1. Whole grains and oats – a five-year Insulin Resistance Athersclerosis Study showed that people whose diets contain the most whole grains “had the thinnest carotid artery walls and showed the slowest progression in artery wall thickness.”
2. Blueberries – a compound in blueberries (pterostilbene) may help lower cholesterol as effectively as commercial drugs with fewer side effects.
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3. Pistachios, 4. Walnuts, and 5. Almonds – a Penn State study showed that eating pistachios significantly lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology showed eating walnuts after a high-fat meal might protect your heart. Omega-3 fats and antioxidants in nuts work to reverse the arterial damage caused by saturated fats.
6. Avocados, 7. Olives, and 8. Olive oil – 26 of the 30 grams of fat in an avocado are heart-healthy, unsaturated fats that can increase your levels of HDL cholesterol. The good fats in avocados, olives, and olive oil protect against heart disease and diabetes. Check out the Mediterranean Diet.
9. Flaxseed oil – flaxseed oil can lower blood pressure in men with high cholesterol. In a three-month study of 59 middle-aged men, those who took daily flaxseed oil supplements (with eight grams of the omega-3 fats, alpha-linoleic acid) experienced significantly lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
10. 100% cranberry-grape juice – antioxidants in grape juice slow down LDL cholesterol oxidation, and cranberry juice raises HDL or “good” cholesterol.
11. Fish and Fish oil – a study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology found that people with type 2 diabetes who consumed high doses of fish oil over nine weeks lowered the size and concentration of several lipoprotein subclasses (cholesterol) in their bodies.
12. Black soybeans – a study from the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture shows that black soybeans may help prevent obesity, lower LDL cholesterol, and reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes.
13. Pomegranate juice – a National Academy of Sciences study showed that pomegranate juice reduces cholesterol plaque buildup and increases nitric oxide production (nitric oxide helps reduce arterial plaque).
14. Yogurt with live active cultures (probiotics) – Vicki Koenig, MS, RD, CDN said “several studies have shown that the probiotics Lactobacillus Acidophilus and Lactobacillus Reuteri actually help lower cholesterol. They work by preventing the reabsorption of cholesterol back in to the blood stream.”
You might be a person who is predisposed to high cholesterol, or maybe your diet could use a shape-up. Here are a few key points on cholesterol that I try to focus on:
- LDL or “bad” cholesterol deposits itself on the walls of your arteries, forming plaques that make them hard and narrow. HDL or “good” cholesterol removes excess LDL in your blood and brings it to your liver for disposal. The more HDL you consume, the less LDL you’ll have in your blood.
- You may need medication to help reduce your cholesterol, but eating a heart-healthy diet and getting exercise are very important.
- Everyone should have their cholesterol checked-it doesn’t matter if you are young/old, female/male, or thin/overweight.