Cholesterol Lowering Foods | 30 Best Foods to Lower Cholesterol

Cholesterol Lowering Foods. Having high cholesterol levels, especially “bad” LDL, is linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

Diet can play an important role in lowering your cholesterol.

Cholesterol Lowering Foods

Here are 30 foods that can lower cholesterol and improve other risk factors for heart disease.

1. Fatty Fish.

Fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel, are excellent sources of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.

Eating fish two or three times a week can lower LDL in two ways, by replacing meat, which has LDL-boosting saturated fats, and by delivering LDL-lowering omega-3 fats.

Omega-3s reduce triglycerides in the bloodstream and also protect the heart by helping prevent the onset of abnormal heart rhythms.

2. Foods Fortified With Sterols and Stanols.

Sterols and stanols extracted from plants gum up the body’s ability to absorb cholesterol from food.

Companies are adding them to foods ranging from margarine and granola bars to orange juice and chocolate.

They are also available as supplements. Getting 2 grams of plant sterols or stanols a day can lower LDL cholesterol by about 10%.

3. Soy products.

Eating soybeans and foods made from them, like tofu and soy milk, was once touted as a powerful way to lower cholesterol.

An analysis of 35 studies linked soy foods to reduced “bad” LDL and total cholesterol, as well as increased “good” HDL cholesterol.

The effect seems strongest in people with high cholesterol.

4. Vegetable Oils.

Using liquid vegetable oils such as canola, sunflower, safflower, and others in place of butter, lard, or shortening when cooking or at the table helps lower LDL.

5. Apples Fruit.

An apple a day may in fact keep your cardiologist away.

Evidence has shown that frequent apple consumption may reduce total cholesterol.

That’s thanks to the phenolic compounds found in apple skins, the antioxidant compounds that promote healthy cellular function and proper blood flow.

6. Oats.

Contain beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber that helps lower cholesterol.

Eating oats may lower total cholesterol by 5% and “bad” LDL cholesterol by 7% .

7. Barley and other whole grains.

Like oats and oat bran, barley and other whole grains can help lower the risk of heart disease, mainly via the soluble fiber they deliver.

Barley, Also rich in beta-glucans and can help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol.

8. Legumes.

Legumes, also known as pulses, are a group of plant foods that includes beans, peas and lentils.

Legumes like beans, peas and lentils can help lower “bad” LDL levels and are a good source of plant-based protein.

9. Eggplant and okra.

These two low-calorie vegetables are good sources of soluble fiber.

10. Nuts, Especially Almonds and Walnuts.

A bushel of studies shows that eating almonds, walnuts, peanuts, and other nuts is good for the heart.

Eating 2 ounces of nuts a day can slightly lower LDL, on the order of 5%. Nuts have additional nutrients that protect the heart in other ways.

11. Avocados.

Avocados are an exceptionally nutrient-dense fruit.

They are a rich source of monounsaturated fats and fiber, two nutrients that help lower “bad” LDL and raise “good” HDL cholesterol.

12. Dark Chocolate and Cocoa.

Cocoa is the main ingredient in dark chocolate.

Flavonoids in dark chocolate and cocoa can help lower blood pressure and “bad” LDL cholesterol while raising “good” HDL cholesterol.

13. Garlic.

Garlic has been used for centuries as an ingredient in cooking and as a medicine. It contains various powerful plant compounds, including allicin, its main active compound.

Allicin and other plant compounds in garlic may help lower LDL cholesterol, and reduce other heart disease risk factors.

14. Tea.

Tea harbors many plant compounds that improve your heart health. While green tea gets a lot of attention, black tea and white tea have similar properties and health effects.

Two of the primary beneficial compounds in tea are. Catechins, Help activate nitric oxide, which is important for healthy blood pressure.

They also inhibit cholesterol synthesis and absorption and help prevent blood clots. Quercetin, May improve blood vessel function and lower inflammation.

15. Dark Leafy Greens.

While all vegetables are good for your heart, dark leafy greens are particularly beneficial.

Dark leafy greens, such as kale and spinach, contain lutein and other carotenoids, which are linked to a lower risk of heart disease.

Carotenoids act as antioxidants to get rid of harmful free radicals that can lead to hardened arteries.

Dark leafy greens may also help lower cholesterol levels by binding to bile acids and making your body excrete more cholesterol.

16. Olive Oil.

One of the most important foods in the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet is extra virgin olive oil.

The olive oil group had a 30% lower risk of major heart events, such as stroke and heart attack, compared to people who followed a low-fat diet.

Olive oil is a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids, the kind that may help raise “good” HDL and lower “bad” LDL cholesterol.

It is also a source of polyphenols, some of which reduce the inflammation that can drive heart disease.

17. Red wine.

Red wine contains resveratrol, a substance found in the red grape skin, which may prevent damage to blood vessels by reducing the risk of blood clots and lowering LDL.

Drinking too much alcohol can cause a host of other health issues, however; so while a glass of red wine at dinner is fine, don’t overdo it.

18. Strawberries.

Polyphenols, which are plant-based compounds that naturally help to regulate your cardiovascular system, are found in high amounts in strawberries.

Research has linked strawberries to a lower risk of heart disease due to their high polyphenol counts.

19. Potatoes.

A baked potato actually provides more heart-healthy potassium than a banana.

Getting an adequate amount of this all-important nutrient can also lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.

20. Tomatoes.

Tomatoes also contain the antioxidant lycopene, a compound linked to reducing LDL cholesterol levels in higher doses.

21. Raspberries.

With 8 grams of fiber in just a cup, raspberries can move your numbers in the right direction.

Eating adequate fiber (at least 25 grams per day), decreases LDL levels and supports healthy digestion.

22. Bananas.

Bananas lower cholesterol by removing it from your digestive system, preventing it from moving into your bloodstream and clogging your arteries.

23. Chia Seeds.

Chia seeds are full of the fatty acid, as well as fiber, protein, and antioxidants.

They can be consumed whole or added to soups, cereal, smoothies, puddings, and even baked goods.

24. Pumpkin.

Low in calories but rich in fiber, pumpkin is an antioxidant-rich, seasonal swap for sweet potatoes.

25. Cherries.

A cherry gets its color from anthocyanin, a type of phytonutrient with powerful antioxidant capabilities.

26. Corn Oil.

This overlooked cooking oil belongs in your pantry because it contains plant-sterols, compounds that decrease how much cholesterol-raising saturated fat your body absorbs.

Plus, it’s packed with antioxidants like other plant-based oils: canola, olive, grapeseed, peanut, safflower, sunflower, and avocado.

27. Grapes.

Like other produce, grapes contain polyphenolic compounds that may reduce cellular damage.

Eating about 1 to 2 cups of grapes per day can also help protect your tissues and decrease markers of inflammation.

28. Blueberries.

Some studies have connected eating blueberries regularly with decreased blood pressure.

That’s thanks to their circulation-boosting effect on blood vessels, which slows the rate of atherosclerosis.

29. Herbs and Spices.

Spices and herbs also pack antioxidants, which can help improve cholesterol levels when combined with veggies.

Ones we love: basil, cilantro, rosemary, sage, ginger, garlic, tarragon, black and red chili pepper, mint, and oregano.

30. Sweet Potatoes and Squash.

Sweet potatoes, butternut squash, parsnip, and other good-for-you tubers are lower in calories, filled with fiber, and chock-full of potassium and beta-carotene, both of which protect against heart disease.