stanols
We extract sterols and stanols from plants and they block the body’s ability to absorb cholesterol from food. Companies have begun to add them to foods, from margarine and granola bars all the way to everyday items like orange juice and chocolate. You can also purchase them directly as supplements. Consuming 2g of plant sterols or stanols daily can lower LDL cholesterol by around 10%.
Eating soybeans and foods that derive from them like tofu and soy milk was once thought of as an important, and easy way to lower cholesterol. The analysis also shows that the effect is a little more modest, but can still lower LDL by 5-6% if you were to consume around 25g of soy protein.
If you were to eat fish two or three times a week, your LDL will lower through two methods. The first is that eating fish will likely replace meat, which contains LDL-boosting saturated fats. The second is by delivering LDL-lowering omega-3 fats.