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Changing the foods you eat can lower your cholesterol and increase the amount of fat floating in your bloodstream. Adding foods that lower LDL, the harmful cholesterol-carrying particle that contributes to atherosclerosis, is the best way to achieve a low cholesterol diet.
Lower Cholesterol By Diet
Different foods lower cholesterol in different ways. Some provide soluble fiber, which binds to cholesterol and its precursors in the digestive tract and pulls them out of the body before they circulate. Some give you polyunsaturated fats that directly lower LDL. Some contain plant sterols and stanols, which prevent the body from absorbing cholesterol.
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1. Oats. An easy first step to lowering your cholesterol is to eat oatmeal or a cold oat-based cereal like Cheerios for breakfast. It gives you 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber. Add a banana or some strawberries to another half gram. Current dietary guidelines recommend 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day and at least 5 to 10 grams of soluble fiber. (The average American gets about half that amount.)
2. Barley and other grains. Oats and oat bran, barley and other whole grains help reduce the risk of heart disease, mainly thanks to their soluble fiber.
3. Beans Beans are especially rich in soluble fiber. It takes a little longer for the body to digest, which means you’ll feel full longer after a meal. Beans are a useful food for people trying to lose weight. From navy and kidney beans to lentils, chickpeas, black-eyed peas and beyond, with so many options and many ways to prepare them, beans are a versatile food.
5. Seeds. A bushel of research shows that eating almonds, walnuts, peanuts and other nuts is good for the heart. Eating 2 ounces of nuts a day can slightly reduce LDL by 5%. Nuts contain additional nutrients that protect the heart in other ways.
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6. Vegetable oils. Using canola, sunflower, safflower, and vegetable oils instead of butter, lard, or shortening when cooking or at the table can help lower LDL.
7. Apples, grapes, strawberries, citrus fruits: These fruits are rich in pectin, a type of soluble fiber that lowers LDL.
8. Foods fortified with sterols and stanols. Sterols and stanols extracted from plants increase the body’s ability to absorb cholesterol from food. Companies add them to a variety of foods, from margarine and granola bars to orange juice and chocolate. They are also available as supplements. Taking 2 grams of plant sterols or stanols per day can reduce LDL cholesterol by about 10%.
9. Soy. Eating soybeans and foods made from them, such as tofu and soy milk, was once said to be a powerful way to lower cholesterol. Analyzes show the effect is more modest – consuming 25 grams of soy protein (10 ounces of tofu or 2 1/2 cups of soy milk) per day can reduce LDL by 5 to 6%.
Food To Consume To Lower Cholesterol
10. Oily fish. Eating fish two or three times a week can reduce LDL in two ways: replacing meat with LDL-raising saturated fats and giving LDL-lowering omega-3 fats. Omega-3s lower triglycerides in the bloodstream and protect the heart by helping to prevent the onset of abnormal heart rhythms.
11. Fiber supplements. Supplements offer the least attractive way to obtain soluble fiber. Found in two teaspoons of Metamucil and other mass-building laxatives per day, psyllium provides about 4 grams of soluble fiber.
When it comes to investing money, experts recommend building a portfolio of diversified investments rather than putting all your eggs in one basket. The same goes for eating your way to lower cholesterol. Adding a few foods to lower cholesterol in different ways works better than focusing on one or two foods.
A largely vegetarian “dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods” significantly lowers LDL, triglycerides, and blood pressure. Important dietary components include lots of fruit and vegetables, whole grains rather than highly processed foods, and protein mostly derived from plants. Add margarine enriched with plant sterols; Oats, barley, psyllium, okra and eggplant are rich in soluble fiber; soy protein; and whole almonds.
Foods That Lower Cholesterol
Of course, switching to a cholesterol-lowering diet requires more focus than popping a daily statin. This means increasing the variety of foods you normally put in your shopping cart and getting used to new textures and flavors. However, it is a “natural” way of lowering cholesterol and avoids the risk of muscle problems and other side effects that plague some people who take statins.
More importantly, a diet high in fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts is good for the body in ways that go beyond lowering cholesterol. It keeps blood pressure under control. It helps arteries stay flexible and responsive. It is good for bones and digestion, vision and mind.
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Managing Your Cholesterol provides up-to-date information to help you or a loved one keep cholesterol under control. The report explains what y and uny cholesterol levels are and gives specific ways to keep cholesterol in line. This includes cholesterol tests and cholesterol genetics. The report focuses on treatments based on the latest scientific evidence, including the pros and cons of statins and other medications, and offers discounts on other substances that are promoted to lower cholesterol. Managing your cholesterol can help you work with your doctor to personalize your treatment.
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From fighting inflammation to finding the best diet for weight loss… from exercise to tips for treating cataracts, get helpful tips and guidance for building a strong core. Plus, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts. Many of us dread doctor appointments, even when we love our doctors. This is especially true if we have been encouraged to change our diet and exercise regimen, but have not made much progress. Hey, it does. You blink and another year has passed. But these annual checkups and tweaks to our self-care are essential, especially if we’re dealing with high cholesterol, one of the most common problems people face today.
You may be confused about the true impact of cholesterol on heart health because there’s been a lot of buzz about it lately, so to bring you more information on this pretty hot topic, here’s the established R.D. I worked with Jen Reilly.
Cholesterol is thought to be the one and only determinant of heart disease risk. However, researchers are now finding that cholesterol is only one part (triglycerides, blood pressure, obesity and diabetes are some of the other parts) (study).
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A low-fat diet is recommended to lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease. Dietary recommendations have now changed and focus on making sure you’re getting enough omega-3 fats that can raise your good cholesterol, avoiding trans fats that can raise your bad cholesterol, and limiting saturated fats.
Some researchers and nutritionists are starting to underestimate the role of saturated fat when it comes to heart disease risk and cholesterol levels (Research Paper). However, their conclusions are based on observational studies, which are unreliable when it comes to showing definitive cause and effect. Saturated fats (and mostly of animal origin) are still part of the heart disease equation, but they should be limited if you want to keep your weight and the rest of your body healthy.
New to the heart disease risk group is sugar. Research suggests avoiding simple carbohydrates and added sugars, especially added fructose, as they raise triglyceride levels and other risk factors for heart disease (study). The good news is that most of the heart health advice is still the same: lots of plant-based foods, fiber, maintaining a healthy weight,
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