It’s no secret that certain foods can help you lower your LDL (“bad” cholesterol), which causes a buildup of plaque in the arteries that leads to heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke. But what may surprise you is that many of these foods are delicious and easy to incorporate into your everyday meals without sacrificing flavor or fun.
Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, antioxidants that help lower LDL levels. Just make sure to eat in moderation, as chocolate is also high in saturated fat and sugar. You can also use dark, unsweetened cocoa powder in your cooking to get similar heart-healthy effects.
The avocados give you oleic acid, which helps lower the bad cholesterol in your bloodstream. Try putting a few slices on your turkey sandwich, or add them to a salad.
3. Tea Time
Both black and green teas contain powerful antioxidants that may reduce cholesterol levels. Be careful not to add cream and sugar.
Nuts are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, almonds, walnuts, or pistachios can help reduce your LDL levels. Try sprinkling them on your salad, or eat them right out of hand as a snack. Just be sure to choose the low-salt option, and keep it to about 1.5 ounces a day -- nuts are also high in calories. For almonds, that’s about 30 almonds or 1/3 cup.
5. Whole Grains
Barley, oatmeal and brown rice have lots of soluble fiber, which has been proven to lower LDL cholesterol by reducing the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. Try switching out your regular pasta for the whole-grain version, or use brown rice instead of white. To give an added cholesterol-busting kick, top your morning oatmeal with high-fiber fruit like bananas or apples.
Fish like salmon, albacore tuna, sardines, and halibut are all rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce triglycerides in the blood. Try to eat eight ounces of baked or grilled fish a week instead of fried one.
7. Olive Oil
Olive oil is a plant-based fat, so it's a better choice when you're trying to lower your "bad" cholesterol.
Edamame, soy milk, and tofu are high in protein, and eating just 25 grams a day can reduce your cholesterol by 5 to 6 percent.
Black beans, kidney beans, lentils… All are rich in soluble fiber, which binds to cholesterol in the blood and moves it out of the body. Recent studies show eating 4.5 ounces of beans a day can reduce LDL levels by 5 percent.
Pears and apples have a lot of pectin, which is a type of fiber that can lower cholesterol. So do citrus fruits like oranges and lemons. Berries are also high in fiber.
Most vegetables are high in fiber and low in calories. Eggplant and okra contain high amounts of soluble fiber. Eggplants are also high in antioxidants. But any kind of vegetables will give you fiber and nutrients that are good for you.