10 Cholesterol Lowering Foods to Add to Your Diet

cholesterol lowering foods

The liver produces fatty substances known as cholesterol, which lipoproteins then transport through the blood.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that our bodies make enough cholesterol for our blood on their own. On the other hand, almost 86 million people in the US had high cholesterol in 2020.

High cholesterol has been associated with a number of health issues, including heart attack and stroke.

How you eat may have a big impact on how well you control your cholesterol levels.

Amazing cholesterol lowering foods

1. Fatty fish

Fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel contain large amounts of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.

A study from 2022 suggests that these factors may increase HDL cholesterol and decrease LDL cholesterol, potentially reducing your risk of developing certain diseases. Some of these are:

  • Heart disease and stroke
  • Heart trouble
  • High blood pressure and arrhythmia
  • Heart attack

Researchers examined 14 studies collectively in 2017 and discovered a link between eating oily fish and higher HDL cholesterol and lower triglyceride levels.

A 25-year study involving numerous adults revealed that individuals who consumed the most non-fried fish had the lowest risk of developing metabolic syndrome. This is a group of symptoms that includes high blood pressure and low HDL levels.

The best way to cook fish is to steam or stew it. You may be more likely to get heart disease and stroke if you eat fried fish.

2. Legumes

People often call beans, peas, and lentils “pulses.” They are all plant-based foods.

In 2021, researchers conducted a study to analyze the changes in LDL levels resulting from the consumption of beans or white rice. The researchers discovered that the group that consumed a daily cup of beans had significantly lower LDL levels after 29 days compared to their levels on the first day.

Also, a review from 2019 found that eating legumes lowered LDL values. If you eat legumes, these health problems may also be less likely to happen:

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Inflammation

Instead of refined grains and processed meats, try adding beans to chili, salads, and pasta.

3. Fruits and berries

For many reasons, fruit is a beneficial addition to a heart-healthy diet.

Many different types of vegetables contain stool fiber. Stool fiber lowers cholesterol by instructing your body to eliminate cholesterol and inhibiting your liver from producing this chemical.

Pectin is a type of soluble fiber that may lower cholesterol by up to 10%, according to a study from 2012. Many foods, including apples, grapes, citrus fruits, and strawberries, contain it.

Bioactive substances in fruits, such as anthocyanins, fiber, and phytosterol, may help fight inflammation and free radicals. According to a study from 2019, eating berries may also help raise HDL cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol.

4.  Soy foods

Soybeans are a type of vegetable that might be beneficial for your heart. There is limited consensus regarding the impact of these factors on cholesterol levels.

A study from 2021, for example, suggests that replacing saturated fats with soybean oil may help lower LDL cholesterol. Similarly, a 2015 review of 35 studies linked soy foods to lower LDL and total cholesterol and higher HDL cholesterol.

However, a 2020 study found that soy protein had no effect on total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, or HDL cholesterol. If you want to eat more soy, try making it with soybean oil or tofu instead of meat.

5. Dark leafy greens

You may be less likely to get heart disease if you eat dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, and Swiss chard. These greens contain lutein and other carotenoids.

Also, dark leafy greens might help lower cholesterol. A 2019 study on rats suggests that this is because they link to bile acids and help your body get rid of more cholesterol.

Another 2011 study using guinea pigs found that lutein reduces the amount of oxidized LDL cholesterol and may help keep cholesterol from sticking to the walls of arteries.

6. Virgin olive oil

Extra virgin olive oil plays a vital role in the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet.

A 2019 review examined the impact of olive oil and other plant-based oils on cholesterol levels. Researchers found that olive oil raised HDL cholesterol more than other types of oil. It didn’t change LDL or overall cholesterol levels much, though.

Also, a review from 2022 found that eating 20 grammes of olive oil every day helped raise HDL cholesterol. Overall, though, the writers came to the conclusion that olive oil didn’t have much of an effect on LDL, triglycerides, or total cholesterol.

More research is required to fully support olive oil as a healthy food for cholesterol.

7. Tea

Tea contains a variety of plant chemicals that are good for your heart.

One 2020 review of 31 studies found that green tea can help drop both LDL and total cholesterol.

Catechins are the main chemical in green tea that causes these effects. These help lower amounts of inflammation, oxidation, and carcinogens.

Both black tea and white tea are good for you because they lower cholesterol.

It’s important to keep in mind that while most studies show that tea lowers total and LDL cholesterol, there are mixed results about how it affects HDL cholesterol.

8. Garlic

Allicin is one of the strong plant chemicals found in garlic.

A 2018 review of many studies shows that garlic may help lower both LDL and total cholesterol.

Also, keep in mind that you’ll need a lot of garlic to do this. With this in mind, garlic supplements may work better than other garlic products.

9. Whole grains

Heart disease risk goes down when you eat whole grains, according to a lot of studies.

Researchers examined 45 studies in 2016 and found that people who ate three meals of whole grains daily had a 19% lower risk of heart disease and a 12% lower risk of stroke. It was even better for people when they ate up to seven meals of whole grains every day.

Whole grains keep all of their parts together. This provides more fiber, vitamins, minerals, and plant substances than refined grains.

All whole foods may be beneficial for your heart, but there are two that stand out:

  • Beta-glucan is present in oats, which contributes to the reduction of LDL cholesterol. This is a form of soluble fiber that aids in the excretion of cholesterol and bile in the stool and influences the gut microbiome.
  • Barley is also rich in beta-glucans, which can help reduce LDL cholesterol.

10. Avocados

Avocados contain fiber and monounsaturated lipids, both of which contribute to the reduction of LDL cholesterol and the elevation of HDL cholesterol.

A 2015 study that included 45 obese adults assessed the impact of avocados on LDL cholesterol. The researchers discovered that individuals who consumed one avocado daily experienced a greater reduction in their LDL levels than those who did not consume avocados.

In the same vein, a 2016 review of ten studies found that the substitution of avocados for other lipids was associated with reduced total cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides.

There are numerous methods of consuming avocados, including toast, guacamole, and salads.

The bottom line

High cholesterol levels are a significant risk factor for cardiac disease. However, you can reduce this risk by including specific nutrients in your diet.

By increasing your consumption of these foods, you will establish a nutritious diet and maintain your heart’s health.

You can also use techniques like mindful eating to make sure you are satisfied and enjoy your meal without going overboard.

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