Learn something new every day More Info... by email
There are some great foods that lower cholesterol, and these can be split into four basic categories: soluble fiber foods, foods high in omega 3 fatty acids, monounsaturated fats, and plant stanols and sterols. As with any foods a person might eat to be healthier, food examples in these groups must be part of a healthy diet in order to be most effective. If a person overeats or regularly consumes things like trans fats and saturated fats, then foods that lower cholesterol won’t have as much of an effect, and may not help reduce cholesterol counts to safe levels. These foods may not be adequate for people with some forms of high cholesterol and they should not be considered a substitute for medication or other medical treatments that doctors advise.
In the soluble fiber category, one of the best cholesterol lowering foods is oats. Other eatables with high soluble fiber levels include beans and lentils, prunes, sweet potatoes, apples, barley, and raisins. These have been indicated in lowering bad cholesterol levels called low-density lipoproteins (LDLs).
Sources of omega 3 fatty acids include many types of oily fish like salmon or sardines. They raise high-density lipoproteins (HDLs), which are the good cholesterol in the body. Those who don’t like fish can eat flax seed, take flax seed oil supplements, or try soybeans for Omega 3 sources and are good examples of foods that lower cholesterol.
There are many ways to get monounsaturated fats from foods, and one of the best ways is to consume nuts like walnuts or almonds. Other food sources include most nut butters, avocados, and olive oil. Olive oil is widely considered to be one of the superior foods that lower cholesterol because it does lower LDLs without having an impact on HDLs. When people are concerned with keeping saturated fat content low, olive oil is a terrific substitute. It can be used to cook foods, marinate them, or it can be even be used as a dip for things like bread in place of butter or margarines with trans fats.
The last category of stanols and sterols is a little more complicated. These have been shown to make it very difficult for the body to absorb cholesterol, but they tend to work better when taken as an additive in food. The amount needed, about 2 grams per day, is much more than can be obtained with normal eating.
There are some foods that are supplemented with these plant components, including some forms of orange juice and some heart healthy bread spreads. People can also take stanols and sterols alone in a capsule form. Some foods that contain these plant components include many nuts and seeds, most fruits, and many vegetables. When eating other foods that lower cholesterol, a lot of the foods that are in other categories will contain a small amount of stanols and sterols and may be helpful.
Fighting higher cholesterol with foods that lower it makes good sense. Other things are equally important, and especially include getting plenty of exercise and eating a healthy diet. Food avoidance may be just as vital, and people should try to compose diets that are very low in saturated fats and that contain no trans fats. As mentioned, some people may still need medication, even if their diet is perfect and contains plenty of foods that lower cholesterol.
One of our editors will review your suggestion and make changes if warranted. Note that depending on the number of suggestions we receive, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Thank you for helping to improve wiseGEEK!