A high level of cholesterol is becoming a leading cause of cardiovascular diseases worldwide. Most people have bad dietary habits. They usually take the diet rich in bad LDL cholesterol and saturated fats such as cheese, pizza, pasta, etc. so it has become essential to make some dietary changes that lower the blood cholesterol level.
According to a survey, in the USA, more than 102 million individuals have cholesterol higher than the normal level that is 200mg/dl. And Greater than 35 million people have cholesterol level above 240mg/dl, which results in coronary heart diseases.
There are many foods that are part of a healthy heart diet because they lower blood cholesterol levels. The more you add these foods in your daily diet, the more you will be healthy.
Every food has a different way of lowering blood cholesterol levels.
- Some foods provide soluble fiber that binds to the cholesterol and removes them from the body.
- Others contain unsaturated fats that lower LDL.
- And some have Sterols and Stanols that prevent the absorption of cholesterol in the blood.
Are you worried about your high cholesterol level? Have you tried all methods to lower it? You must not have tried these cholesterol-lowering foods.
Let’s give them a try.
1. Extra virgin Olive oil
Mediterranean diet is essential in lowering blood cholesterol levels, and Olive oil is also a Mediterranean food. Olive oil is unsaturated fat that helps lower the bad LDL cholesterol and improve good HDL cholesterol.
Studies show that olive oil can reduce the risks of heart attacks and strokes up to 30%. It can also reduce the inflammation that leads to heart diseases. Avoid the high intake of other oils such as palm oil and coconut oil, as they are rich in saturated fats.
Serving Size: 2 tablespoons (23g) per day
Add Savor: Use olive oil as a salad dressing with red wine vinegar, minced garlic cloves, and a small amount of pepper.
2. Cocoa and Dark Chocolate
Researches suggest that dark chocolate is best in lowering cholesterol. It lowers blood cholesterol level up to 2-5%. It also prevents the oxidation of bad LDL cholesterol in the blood, which usually causes heart diseases.
Avoid chocolate, which is high in sugar because sugar is also bad for heart health. So, take chocolate with 75%-85% of cocoa.
Serving Size: 1ounce (101g) per day
Avocados can lower blood cholesterol drastically because it is rich in monounsaturated fats. It reduces cholesterol levels by up to 18%. It is most effective in individuals with mildly elevated blood cholesterol levels.
They contain oleic acid, which lowers bad cholesterol in the bloodstream. Avocado oil can also be used as a substitute for other cooking oils.
Serving Size: One avocado per day
Add Savor: Try it with Turkey sandwich or with salad.
4. Tea (black and green)
Tea contains two primary compounds that are beneficial to lower blood cholesterol. That compounds are Catechins and Quercetin. These two compounds prevent the synthesis and absorption of cholesterol and also lowers inflammation. They also provide nitric acid, which is good for heart health.
Typically green tea is more preferred to lower cholesterol levels because it is rich in antioxidants and made up of unfermented leaves.
Green tea lowers the cholesterol level up to 2-5%
Serving Size: 2-3 cups (245g each) per day
Almonds, walnuts, and pistachio are high in omega-3 fatty acids (polyunsaturated fats), so they are best to lower LDL cholesterol. Nuts have L-arginine that activates nitric acid and helps to regulate blood pressure.
They also prevent the absorption of cholesterol on intestines due to the presence of polysterols. Hence nuts are nutrient-dense food and good for heart health.
Serving Size: 1.5 ounces (about a handful) per day
Add savor: Sprinkle them on a salad or take them as a snack.
6. Whole grains
Barley, oatmeal, and brown rice contain a soluble fiber called beta-glucans that help to lower cholesterol levels. Beta-glucans also limit the absorption of cholesterol from the intestine.
Try to use whole intact grain instead of refined grain as it is rich in minerals and vitamins. Whole grains reduce the cholesterol level by up to 7-14%. Foods that claim to lower cholesterol must contain 1g or more of beta-glucan.
Serving Size: 3 servings of whole grains per day depending upon age and gender.
Add savor: Take a bowl of oatmeal with high fiber fruits like apple and banana in the morning.
