If you are trying to lower your LDL (or "bad") cholesterol by changing your diet, it can be difficult to know which foods are the most helpful.
Though there are plenty of foods that are proven to help lower LDL cholesterol, some are more beneficial than others. Here are some of the best options to incorporate into your diet.
A breakfast that contains at least two servings of oats can potentially lower your LDL cholesterol by more than 5% in only six weeks. This is because oats contain beta-glucan, which absorbs LDL.
2. Red Wine
Recent studies have shown that the high-fiber grapes that are used to make red wine can have a significant effect on cholesterol levels. Depending on how high your cholesterol is beforehand, you could see between a 9% to 12% drop in LDL cholesterol when regularly consuming wine that contains this type of red grape.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce your risk for heart disease, dementia, and several other conditions. Additionally, omega-3, which is found in high doses in fish like salmon, sardines, and herring, is now proven to raise HDL (or "good") cholesterol levels by up to 4%.
Recent studies have shown that just 1.5 ounces of nuts eaten six days a week can lower your LDL cholesterol by almost 10% in just one month. Some specific varieties that are good for this purpose include walnuts, almonds, and cashews. However, despite the health benefits of nuts, they are still very high in calories, so try to keep them limited to about a handful per day.
5. Green Tea
Green tea is a great alternative to sodas and other sugary beverages. This is because it contains cancer-fighting antioxidants as well as compounds that can help lower LDL cholesterol levels.
Beans are very fiber-rich, making them an excellent addition to your diet, especially black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans. Beans are good for your heart because they slow the rate of and amount of absorption of cholesterol in certain foods.
In small doses, chocolate can serve as a powerful antioxidant. Compared to milk chocolate, dark chocolate has three times more antioxidants, which can help keep arteries from clogging, as well as increasing HDL cholesterol levels by up to 24%
Margarine spreads contain plant sterols, which help lower LDL cholesterol, sometimes up to 4%.
Eating two to four fresh cloves of garlic a day can have an abundance of health benefits, including lowering cholesterol, preventing blood clots, reducing blood pressure, protecting against infections, and preventing clogging in the arteries.
10. Olive Oil
Instead of canola or coconut oil (which are high in saturated fats), olive oil is full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, which work to lower LDL cholesterols.