High levels of cholesterol can cause many health-related issues and when people usually think of foods that lower cholesterol, low-fat meals that lack flavor usually come to mind. Luckily, that’s not true.
Lowering cholesterol naturally doesn’t mean you have to avoid all fats – it simply means eating in moderation and having a balanced diet.
Different foods can lower cholesterol in different ways. Some deliver soluble fiber, that binds cholesterol and its precursors and drags them out of the body. Some give you polyunsaturated fats, that can directly lower LDL. And some simply block the body from absorbing cholesterol.
But first, foods to avoid for high cholesterol:
- packaged foods of all kinds
- refined grain products
- processed vegetable oils
- conventional dairy products (non-organic, homogenized and pasteurized)
- farm-raised animal products
- too much caffeine or alcohol
14 Foods That Lower Cholesterol
1. Vegetables (Especially Greens!)
They offer protection to the hard and contain very few calories.
They reduce inflammation, improve artery health, and provide a decent amount of fiber.
3. Chia seeds and Flaxseeds
High in soluble and insoluble fiber, these seeds help with weight loss and support detoxification.
4. Olive oil
It lowers the bad cholesterol thanks to being full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids.
Avocados stabilize blood sugar and contain high levels of soluble fiber and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.
One of the best sources of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats, salmon is linked to lower rates of heart and cognitive diseases.
7. Gluten-Free Whole Grains
These are tied to better heart health as they are high in fiber.
8. Green tea
The number one beverage for anti-aging, green tea prevents LDL cholesterol levels from rising.
9. Beans and Legumes
The high amount of fiber slows the amount and rate absorption of cholesterol.
The king of spices when it comes to fighting inflammation, turmeric protects from various heart diseases.
This one is one of the healthiest heart-related ingredients there is. Well-known for reducing blood pressure, it also protects against infections and prevents blood clots.
12. Sweet potatoes
Low in calories and rich in antioxidants and vitamins- what more could you possibly need?
Packed with fiber, it’s one of the best when it comes to reducing cholesterol levels.
Okra is rich in vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium. It’s a superfood that will help you stay within a healthy LDL cholesterol range.
Eat heart-healthy foods. You need to make changes in your diet that can reduce cholesterol and improve the health of your heart.
Reduce saturated fats. Saturated fats, primarily found in red meat and dairy products, can increase your overall cholesterol. Decreasing your saturated fat consumption can reduce your LDL cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol.
Eliminate trans fats. Trans fats often used in margarines and store-bought cookies, crackers and cakes can also raise your overall cholesterol levels.
Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. LDL cholesterol is not always affected by Omega-3 fatty acids. But they have other heart benefits, including lowering blood pressure. Foods with fatty acids of omega-3 include salmon, mackerel, herring, walnuts and flaxseeds.
Increase soluble fiber. Soluble fiber can reduce cholesterol absorption in your bloodstream. You can find soluble fiber in foods like oatmeal, kidney beans, apples and pears.
Exercise. Increase your physical activity by exercising most days of the week. Exercise can improve cholesterol. 30 minutes of exercise, five times a week can help raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol. You can also consider:
- Taking daily walks
- Riding your bike to work
- Play a sport
Quit smoking. Quitting smoking can improve your HDL cholesterol level.
Lose weight. Carrying extra pounds can contribute to high cholesterol. Avoid drinking sugary beverages, and instead, switch to tap water. You can occasionally snack on air-popped popcorn or some pretzels but it’s important to keep track of your calorie intake. Look for ways to incorporate more activity into your daily routine, such as using the stairs rather than taking the elevator or parking away from your office.
Drink alcohol only in moderation. Moderate alcohol use has been associated with higher levels of HDL cholesterol — but the benefits are not strong enough to recommend alcohol to anyone who is not already drinking. Do so in moderation if you drink alcohol. For healthy adults, this means up to one drink per day for women of all ages and men over 65 years of age, and up to two drinks per day for men over 65 years of age.