11 Foods That Can Lower Your Cholesterol

These days, diet and exercise seem to be the two activities that take up most peoples’ time outside of work, and yet amazingly many people are still struggling with maintaining a healthy weight and making it to the gym on a regular basis. This has to do, in part, because nutrition and health bear so many components, it can be very easy to overlook or even forget to consider some aspects of your diet that ultimately have a huge effect on your overall health. One such aspect that people still struggle with maintaining is a healthy cholesterol level.

Cholesterol is an important part of your diet, but having too high a blood-cholesterol level can contribute to your risk factor for developing heart disease and other cardiovascular issues, including hypertension. Maintaining a healthy cholesterol level, however, is not altogether that difficult, it just takes some healthy eating choices along with a regularly maintained exercise regimen. So in order to start lowering your cholesterol level today, here are eleven food options for you to add to your diet today.

1. Apples

You know the saying: ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’. Along with all of the added health benefits of eating fruit, apples (and pears) contain a high level of soluble fiber, which is key for lowering your LDL (low-density lipoprotein) level and promoting healthy blood-cholesterol levels.

2. Orange Juice

Orange juice is really an all-around miracle drink. It is loaded with vitamins (particularly C but also Complex A and B vitamins), potassium, and magnesium and helps strengthen your immune system by promoting a health white blood cell count. It is also believed to have a long-term effect in promoting healthy cholesterol levels, so if you are not already drinking it with breakfast, today might be the day to start.

3. Oats

Like apples, oats contain a specific soluble fiber known as beta-glucan, which works to absorb LDL in the blood and then excrete it from the body, promoting a much healthier cholesterol level. Try switching out cereal for a bowl of oatmeal in the morning. To make a more exciting meal, try adding some applesauce and a touch of sugar to your bowl of oats, and have a piece of cinnamon toast to go with your orange juice.

4. Mixed Nuts (almonds and walnuts)

Mixed nuts, particularly almonds and walnuts, are a great daytime snack for maintaining a healthy cholesterol level. Almonds and walnuts are both packed with monounsaturated fatty acids that reduce inflammation in your blood vessels and aid in lowering cholesterol levels. They both also contain vitamin E and B-complex vitamins that assist in this process, and combined are estimated to reduce your cholesterol level by up to 35%, if eaten on a regular basis.

5. Beans

Dry beans like black beans and kidney beans are very high in fiber, protein, minerals, and B-complex vitamins. Fiber is known to reduce the rate of absorption of cholesterol from food, and adding beans to your daily diet can lower your overall level by up to 8%, so the next time you visit Chipotle (at your own risk), be sure to add some beans to your bowl or burrito.

6. Spinach

Spinach contains a high amount of lutein, which aids in preventing macular degeneration and promoting a healthy blood-cholesterol level. Lutein works to break down cholesterol buildup in the bloodstream, preventing life-threatening clots and promoting a healthy blood pressure level.

7. Tea

Tea has always been well known as a rich source of antioxidants, but recent research also suggests that it can lower your LDL cholesterol level. Black tea, in particular, has been shown to do this in several studies, which also contributes to its ability to lower your risk of developing coronary heart disease.

8. Salmon

Salmon (and fish in general) contains high levels of proteins and minerals, but salmon and tuna are also packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which help to maintain a healthy cholesterol level in your bloodstream. Unlike red meat, fish also contains a lower level of saturated fat, making it ideal for both dieting and getting healthy.

9. Red Wine

The general rule of thumb when it comes to wine and food has always been red with meat and white with fish (give or take a few exceptions to the rules), so if you decide to go with salmon or tuna, I would suggest a white wine or some other beverage. Red wine, however, particularly those made with tempranillo red grapes (which are high in fiber), has been known to significantly reduce LDL levels in your blood, making it the perfect addition to a steak dinner.

10. Garlic

Adding some garlic to your meal can go a long way in adding flavor to it, but garlic has more to offer than just good taste. Garlic is known to assist your immune system in fighting infectious agents. It also reduces your overall blood pressure level by preventing the formation of blood clots and stopping plague buildup at an early stage.

11. Dark Chocolate

Unlike most of the items on our list that are dedicated to lowering your blood LDL levels, dark chocolate is known to promote a healthy cholesterol level by increasing your HDL (high-density lipoprotein) levels. It also contains three times as many antioxidants as milk chocolate, which helps prevent blood platelets from becoming clogged along your artery walls, causing blood clots.

There are many fine and delicious ways to maintain your blood cholesterol level. Coupled with diet and exercise, these eleven food options offer the perfect tools for getting started and for keeping your cholesterol at a healthy level. So what are you waiting for? Take a run to the grocery store, and start living your new cholesterol-healthy lifestyle today.