Fish is an excellent source of unsaturated fats that is omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids lower blood cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol, which reduces the risk of heart diseases.
Another heart-protective component in fish is Peptides. Fish and fish oil lower the blood cholesterol level up to 27% Eat baked or grilled fish and avoid fried fish because it is unhealthy and can lead to stroke and heart diseases.
Serving Size: 140 g of fish per week
Soy milk, tofu, and edamame are rich in proteins, fiber, and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids that lower cholesterol levels. Naturally, soy is low in saturated fatty acids.
What to eat: switch chicken to tofu, high-fat cheese to soy cheese, beef chili to soybeans because soy foods are perfect for a healthy diet and healthy lifestyle.
Serving Size: 25g per day (2 ½ cups of soy milk and10 ounces of tofu) reduces the LDL by 5%-6%
Add Savor: Pour soy milk in a bowl of cereal or add tofu for meat in stir-fries
Apples, pears, oranges, and berries are rich in pectin, a type of soluble fiber that lowers blood cholesterol level up to 10%.
Fruits contain bioactive compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and are best to reduce the risk of heart diseases.
Serving Size: take one serving 400g or five servings of 80g per day (roughly 1 cup)
Take citrus berry smoothie or orange juice in the morning.
Most of the vegetables are good for heart health, especially eggplant and okra, because they are rich in soluble fibers that are pectin. Soluble fibers block the absorption of cholesterol from the intestine into the blood. Eggplant also contains a high amount of antioxidants.
Other cholesterol-lowering vegetables are Sweet Potato, Aubergine, And Broccoli, etc.
Some green vegetables are useful for heart health, such as Spanish and Kale. They contain carotenoids, an antioxidant that improves the elasticity of arteries, and lowers blood cholesterol levels.
Vegetables also provide many other plant compounds that prevent heart diseases.
Serving Size: 2-3 cups per day
Garlic is the main ingredient of food. It contains a powerful plant compound called Allicin. Allicin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that are best to lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
As a large amount of garlic is required to achieve its effects on the heart, so nowadays, allicin-containing supplements are available to lower blood cholesterol.
Serving Size: Less than half a clove (900mg) of raw garlic per day
In South Asia, pickled garlic is very famous.
Black beans, lentils, and kidney beans are rich in soluble fiber, minerals, and proteins with cholesterol-lowering effects. Beans create a feeling of fullness for a long time, so it also helps in weight loss.
Serving Size: 4.5 ounce of beans per day reduces 5% of LDL
Eat black beans burritos as an afternoon snack
13. Foods containing Sterols and Stanols
Sterols and Stanols are the plant chemicals which prevent the absorption of cholesterol hence lowers blood cholesterol level. Vegetables, nuts, and whole grains also contain sterols and Stanols, but those are inadequate to fulfill the requirement. So companies have fortified foods that contain sterols and Stanols, such as Mini Yogurt Drinks, Milk, and Fat Spreads.
Serving Size: 2g per day lowers the cholesterol by about 10%.
Sterols and Stanols are added to the granola bars and margarine.
People with high cholesterol levels will no longer have to pass on pecan because researches suggests that pecans lower the bad LDL, which is the cause of cardiovascular problems. Pecans are rich in unsaturated fats, proteins, potassium, zinc, magnesium, and alpha-linolenic acid.
Serving Size: 2 handfuls of pecans per day
Summing up, Cholesterol-lowering diet has variable effects in lipid fraction. Diet very low in saturated fats helps reduce LDL cholesterol and elevate HDL, which lowers the risk of coronary heart diseases.
Studies have reported that diet therapy has resulted in a 25% to 35% reduction in the cholesterol level.
We have shared some cholesterol-lowering foods. Making these foods the part of your diet will keep your heart healthy and help you lower your blood cholesterol level.
You should follow the technique of mindful eating; this will not only keep you healthy but also enables you to add taste into your food.
If you find these foods effective in lowering your blood cholesterol level, please share them with us in the comment section below.
If you follow all these wonderful tips recommended above, you will be able to maintain your diet plan and lower your blood cholesterol. Put in the effort, remain discipline and committed, and within a short time, just like magic, you will see result. So, don’t quit.
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