By now everyone knows that high levels of cholesterol can lead to heart diseases. Our heart has to do extra work to pump blood through cholesterol clogged arteries. This continuous increased activity is very dangerous to us. High level of cholesterol probably means you are overweight as well. Obesity coupled with high cholesterol is a lethal combination. Controlling or lowering your cholesterol level means altering your complete lifestyle, starting with taking a hard look at your diet. If your cholesterol levels are dangerously high your doctor might have already prescribed you with medications and if not he might have asked you to control it with your diet and exercise only.
The good news is that there are a number of natural ways to lower cholesterol. You might have already done some research or come up with foods low in cholesterol, taking up exercise and in your search for ways to lower cholesterol. Did you know there are a number of natural ways to lower your cholesterol? This article gives you a comprehensive list of foods low in cholesterol so you can start your cholesterol lowering diet right away. We know giving up on cheese burgers and pizza would be a little difficult but you don’t have to compromise on taste. There are a number of tasty alternates to choose from foods that help lower cholesterol levels. These foods work well with your cholesterol medication and give a boost to your hdl levels while lowering your ldl levels. Along with including these 20 foods that lower cholesterol naturally make sure you work on the following things too.
- Lose Weight- Excess deposits of fat make all your systems run slow, leading your body to store more fat and cholesterol
- Become Active- A sedentary lifestyle causes lower levels of hdl or the good cholesterol. Whereas, when you increase your activity level your hdl levels increase too. They help in attaining lower ldl levels, which is the bad cholesterol.
Here are 20 foods that lower cholesterol naturally.
This super food has become a favorite breakfast of cardiologist’s world over. Oatmeal is rich in fiber and prominent among foods that help lower cholesterol. They are rich in fiber called beta-glucan. Beta-glucan cuts down ldl levels. It does so by binding the cholesterol in your food, and whenever your body needs energy or cholesterol it draws from your blood cholesterol supply. It is best to go for steal cut oats. You can have your oats in milk or water, whatever you prefer. Flavored oats with cinnamon and fruits are also available. A quarter cup of oatmeal will provide you with approximately 5 grams of fiber. Some more reasons to kick start your day with a bowl of oatmeal:
- Oats take long to digest due to their high levels of fiber. This gives you a feeling of being full for a long time.
- It doesn’t just a cholesterol lowering food but also helps in taking a few inches off your waist.
- Don’t just think oatmeal can be enjoyed for breakfast. You could try oatmeal and raisin cookies or even go for oatmeal energy bars.
The creamy fleshy fruit is not just good for your hair. It turns out avocados are a rich source of unsaturated fats called omega-3 fatty acids. This is something our brain and heart love equally. These unsaturated fats are responsible for augmenting our body’s protein levels and naturally reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes and heart diseases caused by high cholesterol. Avocados taste great on their own, but you could try squeezing a bit of lemon juice and sprinkle some black pepper on it for an added flavor. Some other ways to use avocados
- Instead of mayonnaise try placing slices of avocado in your sandwich
- To harness the goodness of avocados and benefits of onions make homemade guacamole.
- You can also make this super quick avocado smoothie by blending together flesh of one ripe avocado, 2 cups of skimmed milk and add 2 table spoons of honey or brown sugar to this for sweetness.
“High level of cholesterol probably means you are overweight as well. Obesity coupled with high cholesterol is a lethal combination. Controlling or lowering your cholesterol level means altering your complete lifestyle, starting with taking a hard look at your diet.”
18. Olive Oil
Olive oil is a power house of antioxidants. It is amazing for your skin and hair as well. It is rich in mono and polyunsaturated fats. These natural fats help in lowering the low density lipoproteins (ldl) in our blood. No matter how high your cholesterol level, your body needs some fats and oils to function. A study done in England done on people aged 65 and above found out that those who made olive oil a staple part of their diet had 41% less chances of getting a stroke compared to those who never used it.
- When using olive oil for cooking always use extra-virgin olive oil
- Use in salads for dressing
- When using olive oil for cooking remember never to heat the oil too much
- Though it contains good fats, but even these polyunsaturated fats are high in calories so remember to use these oils sparingly.
