Selecting foods that lower LDL cholesterol is not difficult, provided you know what you are looking for. And this article will provide you exactly with those foods.
As a general rule remember that unhealthy foods increase your LDL or “bad” cholesterol. Unhealthy eating habits include eating a lot of junk food, food enriched with saturated fats or trans fats. These are known to shoot up your LDL cholesterol.
NOTE. The classification below is for convenience and not in order of priority.
It is well established fact now that walnuts can significantly reduce your blood levels of bad cholesterol. This is an excellent food that lower LDL Cholesterol. Walnuts contain polyunsaturated fatty acids and have excellent properties to keep your blood vessels healthy and elastic.
Similarly almonds have shown to have similar effect.
Start eating handful (43 grams) of nuts including almonds, peanuts, pecans, hazelnuts, pistachio nuts and other nuts will reduce your “bad” cholesterol and also reduce your risk of having heart disease and stroke.
As all nuts are high in calories, you should not eat more than a handful of them. Eating more will cause weight gain which is also an important risk factor for heart disease. To avoid this you can easily replace foods high in saturated fats with nuts. You can replace cheese or meat with a handful of walnuts and almonds to avoid weight gain.
Oatmeal has also been used as one of the foods to lower LDL cholesterol. Oatmeal contains soluble fiber which reduces LDL or the “bad cholesterol”. Kidney beans, apples, pears, barley, and prunes are rich in soluble fibers.
Soluble fibers lower your LDL or “bad’ cholesterol levels by reducing the absorption of LDL cholesterol in your intestines.
Add about 10 grams of soluble fibers in your daily diet. If you eat 1 ½ cups of cooked oatmeal provides your about 6 grams of fiber.
You can add fruits like bananas which are also an excellent source of fibers.
Some fish contains high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids which will also help you reduce your “bad cholesterol”. Omega-3 fatty acids have other heart protecting properties like they reduce blood pressure and risk of blood clot formation. If someone with heart disease starts adding omega-3 fatty acids in diet, it will significantly reduce the risk of sudden death due to heart attack.
So how much fish you need to maintain healthy cholesterol levels? Well…add at least two servings of fish a week including lake trout, mackerel, sardines, tuna, and salmon. They contain high levels of omega-3.
Don’t overcook your fish rather baking or grilling it will keep the omega-3 fatty acids in active form. You can also take omega-3 or fish oil supplements to help you reduce your cholesterol levels.
Olive oil has been used for centuries as a food that lowers LDL cholesterol and is known for its extraordinary health friendly properties. Olive oil contains a powerful mixture of anti-oxidants known to help reduce your LDL or “bad” cholesterol.
The recommendations are that you should add about 2 tablespoons (23 gm) of olive oil in your daily diet. To ensure you get the right olive oil, always go for extra-virgin olive oil.
Foods containing “plant sterols” help in reducing the risk of heart diseases. Plant sterols are group of chemicals naturally occurring in plants. Plant sterols are found in vegetable oils, corn oil, soybean oil and sea buckthorn oil in smaller quantities.
About 25% to 35% calories should be obtained from fats on daily basis. However, one need to avoid saturated fats or trans fats as these fats are not healthy and can raise your “bad cholesterol” if taken regularly.
Good fat source will be those with unsaturated fats as these fats are good for your health as they lower down LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels. You can have nuts and fish products to add unsaturated fats in your LDL diet.
Remove refined sugars from your diet as much as possible as they are completely unhealthy. Instead eat more complex and healthier carbohydrates over refined sugars.
Proteins on the other hand should be source of your daily 15% calories. Sources of proteins are lean meats/poultry, soya bean etc
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