Heart disorders are affecting a majority of the population worldwide. The primary cause of heart disorders is unbalanced cholesterol levels in the blood.
Generally, the body contains two types of cholesterol, i.e., low-density or bad cholesterol and high-density or good cholesterol.
The LDL or bad cholesterol may accumulate fat in the bloodstream, interrupting blood flow. But, HDL or good cholesterol could help remove harmful cholesterol via the liver.
Hence, you may observe that a decrease in LDL and an increase in HDL would create the required balance. In addition, you could go with naturally produced food items and may as well stay away from some foods to avoid high cholesterol.
Having said all that, this article will list some of the useful food items to lower cholesterol.
11 Foods To Lower Cholesterol
Beans And Lentils
Beans and lentils are one of the best natural medicines to lower blood cholesterol levels. These seed-like veggies are highly fibrous, with various vitamins and minerals essential to stay healthy.
The vital nutritional content of beans and lentils may help to avoid the risks of developing heart problems. The study has revealed that beans and lentils may reduce the LDL cholesterol level by 5% after a few weeks of regular consumption.
Several studies also stated that these veggies primarily benefit men’s LDL cholesterol, as they may have higher cholesterol due to a poor diet.
Hence, these legumes could be a potential replacement for several high saturated fat-containing or high-glycemic foods like red meat, cheese, white rice, etc.
Eggplant is preferably a great pick to lower blood cholesterol levels. The vegetable is one of the richest sources of dietary fiber, i.e., up to 3 gm fiber in 100 gm of eggplant.
It is a low-fat-containing food with several bioactive compounds helpful to keep bad cholesterol levels low. Moreover, a particular compound, saponins, could help balance the LDL and HDL levels in the bloodstream.
Researchers have conducted several surveys to review the impact of eggplant on bad cholesterol levels. The surveys have shown that people consuming eggplant often may lower their LDL levels by up to 30%.
Hence, the vegetable may help avoid the risk of several chronic and fatal disorders like heart attacks, strokes, type-2 diabetes, etc.
Generally, you might be eating nuts like almonds and walnuts to improve brain functioning. But, you aren’t aware that these densely packed, nutritious food may help you balance your blood cholesterol levels.
The nuts contain phytosterols, a compound structurally similar to cholesterol. The compound could help restrict the absorption of bad cholesterol by the intestines, lowering their level in the blood.
Moreover, the nuts also contain monounsaturated fats, which may help reduce the risk of heart diseases.
Among nuts, walnuts and almonds could be the best natural remedy for blood cholesterol problems. Walnuts contain a polyunsaturated fat compound, a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid that may help keep the heart-healthy.
On the other hand, almonds contain L-arginine, which enhances the production of nitric oxide, responsible for dilating the blood vessels.
Oats And Barley
Oats and barley are superb food items to include in the diet. Several studies have mentioned that consuming oats and barley multiple times a day has significantly lowered the chances of developing heart diseases.
Oats and barley contain a high amount of fiber, carbohydrates, healthy fat, essential vitamins, and minerals to lower blood cholesterol levels.
Moreover, they also have a few plant compounds that may help keep the heart-healthy. Generally, oats and barley contain a soluble fiber called beta-glucan that may lower cholesterol.
A deeper analysis has shown that oats and barley may reduce overall cholesterol levels by 5%. But, it may reduce the bad cholesterol or LDL level by up to 7% in the blood.
Butter and refined oil used to cook food contain a high amount of saturated fat, which could be highly responsible for the increased bad cholesterol levels in the blood.
High cholesterol may impact heart health; hence, the consumption of these oils should be avoided. Vegetable oils like sunflower oil, olive oil, etc., are an excellent replacement for high-fat-containing oils.
These vegetable oils contain an essential compound, linoleic acid, which may help lower blood cholesterol. The compound is present in almost all vegetable oils but different concentrations.
For example, sunflower oil contains a high level of linoleic acid. On the other hand, olive oil may have a lower concentration of linoleic acid.
Hence, you should replace refined oil with vegetable oil to improve your cholesterol and overall heart health.
Apple is one of the excellent low sugar fruits with multiple medicinal values; hence, doctors highly recommend its consumption. One apple may contain up to 3-8 gm of dietary fibers as per their size.
