Your diet is going to be the biggest cause of your cholesterol readings. Good diet = good cholesterol. Bad diet = …
Well, you don’t need me to spell it out for you, do you?
If you need to keep your cholesterol down, here are 10 of the best foods to eat:
(Note: egg yolks will not be included.)
I’m starting off with the best news first!
Chocolate, (more specifically, dark chocolate), is great at lowering your cholesterol. It’s full of “flavonoids”, which are classified as antioxidants, which seriously lower your cholesterol.
It’s also got oleic acid, which is a mono-unsaturated fat that keeps your heart healthy (and is found in olive oil – spoiler for later on in the list!)
It’s easy to eat too much dark chocolate, so remember to limit your intake to 1 oz per day, and only eat dark chocolate with 70% cocoa or more.
2. Pinto Beans
Chalk this one up as another food that’s high in soluble fiber. If you’re going to be making something with beans in it (like a burrito or some chili), try pinto beans next time.
A study found that people who ate a half cup of pinto beans a day were able to lower their cholesterol by 8% – the same amount as the orange juice study.
Just remember to wash off the extra sodium from the canned variety, and you’ll be all set.
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3. Orange Juice
OJ already has a reputation as a healthy food – and for good reason.
If you can look past the large amounts of sugar (because it is a fruit juice after all), it contains lots of vitamins that keep you healthy.
In addition, it also contains compounds known as phytosterols, which have been shown in scientific studies to help reduce ldl levels by 8% (when you drink 16 oz of orange juice a day).
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4. Olive Oil
If you’re looking for a more nutritionally valuable oil, you’re going to be hard pressed to find one.
That’s because olive oil has tons of antioxidants, as well as monounsaturated fats that are healthy for your heart and will decrease ldl levels while raising hdl levels. (Remember: ldl = bad, hdl = good).
Scientists recently did a study of subjects with high cholesterol, and found that the risk of blood clotting is reduced for subjects who just 2 hours beforehand ate a meal with olive oil.
The reason for that is that olive oil contains phenolics, which is a substance that makes it harder for blood to clot.
5. Steamed Asparagus
Why steamed? Why not seared?
Well, scientists have shown that steaming some vegetables actually makes them more effective at lowering ldl cholesterol.
Asparagus is one of the top performers, as well as geren beans, beets, eggplant, cauliflower, carrots, and okra. By steaming them you’re actually forcing your liver to use up more ldl cholesterol in order to digest them, which means lower ldl levels in your bloodstream.
If you want to lower your cholesterol, almonds should be one of the first places you turn.
They come jam packed with healthy fats that increase your levels of hdl (the good kind of cholesterol) while lowering your ldl (the bad kind of cholesterol).
PLUS, they can play a role in preventing ldl from oxidizing. That’s a good thing. Why?
Well, oxidized ldl is the culprit for gunking up your arteries and constricting your blood flow. So any food that prevents it from oxidizing is one that you want in your diet.
Remember to eat almonds in moderation though. A few a day is fine, eating them by the handful is going to spike your caloric intake.
Everyone’s talking about how blueberries are a superfood, and with good reason. They’re jam packed with stuff that helps keep your body healthy.
But what about your cholesterol?
Well, they clear out your arteries of harmful clogging ldl cholesterol. Scientists think it’s because blueberries help your liver out a ton – which helps keep your bloodstream ldl clear.
All foods with lycopene are going to help your ldl cholesterol levels go down, and tomatoes are one of the best sources of lycopene in the supermarket today.
Researchers have found that incorporating much more lycopene into your diet can help lower ldl cholesterol levels by as much as 10%.
In order to get an effective amount of lycopene, shoot for 25 milligrams a day. If we’re talking about that much in terms of tomato sauce, we’re looking at a half cup.
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There’s a reason parents love telling their kids to eat oatmeal. It’s because it’s good for you.
Well, oatmeal is going to give you a ton of soluble fiber – which prevents cholesterol from being absorbed into your bloodstream.
That’s great for your body – plus the fiber in whole grain oatmeal really helps keep you regular and happy. Try to eat between 5 and 10 grams of soluble fiber in a day and you’ll be smiling.
Avocados are great for lowering ldl levels because of a familiar culprit: mono-unsaturated fats.
These heart healthy fats will lower your ldl levels and your triglycerides and keep your hdl levels strong.
Oh, and did I mention that avocados are delicious? If you didn’t know that, you’ve been seriously missing out. Make some guacamole and chow down, knowing that you’re helping to keep your cholesterol levels down.
The Best Foods That Lower Cholesterol
- Pinto beans
- Orange juice
- Olive oil
- Steamed asparagus