Foods to Lower LDL Cholesterol and Prevent Heart Disease

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is one of the best foods to lower LDL cholesterol. Oatmeal is high in soluble fiber that forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract, attracting cholesterol and keeping it from being absorbed by the body. The American Heart Association reports that people who eat oatmeal as part of a low-fat diet have lower LDL cholesterol levels than those who eat low-fat diets but do not consume oatmeal. Oatmeal is a wonderful breakfast during cold-weather months, but you can also use it to make granola bars and baked goods.

Green Tea

Green tea is thought to lower total cholesterol, reduce LDL cholesterol and raises healthy HDL cholesterol, although researchers are not yet sure why. One theory is that polyphenols, powerful antioxidants present in green tea, may stop the intestines from absorbing cholesterol from food, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Fish

Cold-water fatty fish contain high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids that help keep your cholesterol under control, according to the Mayo Clinic. The clinic reports that the best fish to eat include mackerel, lake trout, tuna, salmon, and halibut. For the maximum benefit, steam, grill or broil fish, so that you won’t be adding unhealthy fats during cooking. If you can’t or choose not to eat fish, a fish-oil supplement can help you get Omega 3s.

Nuts

Eating about a handful of a nuts a day can lower your risk of heart disease. Any type of nuts will do, as long as they aren’t covered in salt or sugar, so pick whatever type you happen to like. However, make sure not to eat too many, as they are high in calories. Try using them to give additional texture to dishes, or as a topping on oatmeal or pasta.

Olive Oil

Olive oil contains antioxidants that lower LDL cholesterol without affecting healthy HDL cholesterol, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, olive oil is fat, so it should only be used to replace other fats and not simply added to your diet. For example, you can cook vegetables in oil instead of butter, or use flavored oil on toast instead of margarine or jam.

References

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2010, 17 June). Cholesterol Levels: What Numbers Should You Aim For? MayoClinic.com. Retrieved 12 October, 2010 from https://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cholesterol-levels/CL00001

American Heart Association Staff (2010). Whole Grains and Fiber. AmericanHeart.org. Retrieved 12 October, 2010 from https://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4574

A.D.A.M. Staff. (2010, 20 September). Green Tea. University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved 12 October, 2010 from https://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/green-tea-000255.htm

Mayo Clinic Staff (2010, 7 May). Mayo Clinic: High Cholesterol: Top 5 Foods to Lower Your Numbers. MayoClinic.com. Retrieved 12 October, 2010 from https://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cholesterol/CL00002