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Eating Your Way to Lower Cholesterol: 11 Foods That Work

Altering your diet can be a practical way to decrease cholesterol levels and enhance the quality of fats present in your bloodstream. To accomplish a low-cholesterol diet, incorporating foods that reduce LDL, the harmful cholesterol-carrying particle responsible for artery-clogging atherosclerosis, is crucial.
To lower LDL cholesterol, various foods have different mechanisms. Some foods provide soluble fiber that binds cholesterol and its precursors, dragging them out of the body before they enter circulation. Some contain polyunsaturated fats that lower LDL directly, and others include plant sterols and stanols that block cholesterol absorption in the body.
Here are some foods that can lower LDL cholesterol:
1. Oats:

Start your day with a bowl of oatmeal or a cold oat-based cereal like Cheerios for an easy way to lower your cholesterol. Adding a banana or some strawberries can provide an extra half-gram of soluble fiber. The recommended daily fiber intake is 20 to 35 grams, with at least 5 to 10 grams of it coming from soluble fiber. However, the average American only consumes about half that amount.
2. Barley and other whole grains:

Like oats, barley and other whole grains contain soluble fiber that helps lower the risk of heart disease.
3. Beans:

Beans are an excellent source of soluble fiber that takes longer for the body to digest, making you feel full for longer. They are also useful for weight loss, with a variety of options available, from navy and kidney beans to lentils and garbanzos.
4. Eggplant and okra:

These low-calorie vegetables are rich in soluble fiber.
5. Nuts:

Research has shown that almonds, walnuts, peanuts, and other nuts are good for the heart. Consuming 2 ounces of nuts a day can slightly lower LDL by about 5%. Nuts also contain additional nutrients that protect the heart in other ways.
6. Vegetable oils:

Substitute liquid vegetable oils like canola, sunflower, and safflower for butter, lard, or shortening while cooking or at the table to lower LDL.
7. Apples, grapes, strawberries, and citrus fruits:

These fruits are rich in pectin, a type of soluble fiber that lowers LDL.
8. Foods fortified with sterols and stanols: Sterols and stanols extracted from plants impede the body’s ability to absorb cholesterol from food. Many companies are now adding them to products ranging from margarine and granola bars to orange juice and chocolate. Supplements are also available. Consuming 2 grams of plant sterols or stanols per day can lower LDL cholesterol by about 10%.
9. Soy:


Although not as powerful as previously thought, eating soybeans and soy-based products like tofu and soy milk can lower LDL by about 5% to 6% if consuming 25 grams of soy protein per day (equivalent to 10 ounces of tofu or 2 1/2 cups of soy milk).
10. Fatty fish:

Eating fish two or three times a week can lower LDL in two ways: by replacing meat, which has LDL-boosting saturated fats, and by delivering LDL-lowering omega-3 fats. Omega-3s also protect the heart by reducing triglycerides in the bloodstream and preventing abnormal heart rhythms.
11. Fiber supplements: Although the least appealing option, supplements can provide soluble fiber. Two teaspoons of psyllium, found in Metamucil and other bulk-forming laxatives, contain about 4 grams of soluble fiber.

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