Cholesterol is a kind of fat made by the liver. It is also present in some of the foods that we eat. There are two types of cholesterol, good cholesterol and bad cholesterol (LDL). An increased LDL level raises your risk of heart disease and stroke. There are some cholesterol-lowering foods that boost good cholesterol (HDL). Some of these are:
Legumes also known as pulses include beans, peas, and lentils. It can lower LDL levels in the body. Legumes contain a lot of fiber, minerals, and protein and replacing refined grains and processed red meat in your diet with legumes will lower your cholesterol level.
One of the cholesterol-lowering foods, avocados are a rich source of monosaturated fats and fiber. Avocados help lower LDL and increase HDL. Clinical studies have shown that avocados have cholesterol-lowering effects.
Nuts especially walnuts and almonds are rich in cholesterol-lowering fats and fiber as well as minerals and have long been known as one of the cholesterol-lowering foods.
Fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel contain omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 increases HDL and lowers inflammation and stroke risk.
Oats and barley
Whole grains such as oats and barley contain beta-glucans, a soluble fiber that lowers LDL.
Fruits and berries
Many fruits are rich in soluble fiber that lowers cholesterol levels. They also contain fiber and antioxidants that help to lower LDL. Fruits such as apples, grapes, citrus fruits, and strawberries contain pectin which is very beneficial for overall health.
Dark chocolate and cocoa
Flavonoids in dark chocolate and cocoa can lower LDL and boost the levels of good HDL cholesterol. Cocoa also helps lower blood pressure.
Garlic has been used to treat multiple conditions since ancient times. Allicin and other plant compounds present in garlic make it one of the essential cholesterol-lowering foods.
Vegetables are very important for a healthy heart. They contain fiber and antioxidants and are low in calories. Some vegetables such as okra, eggplant, carrot, and potatoes contain pectin which lowers LDL.
While green tea is popular for its antioxidant properties, white tea and black tea also have health benefits. It contains catechins that inhibit cholesterol synthesis and absorption and can prevent blood clots. It also contains quercetin that improves blood vessel function and lowers inflammation.
Dark leafy vegetables
Dark leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach contain carotenoids that are good for the heart. Carotenoids act as antioxidants to get rid of free radicals which can lead to hardened arteries. Dark leafy vegetables help lower cholesterol levels by binding the bile acids that make your body secrete more cholesterol.
Extra virgin olive oil
Olive oil is high in monosaturated fatty acids and antioxidants that help raise HDL and lower the LDL.
High cholesterol levels can cause heart diseases. Incorporate these cholesterol-lowering foods in your diet to stay healthy and active.