If you’ve watched television at all lately, you’ve probably seen at least one commercial for a cholesterol lowering drug. Unfortunately millions of people around the world take statins to help lower their cholesterol, generating billions or may be trillion for the drug companies that manufacture these pills.
British Medical Journal stated that statins were being over prescribed to people at low risk of developing heart disease and that side effects were more severe than previously believed.
According to some studies, over 39% of people in UK have high cholesterol. Dietary adjustments are the first step in the treatment, and can lower blood cholesterol by 10 to 15%. A too high “bad” cholesterol level is often the result of an unbalanced lifestyle or eating habits. Eating well and exercising can certainly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
While it’s easy to take a pill to bring down your cholesterol, there are foods that can help too – without the bothersome side effects often caused by pharmaceuticals. If you’ve got high cholesterol, consider adding some of these foods to your diet.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a member of the lipid family. It can be provided by the diet or produced endogenously by the body. Although an excess of cholesterol is bad for your health, it is nonetheless essential for the proper functioning of the body.
Your body controls how much cholesterol should you have in your blood. There are different types of cholesterol. LDL cholesterol (Low Density Lipoprotein) contributes to plaque buildup and hence they are known as bad cholesterol. Whereas HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) recovers the cholesterol and brings it back to the liver to be recycled and eliminated (in the form of bile acids), hence its name ‘good cholesterol’.
Before we get into the details, let’s be clear about what we’re talking about. For years, cholesterol has had a bad reputation that it doesn’t really deserve. The truth is that we need cholesterol to function. Your body makes most of the cholesterol it needs. The rest comes from the food you eat.
Here’s the important thing to know: dietary cholesterol, found in meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products, has less impact on raising your blood cholesterol. Foods that are high in saturated fat are the real culprits.
Keeping your diet simple
Over the past two decades, the rules of healthy eating have changed. Highly restrictive diets are no longer viable and are not the healthiest choice. Rather than focusing on a single nutrient, nutrition research shows that the quality of your diet is what matters most.
If you’ve got high cholesterol, consider adding some of these foods to your diet:
10 Foods to Lower Cholesterol
Oats have been shown to effectively lower cholesterol in a short period of time. The effectiveness of oats is due to the beta-glucan that absorbs bad cholesterol and excretes it from the body.
Nuts keep making the list of good foods to have in your diet. Eating a handful of nuts a day has been shown to lower bad cholesterol by up to 10%. Almonds, walnuts, and cashews are all great, heart-healthy choices.
The fiber content in beans helps slow the absorption of cholesterol and remove it from the body. Black, pinto, kidney, and red beans are all great sources of fiber and can potentially lower your cholesterol up to 8%. Try this easy to make heart-healthy Black Bean Soup.
Avocado has been shown to help lower bad cholesterol while raising good cholesterol. While this may not change your overall cholesterol number, your heart will know the difference. Try my favorite Guacamole recipe for a dose of healthy fat!
Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants that can help lower cholesterol. They are great to throw into a smoothie, eat by the handful for a snack, or toss some on your oatmeal in the morning.
6. Olive oil.
Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which are good for your heart. You only need about 2 tablespoons per day so it’s easy to switch out with other oils you may use.
Researchers believe that the lycopene in tomatoes inhibits the production of bad cholesterol while simultaneously breaking down artery-clogging fat. Enjoying your favorite marina sauce or a handful of cherry tomatoes is a great way to get the heart-healthy benefits. Try this beautiful Spinach Tomato Salad.
Another food that has so many great benefits. The flavonoids contained in dark chocolate help lower cholesterol. But not just any chocolate will do, look for at least 70% cocoa.
Fish contains lots of heart-healthy omega-3s. Adding fish to your diet a couple of times a week is a great way to get the benefit of these heart-healthy fats. This Glazed Salmon is one of my favorite recipes.
Adding as little as a half clove of garlic to your diet each day can help lower your bad cholesterol. Garlic is great paired with other cholesterol-fighting foods like olive oil, tomatoes and fish so add more of it to your favorite recipes.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long does it take to lower cholesterol?
Every person is different, as well as the cause of high cholesterol. Especially since we must not forget that our body makes its own cholesterol. A few lifestyle and diet changes can make it easier to lower cholesterol over time. Although there is no quick fix, some people notice improvements within weeks.
Which foods should be avoided if I have high cholesterol?
There are not many foods that should be avoided altogether when considering the direct intake of cholesterol. “Indeed for most people, even eating several eggs a week does not seem to be a risk factor. The studies seem to be fairly consistent on this point. Only the person with diabetes should try to avoid foods rich in cholesterol. For most people foods rich in cholesterol are therefore no longer a problem in themselves.
Which meat is the most high in cholesterol?
Liver, which is a lean meat is high in cholesterol. It is low in saturated fat, high in vitamins and mineral such as iron, zinc, copper, and vitamins B, D.