High cholesterol is a condition that occurs when there is too much LDL cholesterol circulating in the blood. If left untreated, this condition may lead to heart disease such as heart attack and stroke.
Fortunately, you may be able to lower the LDL cholesterol numbers if it goes higher and more importantly you can lower it naturally without having to rely on drugs.
One of the best ways to lower LDL cholesterol naturally is to make certain dietary changes. By including some foods below into your diet can really help lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Apples contain pectin, a form of fiber which helps reduce LDL cholesterol. It works by binding the cholesterol and other fats before the body absorbs them. The polyphenols compound found in apples are also shown to lower cholesterol levels.
- Fatty Fish
Fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel, are the excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 is known to help prevent various diseases including heart attack and dementia. Studies also show that Omega-3 helps improve cholesterol levels.
Oats are extremely high in soluble fibers which may help lower LDL cholesterol levels. Research suggests that people who ate about 10 to 20 grams of soluble fibers per day had a 18 percent drop in LDL cholesterol levels.
Beans are high in soluble fiber and thus they can help lower LDL cholesterol. Studies shows that eating beans such as chickpeas, kidney beans, and string beans on a regular basis for six weeks can reduce cholesterol levels by 10 percent.
- Green Tea
Studies showed that people who drank green tea regularly had lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and high HDL (good) cholesterol. It is believed that antioxidants in green tea may be responsible for the reduction of LDL cholesterol. You should drink at least four cups of sugar-free green tea per day to obtain the benefits.
- Olive Oil
Olive oil contains monounsaturated fats which has been proven effective in lowering LDL cholesterol and increasing HDL cholesterol. The Food and Drug Administration recommends using about 2 tbsp (about 24 grams) of olive oil a day to get its cholesterol lowering benefits. For best results, choose extra-virgin varieties as they contains more heart-healthy antioxidants. To add olive oil to your diet, you can mix it with vinegar as a salad dressing or saute vegetables in it.
The high level of monounsaturated fats in avocados decrease your LDL cholesterol and increase your HDL cholesterol, particularly in people with mild high cholesterol. You can enjoy it by slicing avocados into a sandwich and salad or mash it with garlic, lemon juice.
Spinach is loaded with fiber and lutein. According to studies, eating a half cup of spinach daily helps reduce LDL cholesterol levels as well as the risk of heart disease.
Eggplant is also high in soluble fiber that has the ability to bind cholesterol in the blood and draw it out of the body, thereby reducing cholesterol levels.
Soy contains isoflavones which have been known to lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol levels. A study suggests that consuming 25 grams of soy products (about 2 1/2 cups of soy milk or 10 ounces of tofu) a day can lower LDL by 5% to 6%. Among the soy products include soybeans, soy cheese, soy milk, soy nuts, miso, and tofu.
The lycopene present in tomato helps reduce cholesterol by inhibiting the production of LDL and breaking down the artery-clogging blood fat. According to a study involving 21 healthy people those who ate the most tomatoes (1 ounce tomato ketchup and 13.5 ounces tomato juice daily) had 12.9% drop in LDL cholesterol and 5.9% drop in total cholesterol levels.
Broccoli is another food that helps lower cholesterol. Like apples, broccoli also has the soluble fiber that draws cholesterol out of your body. The dark green vegetable can be steamed, grilled or eaten raw. But it is best to eat it raw because cooking might decrease its soluble fiber content.
Blueberries contain powerful antioxidants called pterostilbene and the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that the pterostilbene found in blueberries may lower LDL cholesterol as effectively as a commercial drug but with fewer adverse side effect.
The flavonoids in grapes have been proven to reduce LDL cholesterol and prevent arteries from clogging, thus reducing the risk of heart disease.
Garlic is another powerful cholesterol-lowering diet. The active constituent in garlic (allicin and other sulfur compounds) lowers cholesterol in the blood and prevents the formation of atheriosclerosis. Studies shows that taking one clove of garlic per day will reduce LDL cholesterol significantly.