10 Foods to Lower Cholesterol That You Never Knew About

Lately, it seems like everyone has been talking about lowering their cholesterol. After all, a high cholesterol count is a major risk factor for heart disease. But what exactly does that mean? Does it mean you need to avoid all high-cholesterol foods? Or does it mean that you need to give up all foods with cholesterol? The answer isn’t as scary as you might think. In this article, we’ll discuss the foods rich in cholesterol and how to figure out your personal cholesterol targets. Read on to learn all about it.

What Is Cholesterol?

Imagine a slippery, egg-shaped molecule found in every cell of your body. That sticky stuff is called cholesterol, and it’s responsible for helping your cells build strong membranes. You probably don’t have to imagine too hard, though.

Everyone knows what cholesterol is, right? It’s that stuff you hear about when someone’s having a heart attack. Cholesterol is actually a vital substance your body needs, but high levels are an indication of a health problem. The “good” cholesterol (HDL) and “bad” cholesterol (LDL) each play an important role, but it’s the ratio of these two that’s most important.

What food helps lower cholesterol?

Avocado

Avocado

Avocados are a great way to add healthy fats to your diet. They’re also packed with monounsaturated fats, which can lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health. One cup of avocado has just 100 calories, as well as 4 grams of fibre and 1 gram of fat.

You’d have to eat six cups of avocado to gain just one gram of fat. While eating avocados alone won’t lower your cholesterol, consuming them in combination with other foods rich in monounsaturated fats can help improve your cholesterol levels.

Fatty Fish

Fatty Fish

Salmons, sardines, cod, herring, and mackerel are some of the types of fatty fish that contain the highest amounts of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. These fats can improve your cholesterol status by decreasing the amount of “bad” (LDL) cholesterol in your blood.

However, it’s important to remember that not all types of fish are created equal. Some, like tuna and lake trout, contain mercury and other toxins. In order to reap the benefits of fatty fish, you’ll need to consume a variety of sources, including fish that are low in mercury, such as sardines, cod, and salmon.

Nuts

Nuts

Many people think that nuts are primarily good for your heart because they contain saturated fat. However, studies have shown that consuming nuts in moderation can actually benefit your cholesterol profile. The “good” type of cholesterol in nuts, known as mono- and polyunsaturated fats, actually have a beneficial effect on blood cholesterol.

Oats

Oats

Oats are a type of whole grain and, as such, they contain dietary fibre and complex carbohydrates. Fibre and complex carbohydrates can prevent digestive issues, such as constipation and diarrhea, and also help regulate your blood sugar. When it comes to improving your cholesterol, eating oats doesn’t get much better than this:

A study found that eating three to five daily servings of whole-wheat bread resulted in significant reductions in “bad” LDL cholesterol while leaving “good” HDL cholesterol unaffected. To increase your daily fibre intake, try swapping white bread for oat bran.

Barley

Barley

Barley is a type of whole grain that’s grown exclusively in the hulls of barley grains. Traditionally, the grains were dried and then used to make beer. However, barley can also be eaten as a cooked or uncooked grain.

When eaten as part of a grain-rich diet, barley can decrease cholesterol levels by inhibiting the liver from absorbing too much cholesterol from food. A single cup of barley has only 35 calories, 0 grams of fat, and 0 grams of carbohydrates, making it an ideal grain to eat if you’re trying to lower your cholesterol.

Fruits & Berries

Fruits & Berries

Fruits and vegetables are known to be good for your health, and many people think that’s also true for your cholesterol. However, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute notes that there’s actually no link between a high-cholesterol diet and fruits and vegetables. In fact, eating certain fruits and vegetables can actually improve your cholesterol profile.

Dark Chocolate & Cocoa

Dark Chocolate & Cocoa

Dark chocolate is known to be good for your heart, but it’s also highly effective at lowering cholesterol. The cocoa in chocolate contains antioxidants and flavonols, which have anti-inflammatory properties that can help improve your cholesterol. One study found that people who ate the most flavonols had the lowest blood pressure, suggesting that this could be a promising way to reduce high blood pressure and improve your heart health.

Soy Foods

Soy Foods

Soybeans are one of the richest sources of plant protein, and they contain the amino acid isoflavone, which has been shown to decrease the concentration of cholesterol in the blood. The American Heart Association recommends that people consume about half an ounce of protein per pound of body weight, and an adult should consume about 2 ounces of protein daily. If you’re following a low-cholesterol diet, consider swapping out some of your animal-based proteins for soy.

Legumes

Legumes

When consumed in moderation, legumes, such as beans and lentils, are perfectly healthy and nutritious. However, it’s important to note that these types of beans are high in carbohydrates and should be consumed in combination with other foods rich in protein, such as fish or eggs.

Thanks to these foods, it’s possible to enjoy foods high in cholesterol without worrying about the repercussions. Now, you just need to make sure you’re eating the right types of food and in the right amounts to reap the full benefits.

Lentils

Lentils

Lentils provide fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. They are high in fibre and contain an impressive amount of proteins which make them excellent for weight loss. Lentils are not just a good source of proteins; they also help lower bad cholesterol. They can also reduce the risk of heart diseases and offer relief from constipation.

Conclusion

You can incorporate the foods to lower cholesterol into your daily diet and reap their positive effects on your health. Lowering cholesterol may help decrease your chances of developing heart disease and having a stroke, so it’s well worth looking into — improving your diet might be all you needed to regain good health!

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