High LDL cholesterol results in arterial plaque buildup, which can contribute to heart attacks, strokes, and cardiovascular disease. Luckily, there are many foods that can help keep bad cholesterol under control. Below are some of the most effective foods that anyone can add to their diet in order to reduce LDL cholesterol without sacrificing flavorful, enjoyable meals.Whole Grains:
Unlike processed or refined grain products, whole grains contain high amounts of fiber. This fiber reduces the rate at which your body absorbs cholesterol into the bloodstream, meaning that a diet high in whole grains can significantly lower LDL cholesterol. Most food companies offer whole grain alternatives to popular products such as cereal, bread, tortillas, and oatmeal, making it easy to incorporate whole grains into any diet.
Beans are a healthy and inexpensive source of soluble fiber, which binds to cholesterol and removes it from the body. Research shows that eating just a single serving of beans each day can reduce LDL cholesterol levels by roughly 5%. Beans are a versatile ingredient that can be added to almost any meal, making them an ideal choice for anyone who wants to take charge of their cholesterol.
Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, an essential nutrient that the human body cannot produce on its own. These fatty acids reduce blood triglyceride levels and lower blood pressure. For best results, consider grilling or broiling salmon rather than frying it. Fish oil capsules are another option for those that dislike the taste of fish but want to take advantage of its health benefits.
In addition to containing omega-3 fatty acids, the polyunsaturated fats contained in walnuts and other nuts contributes directly to lower LDL cholesterol and healthier arteries. If possible, look for unsalted or lightly salted nuts. Because nuts are relatively high in calories, they are probably best eaten as a snack. A single handful each day is enough to help lower your cholesterol.
Olive oil is one of the healthiest cooking oil options when trying to lower bad cholesterol. Many other oils, such as canola oil, vegetable oil, and peanut oil, contain high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, which can cause inflammation when consumed in large amounts. Olive oil also makes an ideal dressing for salads, especially when combined with other healthy ingredients like garlic or red wine vinegar.
Fresh fruit is contains a large amount of pectin, a form of fiber that helps reduce cholesterol. The fiber in fruit is largely contained in the skin and flesh, so make an effort to eat your fruit whole instead of juicing it. Apples, bananas, berries, and citrus fruits are some of the best sources of pectin.
Soy products such as tofu, soy milk, and edamame are high in plant-based protein, which studies suggest can help lower LDL cholesterol by as much as 6%. While lean meats are also high in protein, animal fats can have a negative effect on cholesterol levels.
The bottom line is that diet can have a tremendous effect on cholesterol levels. By incorporating some of the foods above into your daily meals, anyone can increase their intake of the fiber and nutrients necessary to keep LDL cholesterol under control.