If you have been diagnosed with a heart problem or is known to be at high-risk for developing one, then you’ve most likely been told to avoid fatty foods. Sadly, this is not all true since there are certain types of fat that our bodies actually need. What you don’t want is low density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol. Most people know it as the ‘bad cholesterol’ as it has been attributed to an increased risk of cardiovascular events. What you need are foods that can help you reduce this type of cholesterol. Don’t worry as we have 8 of the best foods you can include in your diet.
- Oats, barley, and other whole grains
Oats and other high-fiber foods are excellent when it comes to lowering your LDL cholesterol. It is generally recognized that eating at least 5 grams of soluble fiber every day can help lower LDL cholesterol. Soluble fiber helps reduce the amount of cholesterol that can be absorbed in the bloodstream. When cholesterol is not absorbed then you also lower the level of cholesterol in the blood.
- Fatty fish and other sources of omega-3 fatty acids
While omega-3 fatty acids doesn’t have an effect on low density lipoproteins, it does have a substantial effect on triglycerides, another type of fat that is also implicated in a variety of cardiovascular events like high blood pressure, blood clots, and even heart attacks. The thing here is that high triglyceride is equally harmful as high bad cholesterol.
You may not be fond of eating guacamole, but there is actually a health benefit to it. Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids that have been shown to be especially useful in reducing LDL cholesterol levels in folks who are either obese or overweight. Avocados are best eaten raw especially when they are already ripe. You can also add them to your salads or perhaps turn it into dip for vegetables.
- Whey protein
Typically found in dairy products, whey protein has been shown to be effective in the reduction of LDL cholesterol especially when given as a supplement. Not only does it have an impact on LDL cholesterol, whey protein also reduces the level of total cholesterol in the blood. Whey protein can also help in the restoration of a more normal blood pressure.
- Foods that are fortified or enriched with plant stanols or sterols
Plant stanols and sterols are regarded as cholesterol-blockers as they work to prevent LDL cholesterol absorption in the bloodstream. As such, when these substances are used in fortified or enriched foods these foods can also exhibit the same cholesterol-lowering effects. For example, orange juices, margarines, and granola bars are usually enriched with plant sterols. Science has shown that the addition of about 2 grams of plant sterols in the diet can actually help reduce LDL cholesterol by as much as 15 percent.
- Almonds, walnuts, and other nuts
Two ounces of almonds, peanuts, walnuts, and other nuts included in the diet can result in the reduction of LDL cholesterol levels by as much as 5%. It may not be that significant, but it sure is a great start if you want to lower your cholesterol while enjoying munching on nuts. Do take note, however, that nuts are calorie-dense so you have to watch the amount of nuts you’re eating.
Like oats and whole grains, beans are also very rich in soluble fiber. Kidney beans, navy beans, garbanzos, lentils, black-eyed peas, and many more can help you lower your LDL cholesterol levels by interfering with its absorption in the blood. The other good thing about beans is that they tend to make you feel a lot fuller for a much longer time. These foods are, thus, preferred by folks who also want to lose weight.
Drinking 2.5 cups of soy milk or eating 10 ounces of tofu every day can lead to a reduction in LDL cholesterol by up to 6 percent. This underscores the effectiveness of soybeans in reducing cholesterol in the blood. Food products made from soybeans are equally effective.
Lowering your LDL cholesterol through more natural means is easy. You only need to choose foods that are high in fiber, contain poly- and mono- unsaturated fats, and lean proteins from wild, grass-fed, or pasture-raised sources. Stay away from heavily processed foods, hydrogenated oils, and trans-fats, too.