17. Whole Grains
When it comes to cholesterol lowering foods nothing beats whole grains. Remember in your quest for low cholesterol diet you must replace all white grains in your diet with whole grains. They are a rich source of fiber; the rule of thumb is omitting all white which is starch and replacing it with brown which is fiber. They lower your ldl levels and also manage your blood sugar levels. Whole grain foods are hard to digest, and require more energy to break down thus breaking more fat cells as they digest. The fiber invigorates your metabolism and reduces bloating.
- Cardiologists recommend ingesting at least 5 grams or more of whole grains to lower cholesterol naturally.
- You can choose from whole grain waffles, muffins, crackers, bread and even seasoned popcorns without butter
- Amaranth and quinoa are other great options to reduce the risk of heart diseases caused by atherosclerosis.
16. Brown Rice
Brown rice happens to be another food that lowers cholesterol. It is rich in magnesium and fibers both are good for lowering cholesterol. Magnesium plays a number of vital roles in our bodies. It strengthens our arteries and also gives them elasticity. Sometimes cholesterol deposits make our arteries shrink, making it difficult for the heart to pump blood efficiently to all parts of the body. Magnesium helps is warding off this side effect of high cholesterol. Brown rice is also rich in natural oils which reduce the hdl levels and give a boost to hdl (the good cholesterol) in our body. It is also much lower in starch as compared to white rice.
- If you haven’t tried brown rice before, they taste equally good.
- One downside is that they take a bit longer to cook. You might have to soak them for about an hour and then boil them as regular rice.
- Try brown rice casserole with some vegetables and tuna and drizzle some olive oil on top to give your heart an extra doze of goodness.
Beans are packed with a number of nutrients; minerals such as potassium, vegetable protein, soluble fiber and resistant starches. Now you must remember that all starch is not bad for you. Resistant starch actually wards off the damages of high-cholesterol food such as red meat. This leads to cell proliferation; potassium regulates that and reduces cholesterol levels and blood fat. Potassium also curbs high blood pressure which is often coupled with high cholesterol levels. The protein in them provides you with the necessary energy when you are on a low-cholesterol diet and we have already told you the advantages of fiber.
- You can choose from red or white kidney beans, both are equally beneficial.
- Bean sprouts whether dry or added to different gravies add both flavor and nutrition to your diet.
- You can add beans to your diet by having bean soup, dips, add them to your salads or even make dips.
Fatty fish such as salmon are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. They provide you with the necessary proteins and have high thermogenic effect. Salmon is hard to digest, and burns away 30% of the calories consumed in trying to digest it. Protein is the essential building unit of our body, which otherwise is found in red meat. When going for a low-cholesterol diet you must avoid red meat at all cost and also be a little cautious when having white meat.
- You could have grilled salmon fillets with a very light seasoning of Dijon mustard and a dash of lemon.
- Steamed salmon in herbed lemon sauce tastes just divine as well.
- Having salmon twice a week provides you with enough omega 3 fatty acids to lower your ldl level and heighten the levels of high density lipoproteins.
Tuna and other fatty fish such as trout and mackerel are also rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Making these fish a staple part of your diet reduces the inflammation from arteries and significantly lowers your triglyceride levels. It also increases you hdl levels to a certain extent.
- You can easily make a tuna sandwich by putting some avocados in between bran bread. To add flavor add some salsa or pico and chunks of tuna.
- You can add tuna to your salads and substitute it for chicken in other gravies
- Just be careful when buying tuna and make sure you get it from a reliable source because sometimes the artificially bred fish have very high content of mercury which is quite harmful.
This super food has become a favorite breakfast of cardiologist’s world over. Oatmeal is rich in fiber and prominent among foods that help lower cholesterol. They are rich in fiber called beta-glucan. Beta-glucan cuts down ldl levels.
