Oct. 01, 2019
Diet can play an important role in lowering cholesterol.
According to the American Heart Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and others, the most effective dietary approach to reducing cholesterol is choosing foods that contain unsaturated fats rather than saturated or trans fats.
Unsaturated fats are common in fish, plants, nuts, seeds, beans, and vegetable oils. Saturated fats occur mostly in meat and dairy products. Trans fats are solidified vegetable oils found in fried food, baked goods, and packaged foods.
The Mayo Clinic lists its top foods for lowering cholesterol:
Oatmeal, oat bran, and high-fiber foods
Oatmeal contains soluble fiber, which reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol. Soluble fiber also is found in kidney beans, Brussels sprouts, apples, and pears.
Fish and omega-3 fatty acids
Fatty fish has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce triglycerides — a type of fat found in blood — as well as reduce blood pressure and risk of developing blood clots.
Foods with added plant sterols or stanols
Sterols and stanols are substances found in plants that help block the absorption of cholesterol. Margarines and orange juice with added plant sterols can help reduce LDL cholesterol.
Almonds and other nuts
Almonds and other tree nuts can improve blood cholesterol. A recent study concluded that a diet supplemented with walnuts can lower the risk of heart complications in people with history of a heart attack.
Research suggests that adding an avocado a day to a heart-healthy diet can help improve LDL cholesterol levels in people who are overweight or obese.
Olive oil lowers inflammation, protects “bad” LDL cholesterol from oxidation, and improves the lining of blood vessels.
Studies have shown that whey protein given as a supplement lowers LDL, total cholesterol, and blood pressure.
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