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30 Foods That Help Fight High Cholesterol Levels

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.

Chocolate

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%

Garlic

Eating three cloves of garlic daily can do wonders for your health, including lowering cholesterol, stopping blood clots, normalizing blood pressure, fighting infection, and promoting unclogged arteries. 

Beans

Beans are high in fiber and make a great addition to a low-cholesterol diet, especially black, pinto, and kidney varieties. In some cases, they can slow the rate at which cholesterol is absorbed by the body.

Oats

If your diet contains two servings of oats a day, you may be able to lower your LDL cholesterol by more than 5% in a little over a month. Oats contain beta-glucan, a substance that absorbs LDL cholesterol, making them a great addition to any meal. 

Margarine

Low-fat margarine products contain plant sterols, and these can help lower your LDL cholesterol by up to 4% when consumed regularly. 

Green Tea

Green tea is a healthy alternative to soda, sports drinks, and other high-sugar beverages. Some studies have shown that it contains compounds which may help lower LDL cholesterol levels.

Olive Oil

Instead of using oil that's high in saturated fats, like canola or coconut, try olive oil instead. It's full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids that help to lower LDL cholesterol levels. 

Salmon

Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce your risk for heart disease and dementia, among other things. Additionally, this nutrient, which can be found in salmon, has been shown to raise HDL, or "good," cholesterol levels by about 5%.

Almonds

A first full of almonds has 9 grams of monounsaturated fats. These healthy fats have been proven to decrease LDL cholesterol by nearly 10%. Almonds also have vitamin E on the skin to further halt the growth of cholesterol in the arteries.

Avocados

Along with being healthy in vitamins and minerals, avocados are a great addition to any healthy diet. When eaten on a regular basis, eating avocados can lower your LDL levels by around 8% depending on your diet. 

Brown Rice

Brown rice has lots of soluble fiber, but it can also lower your LDL cholesterol levels. Studies showed that eating 16 grams of brown rice can lower LDL cholesterol while also aiding in digestion. 

Kale

Kale has been labeled a superfood, but there’s a reason for that. On top of being rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin C, it also binds to bile which can lower LDL cholesterol over time. You can even incorporate it into green smoothies to get more of it into your system if you aren’t a fan of the taste.

Whey Protein

Studies have shown that adding whey protein to your diet could lower both LDL and total cholesterol in your body. One study had individuals consume 54 grams of whey protein per day for 12 weeks and saw a significant reduction in LDL cholesterol.

Walnuts

Walnuts are composed of polyunsaturated fats and have tons of alpha-linolenic acid. These are plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, meaning they can naturally decrease LDL cholesterol levels by as much as 15%. Walnut oil is also a fantastic way to reap the benefits without eating the nut alone.

Albacore Tuna

If salmon isn’t your thing, you can grab yourself some albacore tuna. Also high in omega-3 fatty acids, this fish can lower your LDL cholesterol when you eat at least two 3.5-ounce servings weekly. Canned tuna still contains omega-3 fatty acids, but fresh tuna has significantly more.

Soy

Vegans rejoice! Soy milk and tofu are high in protein and can reduce LDL cholesterol by 5 to 6%. You’ll have to eat 25 grams, but it can be pretty easy when you start snacking on edamame or adding tofu to your dishes.

Apples

Studies have shown that apples and apple juice can help inhibit the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which is the fancy way of saying apples can stop buildup in your arteries. Eating just one small apple per day can give you a gram of fiber and help decrease your overall cholesterol.

Barley

Cooking barley may be unfamiliar, but it’s one of the healthiest grains you can purchase. Multiple studies have found that barley can lower cholesterol as long as you consume half a cup per day. Pearled barley is the most common type, but hulled barley has even higher fiber levels.

Flaxseed

If you don’t like fish, flaxseed is a great alternative. This seed is high in omega-3 fats, which can reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Studies are limited, but one report suggests that adding the seeds can lower cholesterol by as much as 10%. They’re also high in fiber and easy to add to most morning shakes.

Spinach

Spinach can almost be considered a superfood. It is high in vitamins and minerals, but can also help make your LDL cholesterol drop. The lutein protects your arteries from accumulation, so the cholesterol is whisked away before it has the chance to stick. Eating a half a cup per day is the best way to get these benefits.

Chlorella

Chlorella is a green alga that comes in the form of powder. It’s best added to smoothies, but you can include it in nearly anything. Studies show that chlorella can decrease your total cholesterol by 1.6%, lower triglycerides by 10.3%, and decrease LDL cholesterol by 11%. 

Grapes

Grapes are delicious and good for you. This fruit has a soluble fiber called pectin that reduces the absorption of cholesterol. It also helps remove LDL from the body before it has a chance to stick to your arteries. Further studies are needed to examine how many grapes are needed, but eating some wouldn’t hurt.

Eggplants

Eggplants are low-calorie and can help decrease your blood pressure. They can also help reduce your LDL cholesterol as much as 30%! Now that’s a significant amount. It soaks up bile acids, which is a contributing factor to increasing LDL cholesterol levels.

Black Tea

Green tea is delicious, but black tea can also be fantastic for your body. It’s rich in antioxidants and can help reduce LDL cholesterol by as much as 16%. To get these effects just drink one cup three times a day for 12 weeks. 

Cranberry Extract Supplements

Cranberries are great for your kidneys, but they can also benefit your arteries. They contain phytochemicals that are known to reduce inflammation while also decreasing cholesterol. Rather than drinking a ton of juice, you can take 500 mg three times daily. After 12 weeks, a study found that this can significantly reduce LDL cholesterol.

Okra

Okra is another vegetable that contains phytosterols, which can help decrease cholesterol levels. It also has low fat levels, which means it can also reduce your triglyceride levels. Steaming okra is the best way to prepare it since frying it in butter or lard could counteract the benefits.

Tomatoes

Whether fresh, sundried, or crushed in a sauce, tomatoes are great for you. They can cut the risk of heart disease by up to 30% and decrease LDL cholesterol by as much as 10%. Just eat about a half a cup of tomatoes each day.

Asparagus

Most people either love or hate asparagus, but everyone can love the health benefits. Asparagus binds to bile acids and can reduce LDL cholesterol. Rather than sautéing these veggies, make sure to steam them in order to get the full benefits.

Blueberries

Blueberries are a nutritious superfood, so it makes sense they can help clear your arteries. These berries support the liver so the organ can focus on removing more LDL cholesterol. Plus, you can eat them fresh, frozen, or freeze-dried and get the same effect.