The waxy substance cholesterol is part of the two lipoproteins, low-density (LDL) lipoprotein and high-density (HDL).
LDL cholesterol is sometimes referred to as “bad” because it can cause fatty deposits in blood vessels. These deposits can cause blockages in blood flow, which may lead to heart attacks and strokes.
HDL or “good” cholesterol is important in removing cholesterol from the liver. High HDL levels can lower the risk of stroke and heart disease.
Foods that can help lower cholesterol levels
Oatmeal and high-fiber foods
Oatmeal is rich in soluble fiber which helps reduce your LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol). You can also find soluble fiber in foods like kidney beans, Brussels sprouts and apples.
Soluble fibre can help reduce cholesterol absorption into the bloodstream. A daily intake of five to ten grams of soluble fibre or more can reduce your LDL cholesterol. Three to four grams of fiber are found in one serving of breakfast cereal containing oatmeal or oatbran. You can get more fiber if you add fruits, like berries or bananas.
Fish and Omega-3 fatty acids
High levels of omega-3 acids are found in fatty fish. These acids can lower your triglycerides, a type fat found within the bloodstream. They also reduce blood pressure and your risk of blood clots. Omega-3 fatty acid may lower the risk of sudden deaths in people who already have had heart attacks.
Omega-3 fatty acid levels do not affect LDL cholesterol. The American Heart Association suggests eating two portions of fish per week because of the other benefits of these acids. By baking or grilling fish, you can avoid adding unhealthy fats.
The highest concentrations of omega-3 fatty acid are found in:
Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in foods such as flaxseed, walnuts and canola oils.
Omega-3 and fish oils supplements are available. Consult your doctor before taking any supplements.
Avocados contain a lot of nutrients and monounsaturated fats (MUFAs). According to research, adding one avocado per day to a heart healthy diet can improve LDL cholesterol in overweight or obese people.
Avocados are most commonly associated with guacamole. This is usually eaten with corn chips that contain a lot of fat. Add avocado slices to sandwiches and salads, or eat them as a snack. Try guacamole made with cucumber slices or other raw vegetables.
The Mediterranean diet is heart-healthy because it replaces saturated fats such as those in meats with MUFAs.
The fiber content of eggplant is high: 100 grams contain 3 grams (g). Fiber helps lower blood cholesterol, as the American Heart Association’s (AHA’s) Trusted Source points out. Fiber also lowers the risk of developing:
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Okra or lady’s finger is a vegetable grown in warm climates around the world.
Researchers found that the mucilage gel found in okra can lower cholesterol levels by binding with it during digestion. This gel helps the cholesterol to leave the body via stools.
A single apple contains between 3-7 grams of dietary fibre, depending on the size. Apples also contain polyphenols which can have a positive effect on cholesterol levels.
Avocados contain heart-healthy nutrients.
One avocado per day, as part of a cholesterol-lowering, moderate fat diet, can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, specifically, by lowering LDL without lowering HDL.
Avocados contain 14.7 grams of monounsaturated fatty acids, which help lower LDL cholesterol and reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease.
Barley is an excellent grain, rich in minerals and vitamins. It is also high in fiber.
Beta-glucan is a type soluble dietary fibre found in barley and oats. It can lower LDL cholesterol.
As a result, cholesterol levels are reduced.
Beta-glucans in barley have a positive impact on gut microbiome, blood sugar control and heart health.
Nuts contain unsaturated fatty acids that can lower LDL cholesterol, particularly when they are substituted for saturated fats.
Nuts also contain fiber which prevents the body from absorbing and excreting cholesterol.
All nuts can be used to lower cholesterol and promote heart health.
Legumes, such as lentils, split peas, kidney beans and black beans are also rich in soluble fiber. They are high in protein, and they’re incredibly filling.
Legumes can also be used to replace meat and lower cholesterol levels. Legumes don’t cause your blood sugar to spike as much as other carbohydrates, which is also helpful in controlling blood glucose.
Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, peppers, celery, carrots, leafy greens, and onions are low in calories and high in fiber. They also contain protein. These vegetables help us achieve all our goals.
Increased consumption of non-starchy veggies and decreased intake of starchy foods (such as rice, potatoes and pasta) can help reduce triglycerides, which are blood fats that are similar to cholesterol. These can increase the risk of heart disease.