Additionally, apples contain various bioactive compounds, vitamins, and minerals that may be responsible for keeping cholesterol levels low.
The government study has suggested that people consuming one or two apples a day have shown a significant drop in their bad and overall cholesterol levels.
Moreover, it may help reduce triglycerides, a fat molecule in the bloodstream. It has been revealed that the reduction in cholesterol levels could be due to a compound called polyphenols.
The compound may help to improve the function of the inner linings of the heart and blood vessels that positively impact the cholesterol level.
You may add multiple soy products like soybeans, tofu, soy milk, etc., to your diet to improve your overall cholesterol level.
Some surveys have reported that people who consume soy products in their meals may observe a drop in their bad cholesterol levels by up to 3%.
The soy products may be less effective for improving cholesterol levels, but they may add-on to improving heart health. Soy products are rich in proteins, fibers, omega-3 fatty acids, and other essential nutrients.
Additionally, these food items are cholesterol-free with low saturated fat content. Hence, you may opt for them as an alternative option to meat and other foods containing saturated fat.
Dark chocolates are great for improving the overall health of an individual. The high cocoa content of dark chocolate contains several antioxidants, especially flavonoids, that may protect against several heart diseases.
Short-term consumption of dark chocolate has shown a significant drop in total and bad cholesterol levels in the blood. But, it would be best if you consider less processed and high cocoa-containing chocolates to avail of the benefits.
Dark chocolates with greater cocoa content may have higher polyphenol concentrations. The compound could help increase the high-density lipoprotein or good cholesterol levels.
Moreover, dark chocolates are low in saturated fat, hence, they are an adequate food to consume occasionally to balance cholesterol levels.
Herbs are being used as a natural remedy for several health conditions. Herbal tea contains several essential antioxidants and natural caffeine that may help to fight against free radicals.
Additionally, herbal tea has several important micro and macronutrients that may keep the heart healthy. The strength of antioxidants primarily depends on the herb and processing of the tea.
Generally, hibiscus tea contains the highest antioxidants; hence, it could be a valuable beverage to lower cholesterol.
Green tea is another commonly preferred herbal beverage that has been extensively used to reduce LDL or bad cholesterol levels.
Similarly, ginger tea and redbush tea may considerably contribute to lowering the cholesterol level in the blood.
Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, trout, herring, etc., could play a helpful role in improving the blood cholesterol level and heart health.
These fishes primarily contain healthy or good fat, i.e., omega-3 fatty acids. Moreover, they barely have bad saturated food that may affect their cholesterol level.
It is believed that the omega-3 fatty acid content in fatty acids may help lower the triglyceride concentration in the blood. Moreover, the fatty acid could also help prevent the growth of plaques in arteries and inflammatory reactions in the body.
Furthermore, the Food and Drug Administration has approved omega-3 fatty acids as a natural way to reduce the risks of coronary heart diseases.
But, you should avoid deep-frying the fish to keep the nutritional values intact.
Allium sativum or garlic is one of the most advantageous foods people consume in their diet. Garlic contains a unique compound called allicin, which could help kill growing bacteria and fungi in the body.
But, it could be a potential remedy to lower bad cholesterol. Multiple pieces of research and this study have mentioned that garlic has shown cholesterol-lowering effects.
People consuming up to one gram of garlic daily may observe a significant drop in their cholesterol levels. It is believed that the decline may depend on the quantity of garlic consumed.
But, the decrease in cholesterol level would be temporary, hence, it could not be considered for long-term effects.
The food items mentioned above may help you lower your blood cholesterol levels. But, they might bring a small change individually, hence, you must mix up multiple food items to observe a significant difference in cholesterol level.
For example, you may consider oats and soy meal together or fatty fish fried in vegetable oil to get the best benefits. But, before adding or changing your diet, you should consult a dietitian or healthcare specialist to get the best advice.
Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.
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Otella has an experience of around eight years of writing about health and nutrition-related topics. She is a full-time mother and a housewife, and the time she has left after doing her mother and household duties is spent writing for Working for Health as a full-time writer. Her life goal is to raise both her boys into a gentleman, and at the same time, she wants to educate people on how to keep themselves fit by tweaking their daily diet.