Cholesterol Lowering Foods

By Michelle Course

With so many convenient foods and snacks available to us 24 hours a day, it can sometimes feel overwhelming when it comes time to change up your diet. You may have found out that your LDL cholesterol is high and that you need to do everything you can to reduce it. As it turns out, there is quite a variety of cholesterol-reducing food options that can help restore your health.

High-Fiber Foods

Foods with high amounts of soluble fiber can reduce your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels by reducing the absorption of this "bad" cholesterol into your bloodstream. Consuming 5 to 10 g or more of soluble fiber daily will decrease your total and LDL cholesterol levels, according to the Mayo Clinic. High-fiber foods include oatmeal, oat bran, kidney beans, bananas, apples, pears, barley and prunes.

Nuts & Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids

Nuts such as walnuts and almonds are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are known to reduce blood cholesterol and to keep blood vessels healthy. The FDA recommends 1.5 ounces -- about a handful -- of nuts to reduce the risk of heart disease. Beneficial nuts include almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, and some types of pine nuts.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is known to contain a strong mixture of antioxidants that can reduce your LDL cholesterol without affecting your "good" HDL cholesterol. The FDA recommends consuming about 2 tbsp. of olive oil daily to get the best results.

Plant Sterols or Stanols

Some modern foods are fortified with beneficial plant sterols and stanols, which can reduce your LDL cholesterol by more than 10 percent. The recommended daily amount of plant sterols is at least 2 g, which, according to the Mayo Clinic, is contained in 16 ounces of plant-fortified orange juice.

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