The stinky garlic does a lot more than just warding off vampires! It is antifungal and antibacterial and the naturally occurring chemical allicin in it can lower cholesterol levels significantly and prevents blood clots from forming. Garlic is also a rich source of sulfur; which gives a boost to immunity and helps in flushing out toxins. Who knew the pungent herb could do so much? No wonder cardiologists recommend taking garlic or garlic supplements daily to all their patients.
- Simmer some garlic cloves in olive oil. Once they soften crush or blend them. This makes a great spread for your sandwiches.
- You can also put garlic cloves in some organic vinegar, add some salt to it and use it in pickle form.
- If you just cannot bring yourself to consume garlic, go for garlic supplement. Make sure you go for the highest potency of allicin you can find. 10,000 units of allicin equals to what is found in 4 cloves of garlic.
Another one of the foods that help lower cholesterol is the pungent onion. Onions help reduce inflammation and give elasticity to your arteries which is very important when you are trying to lower your cholesterol. Onion is a good source of sulfur and packed with flavonoids making it rich in antioxidant properties. Apart from using them in our gravies you can:
- Use shallots and northern reds in fresh salads
- Scallions can be added to burgers and sandwiches anytime.
- Western yellow compliment omelets in a wonderful way.
- You can also add onions to your diet by taking them in pickled form.
- Tip: Though onion rings are completely irresistible but remember since they are deep fried and are coated in batter they are very high in cholesterol so pass them on.
Cinnamon is rich in antioxidant properties. Taking about a teaspoon of cinnamon daily is enough to reduce your ldl levels. It reduces the amount of low-density lipoproteins and triglycerides from your bloodstream. It averts the plaque from building up in your arteries and can lower ldl levels by up to 26 percent. Cinnamon powder is easily available in grocery stores or you could add cinnamon to your diet in the following ways:
- Sprinkle some on your oatmeal or in your coffee. You will love the aroma and the subtle taste of cinnamon
- You could make cinnamon crepes
- Adding cinnamon to your herbal tea is also a great way to lower your cholesterol.
9. Green Tea
Green tea is consumed like water in China. The Chinese have green tea with every meal; this is the prime reason diseases like high cholesterol and high blood pressure are almost non-existent in this region. Green tea is rich in flavonoids which give it its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It has very low caffeine content, but this is just enough to increase your heart rate slightly. It improves your blood circulation, making it easier for the heart to pump blood. It gives a boost to your metabolism and torches away the fat.
- Try to have at least 3-4 cups of green tea as part of your low-cholesterol diet
- Squeeze some lemon and add a teaspoon of honey for added flavor
- You can also add cinnamon and ginger to your tea. Both the herbs are rich in anti-inflammatory properties and are very beneficial for the health of your heart.
8. Orange Juice
Orange juice is a rich source of vitamin C. Vitamin C found in citrus fruits such as orange, lemon and tamarinds helps in lowering cholesterol levels significantly. It also contains antioxidants which help regulate functioning of your blood vessels. It is also a great way to bring down high diastolic (resting) blood pressure. High blood pressure and high cholesterol levels go hand in hand. If you are looking for ways to lowering cholesterol naturally, remember you cannot ignore your blood pressure. You must keep your blood pressure in check as well.
- Have at least 2 glasses of pure orange juice everyday to lower cholesterol naturally
- Remember to only go for natural and unsweetened juice, preferably squeezed from organic oranges.
- Orange juice can also be added to some gravies to give your gravy a tangy flavor.
When we include coffee in those foods that help lower cholesterol, we are not referring to your favorite latte or frappe. They are packed with calories and will not do you any good; in fact, when going on a cholesterol-lowering diet these must be completely avoided. What we are talking about here is black coffee.
- Have 3 to 4 cups of black coffee a day to reduce your cholesterol
- Coffee is a great way to burn fat or cholesterol and up your metabolism
- Since it regulates your digestion it is a great way to lose weight as well.
- Remember to chose coffee which is low in caffeine or decaf or if you can find try having some green coffee.
