If you are one of the many reading this and feel it’s too late to do anything about your high cholesterol, think again, it’s never too late.
There are things you can do today by asking yourself “what foods help lower cholesterol” in your local grocery store.
People are worried about their high cholesterol and for many years been watching it climb slowly but steadily upwards to their discouragement, thinking it is too late.
The biggest takeaway from a Dr’s visit is what they pretty much have known all along but have been reluctant to do, a better diet and more exercise.
If your cholesterol is creeping upward, it is most likely because of your food choices and less because of your parents, which many feel their poor health is due to their inherited genes.
A closely monitored study in 2012 involving hundreds of women and men found that simple daily changes in one’s diet reduced LDL (the bad cholesterol) and total cholesterol while exercise alone had little to no effect on either. (1)
With that said, aerobic exercise will only enhance the effects and set you up for an accelerated pace towards healing.
Let’s look at what foods help lower cholesterol:
- Whole and multi-grain such as bran and oats.
- Nuts, specifically walnuts, and almonds.
- Fruits and veggies rich in antioxidants.
- Antioxidant foods such as all fruits and vegetables.
- If you eat fish, choose fatty fishes, such as mackerel, albacore tuna, and salmon.
A closer look:
How oatmeal helps lower cholesterol:
Oatmeal is the best food source for a heart healthy breakfast because it is full of the soluble fiber, and we know that soluble fiber lowers the LDL, the “bad cholesterol.”
When your body digests fiber, the fiber itself becomes ‘sticky’ which some researchers believe ‘sticks’ to the bad cholesterol and stops it from absorbing into your body. Instead, your body only gets rid of it as waste. (2)
How nuts help lower cholesterol:
I know many people think nuts are not good for cholesterol or overall health.
There are those people who are allergic to nuts, but if you are not one of those, nuts can be incredibly healthy for you.
Here is a list of nuts that are good for you.
- pine nuts
Walnuts are a huge staple in our home, not only because we love the taste but for all its high-quality nourishment, too.
Walnuts have high levels of the good fatty acid, omega-3 while other nuts do not.
We are a family of vegetarians, so we need to find our fatty acids, our omega-3’s from someplace, and walnuts are it.
Omega-3 fatty acids help lower levels of triglycerides which are a type of fat in our bloodstreams.
Researchers are still not exactly sure how this is done, but they have found the omega-3 fatty acid to slow down the growth of plaque in our arteries and therefore helps prevent blood clots.
A 2004 study of 58 adults with diabetes monitored the effects of consuming a handful of walnuts daily alongside a healthy diet.
It was found that on average, those who consumed walnuts had a significant increase in their “good cholesterol” the HDL as well as a drop in their “bad cholesterol” the LDL of up to 10 percent.
These results were significant enough to have the study published in the Diabetes Care journal. (3)
What vegetables help lower cholesterol:
OKRA: low in calories and loaded with soluble fiber making it an excellent source for lowering LDL (the bad cholesterol)
EGGPLANT: a low-caloric veggie containing insoluble fiber making it an excellent source for a heart healthy diet.
CABBAGE: not only excellent in helping maintain a healthy cholesterol level but also known to pack a huge antioxidant punch.
CARROTS: carrots are an excellent source of beta-carotene as well a big in antioxidants.
These are just a few named vegetables that are high in soluble fiber which we know helps contribute to lowering the LDL, the bad cholesterol, in our diets.
* When using vegetable oils, use sunflower or safflower instead of butter, shortening or lard.
Using the right oil for your cooking needs will also help contribute to helping lower the LDL.
If you are not used to cooking without butter, shortening or lard, it is a good idea to begin.
Butter, shortening, and lard is extremely high in causing a weak environment for LDL.
What fruits help lower cholesterol:
BLUEBERRIES: the high fiber in blueberries helps lower the LDL, “bad cholesterol” in our blood.
Not only do Blueberries contain fiber but also potassium, vitamin C, folate, B6, and phytonutrients, making these berries a powerful antioxidant, cholesterol-lowering food.
TOMATOES, which by the way is a fruit, not a vegetable.
Most people think a tomato is a vegetable.
A good way to remember which is a fruit or a vegetable is to ask yourself if the food has seeds or not.
* If there are seeds it is a fruit.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene which are known to fight the accumulation of cholesterol in our arteries.
The level of lycopene is highest when tomatoes are cooked.
GRAPES: grapes contain quercetin, mostly found in black grapes.
Quercetin is used for treating atherosclerosis, the hardening of arteries, and lowering your LDL (bad cholesterol.)
AVOCADOS: the avocado is the only fruit that has monounsaturated fat.
Research has proven that healthy fats are essential to our overall health and good fats also help lower bad cholesterol levels.
APPLES: research has shown the apple, which contains polyphenols, to inhibit the oxidation of LDL (bad cholesterol)
LDL oxidation leads to plaque build-up in your arteries which will then lead to a higher cholesterol count.
* Recent research suggests apple pectin, the first layer under the skin binds to cholesterol in the intestines which then carries it out as waste.
Cholesterol, in and of itself, is not a bad thing, in fact, cholesterol is a naturally occurring substance which our bodies produce.
Seventy-five percent is produced in our blood while the other twenty-five percent is found in the food that we eat.
Cholesterol is only found in animal products and animal by-products.
The problem arises when we become out of balance with our diet, which leads to out of control cholesterol, creating an environment for heart disease, stroke, and heart attack.
Where is cholesterol manufactured in the body?
The liver manufactures cholesterol, and Statin drugs, such as Crestor and Lipitor, help reduce cholesterol effectively by blocking the enzyme needed to create it.
The problem with statin drugs is the damage they can cause on the liver.
People who are taking Statin drugs must have their blood checked regularly to be sure their liver is not becoming inflamed or irritated.
One of the largest organs in the body, the liver can remain functional if only fifty percent of it maintains its integrity, however, ongoing drug use can cause the liver to inflame and break down.
If your doctor wants to check your liver enzymes, this may indicate your blood test came back with a questionable result.
Taking Statin drugs can result in having your enzymes checked if your liver is showing any signs of stress.
Here are some terms you need to know:
HDL Cholesterol: HDL ( high-density lipoprotein) is the “good cholesterol” this is the cholesterol which helps your body remove the bad cholesterol from your arteries.
LDL Cholesterol: LDL ( low-density lipoprotein) is the “bad cholesterol” this is the cholesterol which tends to get sticky and remain inside your arteries.
Omega-3 fatty acids: A polyunsaturated fat found in some vegetables and fish, (soybean, walnuts, canola oil, salmon to name a few)
Dietary fiber: this is the part of a plant that your body cannot digest. When consumed regularly, fibers such as psyllium, oats, and pectin reduces LDL cholesterol.
Plant sterol helps lower the bad cholesterol significantly and can be found in plant foods. Plant sterols are isolated from the soybean and the pine tree.