There are lots of foods that can lower you cholesterol. One of them is oatmeal. Oatmeal contains soluble fiber, which lowers your low-density lipoprotein (LDL). We commonly refer to low-density lipoprotein as the “bad” cholesterol.
You can find soluble fibers in other foods too, such as apples, barley, prunes, and kidney beans. But let us back up to the oatmeal for a second. Oatmeal is really flexible and can be used in various ways in your diet. You can cook it for breakfast ala microwave with added fruits (I love to add bananas or blueberries). Adding fruits adds more fiber to your meal.
Another food that can lower your cholesterol is fatty fish because it is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which reduce blood pressure and the risk of blood clots. The American Heart Association suggests eating two servings of fish a week to maintain a healthy cholesterol level. So, what kinds of fish do you want to eat to get the most omega 3 fatty acids? Well: lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, halibut, mackerel, and salmon.
It is advised to grill or bake the fish to avoid adding unwanted unhealthy fats. If you are like me and you do not eat fish, canola oil or ground flaxseed works, too.
Almonds, walnuts, and other nuts can lower the blood cholesterol. They are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which help keep blood vessels healthy. Eating a handful of most nuts can also reduce your risk of heart disease. The thing to look out for is that they are not salted or coated with sugar because that then adds on more calories. Speaking of calories, all nuts are really high in calories, so make sure you take a handful, not too much. You can sprinkle them on your salad. I like adding them to my morning oatmeal. It varies the texture and adds more nutrients to my breakfast.
Olive oil is another food item that has a good mix of antioxidants that can lower your bad cholesterol and leave your good cholesterol unchanged. Extra virgin olive oil is even better because it is less processed and has more healthy antioxidants. One thing the fat loss factor diet suggests is to try adding 2 tablespoons of olive oil daily instead of other fats. You can sauté vegetables in it, add it to a salad dressing, add it to a marinade. You can even use olive oil to substitute butter when basting meat. You can use it as a dip for bread instead of butter.
Other foods that lower cholesterol levels are strawberries, apples, grapes, and citrus fruits, which are rich in pectin, a soluble fiber that lowers bad cholesterol.
Sterols and Stanols: both of these elements are extracted from plants. They help our bodies absorb cholesterol from food better. These two elements tend to be added as fortification to foods but they are available as supplements, too, so you can just buy them in pill form.
The other food item to consider for lowering your cholesterol level is soy. Soybeans and foods made from soy (like soy milk or tofu) can lower bad cholesterol levels a little bit.
You have to be careful with the food you have in your diet. You want to make sure you are eating enough foods that lower the bad cholesterol levels, but also you need to make sure you are increasing your good cholesterol levels. It is a balancing act. You want to make sure that you are eating enough healthy food items so that your body lowers the bad cholesterol levels and raises its good cholesterol levels.