Certain foods we eat can lower our cholesterol levels and improve the healthy blood flow through our arteries. What we eat plays a powerful role in terms of our body’s cholesterol. Adding foods that lower LDL, the harmful cholesterol-carrying particle that contributes to artery-clogging atherosclerosis, to one’s diet is one of the most effective ways to lower cholesterol.
Here Are 9 Foods That Naturally Lower Your Cholesterol
Legumes are the plant food group that includes beans, peas and lentils. They contain large amounts of healthy fiber, minerals and protein, and choosing to eat legumes in the place of refined grains and processed meats can lower the risk of heart disease.
A summary review of 26 studies reported that eating a 1/2 cup (100 grams) of legumes each day is effective at lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol by an average of 6.6 mg/dl, compared to not eating legumes, which is a significant amount.
2. Whole Grains: Oats and Barley
Make sure to integrate whole grains such as natural oatmeal and barley into your diet, as research has proven that consuming whole grains is associated with lower cholesterol levels and lower heart disease risk.
A review of 45 studies showed how eating three servings of whole grains daily is connected to a 20% lower risk of heart disease and stroke. When participants ate more than three servings daily, their benefits also continued to increase.
Salmon is a wonderful source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids which improve heart health by increasing “good” HDL cholesterol, while lowering inflammation and the risk of stroke.
Eating salmon twice a week lowers unhealthy LDL cholesterol in two ways: it often replaces meat, and salmon provides LDL-lowering omega-3 fats which protect the heart by helping prevent the onset of abnormal heart rhythms.
The health benefits come from eating steamed, baked or broiled salmon. Eating fried fish, and most fried food for that matter, increases the risk of heart disease.
Almonds and walnuts are great foods when it comes to heart health and lower cholesterol levels. Nuts contain phytosterols, which are plant compounds with similar structures to cholesterol and help to lower cholesterol by blocking its absorption in the intestines.
A detailed analysis of 25 studies showed that eating 2 to 3 servings of nuts each day decreased “bad” LDL cholesterol by an average of 10.2 mg/dl.
Another study found that consuming one daily serving of nuts was linked to a 28% lower risk of heart disease.
While chocolate is often high in sugar which is not heart healthy, cocoa itself has some wonderful benefits when it comes to cholesterol.
Cocoa, which is found in dark chocolate, has been shown by studies to lower “bad” LDL cholesterol. Cocoa has been observed to protect the “bad” LDL cholesterol in the blood from oxidation, which is a main cause of heart disease.
6. Fruits and Berries
Fruits and berries are loaded with healthy soluble fiber, which studies have found helps to lower cholesterol. For example one type of soluble fiber known as pectin can lower cholesterol levels by up to 10%. Citrus fruits, apples, grapes and strawberries all contain healthy levels of pectin.
Avocados are a wonderful source of monounsaturated fats and fiber, both of which have been proven to reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and increase “good” HDL cholesterol.
Studies have also found that replacing other dietary fats with the healthy fats found in avocados leads to lower total cholesterol levels, LDL and triglycerides.
8. Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens are some of the healthiest foods to include in one’s diet, and they’re also effective at lower cholesterol levels.
Kale and spinach for example, contain lutein and other carotenoids, which when consumed regularly are linked to a lower risk of heart disease.
One study concluded that lutein reduces levels of oxidized “bad” LDL cholesterol which then potentially prevents the cholesterol from binding to artery walls.
Garlic has been shown to lower blood pressure for people who suffer from high blood pressure. It also may help to lower total cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol.
The amount of garlic used in the studies was slightly higher than normal intake and came through the use of supplements, rather than being added to meals.
Do you eat any types of food to help lower your cholesterol?
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See Also: 10 Foods That Unclog Arteries Naturally