September 16, 2021 8 min read

Foods That Lower Cholesterol

Everyone knows that high cholesterol levels can lead to several health problems like heart disease and stroke, but many people don't know that there are also foods you can eat to lower your cholesterol.

Foods such as oatmeal, almonds, spinach, and walnuts all contain nutrients that help reduce the level of LDL (bad) cholesterol in your body.

This blog post will go over different ways to ensure you're getting enough of these healthy oils into your diet: how much do you need? Whether it's true that they only work if you have an existing health problem and best sources for each food group, and more!

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a type of lipid (fat) that your body needs to efficiently function. It's also one of the main ingredients in many types of lipoproteins, which help carry cholesterol around the body and make sure it gets delivered where it needs to go.

However, if you have an excess amount of cholesterol in your system, it is more likely to build up and increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

The liver naturally produces cholesterol, but plenty of foods contain high cholesterol levels if you aren't careful about your intake.

Why should we care about it?

The body uses cholesterol to produce hormones, increase nutrient absorption, and ensure sturdy cell walls.

However, suppose your system's cholesterol gets too high. In that case, it can start collecting around your blood vessels and arteries (especially those found in the heart), which prevents sufficient blood flow throughout the body. This can lead to many health problems like heart disease, stroke, and arthritis.

Your blood pressure may also increase since your heart will have to work harder to pump around the excess cholesterol. A cardiovascular disease, known as atherosclerosis, may also develop which is where plaque builds up inside of your arteries. What can we do to lower it?

The common phrase "you are what you eat" is very true regarding cholesterol levels.

The two main types of cholesterol are high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). HDL is considered healthy because it helps remove LDL cholesterol from the blood vessels.

However, if you have too much LDL, your HDL levels will drop to compensate, which can lead to various health problems. To avoid this, you should incorporate as many foods containing healthy cholesterol into your heart healthy diet as possible.

The Difference Between Good and Bad Cholesterol

When making sure you get enough cholesterol in your diet, it's important to know the difference between LDL and HDL.

LDL (bad)

LDL is described as the "bad" cholesterol because it can collect in your blood vessels and block them. This makes it harder for blood to circulate, leading to health problems like heart disease, stroke, and arthritis.

HDL (good)

HDL is considered the "good" cholesterol because it helps remove LDL cholesterol from your blood vessels. This keeps your body's circulation flowing at a normal level.

The difference between HDL and LDL has to do with lipoproteins' size, density, and function. While large, fluffy molecules are riskier for causing blockages in your arteries, small dense molecules are more at risk of breaking free and starting to damage the wall of your artery.

Types of Foods That Lower Cholesterol

Now that you know the difference between HDL and LDL, here are some food types that can help reduce cholesterol levels in your body.

Oatmeal

This breakfast favorite is high in soluble fiber, which slowly breaks down as you digest it to provide a slow release of sugar. This will prevent rapid spikes in blood sugar, which can lead to dangerous cholesterol problems.

Asparagus

This vegetable is best steamed or lightly sautéed to reduce the level of natural toxins it contains.

Asparagus is an excellent source of folate, which aids in heart health and helps lower homocysteine levels (an amino acid associated with cardiovascular disease) in the body.

Avocado

The creamy texture of the avocado makes it a great substitute for butter or other high cholesterol spreads. In addition, avocados are rich in oleic acid, which reduces LDL levels and improves blood vessel function.

The trans fats present in some store-bought guacamoles are not the same as the oleic acid found inside an avocado, so be sure to check your labels.

Soy Foods

Soy protein contains phytoestrogens that help reduce LDL and increase HDL cholesterol.

Try adding a cup of edamame, soy nuts, or tofu to your next salad for a healthy and delicious way to improve your cholesterol levels.

Legumes

Legumes like beans and peas contain soluble fiber and plant protein that helps reduce LDL cholesterol and increase HDL.

Try adding a cup or two of legumes to your favourite soups, stews, or salads to take advantage of this. You can also whip up a quick dip by mixing some garbanzo beans with lemon juice, cumin, and garlic for a healthy addition to your next party.

Apples

Apples with the skin still on boost your cholesterol-lowering effects and contain pectin, a soluble fiber that helps remove LDL.

To take full advantage of this effect, try eating an apple before each meal or cutting them up to add to your favorite salads.

Dark Chocolate and Cocoa

This tasty treat is a very good source of flavonols, which help lower LDL cholesterol and improve the elasticity of your blood vessels.

Be sure to read your labels carefully, as not all chocolate contains these beneficial elements. Milk chocolate or other low-quality brands will not provide you with the same health benefits as dark chocolate.

Eggplant and Okra

Both foods are excellent sources of fiber, but they also contain sterols, which help reduce the level of cholesterol in your blood.

Try adding these two vegetables to your favorite soups or stir fry dishes for a nutritious way to improve your health and lower your cholesterol.

Fiber Supplements

Several fiber supplements can be added to your meals or taken in capsule form before each meal.

One such supplement, glucomannan, works by absorbing water and moving through the digestive tract slowly. This helps control appetite and cholesterol levels by slowing down digestion and absorption of foods.

Turmeric

Everyone's favorite spicy addition to foods also contains curcumin, which has been recently found to have anti-inflammatory properties that help lower cholesterol by decreasing LDL levels in the blood.

