Like all things in life, cholesterol comes with good and bad. For instance, high-density lipoprotein (or HDL) cholesterol is considered “good” because it aids the absorption of cholesterol and transports it via the liver where it’s eliminated by the body. This is why high levels of HDL cholesterol helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and heart attack. On the other hand, high levels of low-density lipoprotein (or LDL) cholesterol is considered “bad” as this waxy substance increases triglycerides in the blood, thus increasing the overall risk of heart disease, stroke, and heart attack.
While increased LDL cholesterol is considered the most powerful indicator of future cardiovascular disease, the ability to reduce high LDL levels can be aided by certain foods, including:
Oats of all kinds (i.e., oatmeal, oatbran, etc.) has long been deemed a cholesterol fighting ally among nutritionists who tout it for it’s bounty of slow digesting soluble fiber, which aids the absorption of cholesterol and elimination via the bloodstream and liver. Oats also contain a ton of plant stanols, and high stanol foods are often recommended for patients with high cholesterol.
2. Nuts and seeds
Reach for natural unsalted peanuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts, almonds, soy nuts, and walnuts for a hunger-satisfying snack and a great way to lower LDL “bad” cholesterol levels. Seeds are also a great food for reducing LDL levels as both nuts and seeds of all kinds (i.e., sunflower, pumpkin, chia, flax seeds, etc.) are loaded with plant sterols, which aid the absorption and elimination of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides from the body.
3. Beans and legumes
You’ve heard it before! Beans, beans are good for your heart, the more you eat (the less LDL cholesterol you have)…All jokes aside, beans and legumes (i.e., chickpeas, lentils, black beans, navy beans, kidney beans, etc.) are chock full of soluble fiber, which slows digestion, which means you stay full longer after consuming them. Beans and legumes also aid healthy weight management because of this satiating power.
Oranges and citrus fruits of all kinds are beneficial to patients with high cholesterol because of a specific type of soluble fiber, known as pectin, within. In fact, you can find plenty of pectin in all types of citrus (i.e., grapefruit, tangelos, limes, lemons, and blood oranges, etc.). And it’s pectin that helps reduce overall LDL cholesterol in the blood and body storage.