For optimal health, adding cholesterol-lowering foods in the diet is ideal for everyone, especially for people with high cholesterol levels. There are several heart-healthy foods. Including these in your everyday diet can help lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is the harmful cholesterol that can clog arteries and put you at risk of strokes and heart attacks. Below is a list of heart-healthy foods that help lower cholesterol:
Foods high in soluble fiber
Including foods high in soluble fiber will help bind the cholesterol from being absorbed into the bloodstream from the digestive tract. Whole grain cereals such as oatmeal, oat bran, and barley can help lower cholesterol. Fruits such as strawberry, apples, oranges, pears, and grapes are rich in pectin, which is also a type of soluble fiber. You can also add a variety of legumes to your diet, such as kidney beans, beans, chickpeas, lima beans, black-eyed peas, and lentils. Vegetables such as eggplant, carrots, and potatoes are rich in pectin and filled with fiber, offering many health benefits, including protection for the heart.
Foods that contain plant sterols and stanols
Sterols and stanols are plant chemicals that have the ability to absorb cholesterol from the intestines into the bloodstream. Certain plant-based foods contain small amounts of sterols and stanols, which is not enough to lower cholesterol. Food companies now offer foods with plant sterols or stanols added to them. Adding these cholesterol-lowering foods as part of your balanced diet can help lower cholesterol. These fortified foods include margarine, chocolate, yogurts, orange juice, milk, and more.
Foods rich in monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats
With a diet high in monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats, lower cholesterol levels can be achieved.
Olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, and avocados directly help lower cholesterol.
- Fatty fish
Fatty fish is also a source of healthy unsaturated fats – omega-3 fatty acids. Eating fish baked or grilled two or three times a week can help in lowering LDL. Salmon, mackerel, tuna, and trout have the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
Nuts are great as a snack and are also good sources of unsaturated fats. Eating two ounces of nuts like walnuts, cashew nuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, almonds, and other nuts every day is good for keeping your cholesterol levels low.
- Soy products
Edamame beans, unsweetened soymilk, and unflavored tofu are some other cholesterol-lowering foods that are rich sources of protein and can help improve lipid levels.
- Lycopene foods
For promoting heart health, lycopene foods such as tomatoes and watermelon can be consumed to reduce cholesterol.
Green and black tea are known to be full of antioxidants, and they have a cholesterol-lowering effect, reducing the risk of heart disease.
Manage your cholesterol by eating heart-healthy foods, which help you in getting a range of nutrients, fiber, and healthy fats. Add several of these cholesterol-lowering foods to your diet to achieve a lower LDL in a natural way. Adopting a healthy diet can help naturally lower your cholesterol and lower the risk of a heart attack or stroke in patients with heart disease. In addition to dietary changes, talk to your healthcare provider about the many medications available for managing high cholesterol, such as the first non-statin oral medication, Nexletol; statin oral medications, such as Livalo (or Pitavastatin); and human monoclonal antibody medications, such as Repatha (Evolocumab).