Start adding this tasty root to your favorite dishes, like soups and rice, to enjoy its health benefits!

Garlic

Though garlic has a strong smell, it also contains allicin which helps lower LDL cholesterol levels by removing plaque from your arteries.

This tasty addition is great for adding flavor to pasta dishes, salads, soups, and more! You can also try chopping up some fresh garlic or sprinkling crushed garlic on your next home-cooked meal.

Olive Oil

A study conducted on high cholesterol participants found that olive oil reduced some of their LDL cholesterol levels by more than 50%.

Try replacing your vegetable oil with olive oil if you like to fry or sauté foods to take advantage of this.

Fish

Adding fish to your diet is a great way to lower LDL cholesterol by increasing HDL levels in your blood.

The trick is finding which types of fish you should add to increase HDL and reduce triglyceride (the fatty substance that can lead to heart disease).

Omega-3 fatty acids are the magic ingredient needed for this transformation, which you'll find in large quantities in trout, herring, mackerel, tuna, salmon, halibut, and sardines.

You can also try adding anchovies to your favorite pasta dishes or salads for a delicious and healthy way to improve your cholesterol levels.

Green Tea

Green tea is an excellent source of catechins, antioxidants that increase HDL cholesterol and decrease LDL levels.

Adding this healthy beverage to your diet is as simple as boiling water; remember not to let it steep for more than five minutes. If you let the tea sit too long, its antioxidant properties begin to decline.

Kidney Beans

This fiber-rich legume is great for reducing LDL cholesterol and balancing blood sugar levels.

To take full advantage of the benefits, be sure to add kidney beans to the slow cooker with your favorite chilli recipe and let it simmer all day. The longer they cook, the more soluble fiber they will contain, and the lower your cholesterol will become!

Nuts

Another great source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids are nuts, especially walnuts.

Be sure to get your daily serving of these cholesterol-fighting nutrients by adding chopped walnuts to your salads, oatmeal, or yogurt for a satisfying crunch!

Regular exercise can also help lower LDL levels in the blood and improve heart health overall. Just make sure you're not overdoing it, as too much exercise can increase LDL levels.

It's also important to remember that managing cholesterol is a slow process, so don't expect to see positive results overnight.

However, you should start seeing your numbers drop over time and ultimately contribute to a healthier life with these dietary changes!

The Importance of Exercise for Lowering Your Cholesterol

Exercise is very important for lowering cholesterol levels in the body. It helps to shed off some of those extra pounds, which are constantly being converted into cholesterol and then passed through your bloodstream.

It is an accepted fact that being overweight contributes to high cholesterol levels, so it makes sense to shed off any excess weight to help lower your cholesterol.

Exercise also helps in increasing the HDL or good cholesterol level in your body. The best form of exercise when trying to manage your cholesterol through physical activity is aerobic exercise.

Such exercises include walking, jogging, cycling or skiing. According to experts, these are not only great for your cardiovascular health, but they also lessen the load on your heart as you burn more calories as compared to other physical activities.

Nutritional Change Helps Lower Cholesterol Levels

As with everything else, there are good diets and bad diets out there. One of the bad diets is the diet that most people typically eat. It's full of saturated fats, sugars, and processed foods.

If you are eating this kind of food regularly, you are doing nothing good for your body, particularly when it comes to lowering cholesterol levels.

With this kind of diet, you are more likely to have high LDL or bad cholesterol levels. However, you can do something about it by changing your eating habits. 

One of the best diets for people looking to lower their cholesterol levels is the Mediterranean Diet. People following this diet have healthier cholesterol levels as compared to those who eat a typical American diet.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best drink to lower cholesterol?

Many drinks can help to lower cholesterol levels. The most effective drink is green tea, which has been shown in studies to significantly lower high cholesterol levels.

Other drinks that can affect the reduction of LDL or bad cholesterol include grapefruit juice and black tea.

What are the worst foods for high cholesterol?

The worst foods for high cholesterol are fatty, fried foods, fast food and processed meats. These foods should be avoided at all costs if you look to manage your cholesterol levels effectively through dieting.

What is the best exercise for lowering cholesterol?

The best form of exercise for managing high cholesterol through physical activity is aerobic exercises like walking, jogging, or cycling.

How can I lower my cholesterol naturally?

The best way to lower cholesterol levels naturally is through a healthy, nutritious diet and regular exercise. Ensure that you include foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables in your diet.

Is banana good for high cholesterol?

Bananas are high in soluble fiber, which can help to reduce LDL or bad cholesterol levels in the body. Besides that, bananas are also high in potassium and magnesium.

Both minerals have been shown to lower blood pressure, another risk factor for coronary heart disease.

Last Thoughts

Many factors contribute to high cholesterol levels, but one of the most important is diet. It's true - what you eat can affect your cholesterol level and, in turn, your heart health!

The foods we've mentioned today should help lower cholesterol naturally by minimizing saturated fat intake and increasing dietary fiber. However, there's no substitute for a good workout routine for lowering bad cholesterol numbers.

You can also try our Citrus Bergamot supplements, which are high in soluble fibers that have been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol levels. If you are looking to control your heart health, be sure to check out our Citrus Bergamot supplements!

We hope you found this article helpful. If you have any comments or questions, please leave them below!


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