Snacking a handful of almonds, is one of the best things you can do for your heart. Almonds are a rich source of selenium, fiber, Vitamin E and the healthy monounsaturated fats. They are also packed with natural plant sterols. This encumbers your body’s absorption of cholesterol from high-cholesterol diet.
- When buying almonds, never go for the processed salted almonds. They are packed with preservatives and sodium and may give rise to your blood pressure.
- For an amazing protein milkshake soak 8-10 almonds overnight, when they become soft blend them with some bananas and milk and add some honey for sweetness.
Walnuts are another food to lower cholesterol and especially if you want to know how to lower ldl? Walnuts are the answer. They are a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids known as alpha-linolenic acid. They are best source of monounsaturated fats; these raise the level of hdl (the good type of cholesterol) and reduce the risk of stroke and heart diseases significantly. The natural oils in walnuts can lower your risk of developing atherosclerosis, the shrinking of arteries. Walnuts help in maintaining the health and elasticity of your arteries.
- Snack on a handful of walnut whenever you are hungry instead of processed packaged snacks
- You can add chopped walnuts to your cereals or even toast them slightly for an added flavor.
It turns out avocados are a rich source of unsaturated fats called omega-3 fatty acids. This is something our brain and heart love equally. These unsaturated fats are responsible for augmenting our body’s protein levels and naturally reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes and heart diseases caused by high cholesterol.
Grapes naturally produce flavonoids. This is a great source to fight off platelet clumping or thickening of blood and reverses any free radical damage caused by smoking and other toxins. They are also rich in resveratrol which has the ability to restore collagen. Loss of collagen is also a major cause of hardening of arteries; resveratrol protects the lining of arteries from damage.
- Red and purple grapes are the richest in resveratrol
- Regularly having red grape juice stimulates body’s production of nitric acid. This keeps the blood from clumping and fats to deposit in the lining of our arteries.
- Did you know due to their antioxidant and collagen boosting properties grapes are also super anti-ageing food?
Watermelon is another food which helps in lowering your cholesterol level. Regularly eating watermelon helps in weight loss as it is very low in calories and hence lowers deposits of fatty acids in blood vessels. Researchers believe that it is a chemical called ‘citrulline’, which is present in watermelon juice which prevents heart diseases by lowering blood pressure. A study also revealed that ‘citrulline’ also halves the accumulation level of low-density lipoprotein or ldl levels.
- Watermelon tastes great in fruit salads
- You can have watermelon on its own or make slush of watermelon. It is very refreshing and tasty.
Berries such as cranberries, strawberries and blue berries are all rich in pectin. These little treats are rich in antioxidant properties. The large quantities of pectin which they provide us with binds with water and reduces the absorption of toxins and cholesterol into our blood stream. They are additionally a good source of copper, lutein and vitamins such as C&E which are beneficial for the regular functioning of our heart.
- Snack on of these berries; they make a great midday snack for sudden hunger pangs.
- Add berries to your breakfast cereal
- You can also add them to yogurt or make delicious smoothies.
Apples just like berries are rich in pectin. Other than that they are also a rich source of iron, vitamin A & C and also both soluble and insoluble fiber. The heavy fiber in apples lowers the cholesterol, keeps the arteries from becoming hard; thus protecting your body against heart diseases and strokes. Also the pectin forms a barrier for cholesterol absorption by binding with the water in our body.
- Apples can be snacked on any time of the day.
- Just keep in mind that apple juice does not serve the same purpose as apples do as all the fibrous flesh is discarded when taking out apple juice.
Some More Tips To Lower Cholesterol
- These twenty foods that lower cholesterol naturally give you plenty of options to make changes to your everyday diet without compromising on taste. Here are just a few more tips to complete your game plan on how to lower cholesterol naturally.
- Quit smoking as cigarettes are a major cause of blocked arteries
- Control your alcohol consumption it leads to high blood pressure and eventually high cholesterol
- Don’t stress as high levels of stress lead towards high cholesterol
- Always try to use fresh and natural foods instead of packaged and processed foods. They are loaded with fats, starch and sodium all give rise to high cholesterol
- Control your food portions to lose weight and control your cholesterol levels too.