Before we start talking about cholesterol, it’s important to differentiate between the two different types. LDL (low-density lipoproteins) cholesterol is what we mean by “bad” cholesterol: high levels of LDL can build up in your arteries and cause heart disease.
However, HDL (high-density lipoproteins) cholesterol is responsible for carrying cholesterol back to the liver, which processes it out of your body. The higher HDL levels you have, the better protection you’ll have against heart disease. The foods listed below will either lower “bad” cholesterol or increase “good” cholesterol.
Oats contain a substance called beta-glucan, which absorbs LDL and helps your body eliminate it. Just two half-cup servings of oats per day can help lower bad cholesterol.
“Fat” doesn’t always have to be a dirty word. Fish such as salmon, herring, and sardines are high in omega-3 fats, which have a wide variety of health benefits including: lowering triglycerides, alleviating depression, protection against Alzheimer’s and dementia, and warding off heart disease.
Olive oil contains lots of MUFAs, monounsaturated fatty acids, that lower LDL cholesterol and also helps trim abdominal fat. Instead of using butter or canola oil, sauté your vegetables in olive oil instead, or use it to make salad dressing or a marinade.
Walnuts, almonds, and cashews are the best nuts to snack on that also help lower LDL cholesterol. Be careful not to enjoy them too much—nuts are pretty high in calories, so limit your portions to about 1.5 ounces per day.
The rich dark green color of spinach is due to a high concentration of lutein, a pigment that guards against macular degeneration and guards against heart attacks. Just half a cup of spinach each day can help fight bad cholesterol.
Beans such as black, kidney, or pinto are very rich in soluble fiber, which helps lower LDL cholesterol by slowing the rate by which it’s absorbed. Just consuming half a cup of beans per day will supply a third of your daily fiber needs.
Like olive oil, avocados also contain lots of monounsaturated fat, which raise good cholesterol and lower the bad. They also contain beta-sitosterol, which is a plant-based fat that stops your body from absorbing too much bad cholesterol.
Bhat Internal Medicine can help you monitor your cholesterol levels and make sure they don’t go unchecked. Besides eating heart-healthy foods such as these, you can also make sure to exercise regularly, drink in moderation, and avoid smoking in order to maintain low cholesterol. Call and schedule an appointment with us today—we’ll help make health your number one priority.