Here are 17 food which reduces cholesterol and improves other risk factors for heart disease. As of now Heart disease is the world’s leading cause of death.
And having a high cholesterol level – especially “bad” LDL – is linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
What is cholesterol?
Well, cholesterol is a fatty substance that is produced naturally by your liver and found in your blood.
Cholesterol is required for many different reasons from building cells or to make vitamins and other hormones in your body.
However, it can become a problem when there is too much of it in your blood.
In Fact, there are two sources of cholesterol. First, your liver makes all the cholesterol you need and the other comes from foods from animals products.
It has two main types:
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL)– This is often known as ‘bad’ cholesterol. because it can add to the build-up of plaque (fatty deposits) in your arteries and increase your risk of coronary heart disease.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL)– is often referred to as ‘good’ cholesterol because it can help to protect you against coronary heart disease.
What is high cholesterol And What causes high cholesterol?
As cholesterol doesn’t dissolve in water, it can’t travel through the body by itself so particles known as lipoproteins help transport cholesterol through the bloodstream.
If you are eating too many foods that contain high amounts of fat, which in turn increases the level of LDL cholesterol in your blood.
This increased level of LDL cholesterol in your blood is known as high cholesterol, also called hypercholesterolemia or hyperlipidemia.
Typically, high cholesterol doesn’t cause any symptoms. In most cases, it causes emergency events. For example, a heart attack or stroke can be the result of the damage caused by high cholesterol.
Some causes of high cholesterol are. . .
Low intake of foods containing.
High intake of foods containing unhealthy fats
Low intake of foods containing fiber.
Cholesterol in food (dietary cholesterol)
Genetics – your family history may also affect your cholesterol level
What are the warning signs of high cholesterol?
As high cholesterol does not show noticeable symptoms, ask your doctor if you should have a cholesterol test.
If you have a family history of high cholesterol or if you demonstrate the following risk factors:
have high blood pressure
if you are overweight
if you smoke.
What are the treatments for high cholesterol?
The treatments for high cholesterol are lifestyle changes and medicines. The lifestyle changes include healthy eating, this food which reduces cholesterol, weight management, and regular physical activity.
Lifestyle changes to improve your cholesterol.
1. Eat heart-healthy foods
2. Exercise regularly and increase your physical activity level.
3. Quit smoking
4. Lose weight
5. Limit alcohol
6. Limit foods with cholesterol.
7.Eat plenty of soluble fiber
17 food which reduces cholesterol
Now, Your diet plays a crucial role in how healthy your cholesterol levels are. Eating food which reduces cholesterol in a healthy range can help prevent health issues, including a heart attack or even stroke.
1. Dark Leafy Greens: food which reduces cholesterol
Well, all vegetables are good for your heart, but dark leafy greens are particularly beneficial.
Dark leafy greens vegetables, such as kale and spinach, contain lutein and other carotenoids, which are linked to a lower risk of heart disease.
Moreover, carotenoids act as antioxidants to get rid of harmful free radicals which can lead to hardened arteries.
Green leafy vegetables may also help lower cholesterol levels by binding to bile acids and making your body excrete more cholesterol.
Additionally, one study suggested that lutein lowers levels of oxidized “bad” LDL cholesterol and could be helpful in preventing cholesterol from binding to artery walls.
2. Pectin-rich vegetables(eggplants, okra, carrots)
As all vegetables are a vital part of a heart-healthy diet. Because they are rich in fiber and antioxidants and are relatively low in calories, which is necessary for maintaining a healthy weight.
Pectin is a cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber and some vegetables are high in pectin. Vegetables such as eggplants, okra(lady’s fingers), and carrots are rich in pectin.
Avocados pack a powerful punch of both fiber and monounsaturated fats. These nutrients battle against bad cholesterol, ultimately making you healthier.
Additionally, according to a study focused on obese adults with dangerously high LDL those who ate avocados experienced a greater decrease in LDL than those who didn’t.
In another analysis of 10 studies determined that substituting avocados for other fats was linked to lower total cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides.
Oats consumption significantly improved blood cholesterol levels over a period of 4 weeks in a small 2017 study. Subjects with mildly elevated cholesterol levels ate 70 g of oats per day in the form of porridge. Which provided them with 3 g of soluble fiber per day, the amount that is needed to lower cholesterol, according to research.
The Study team found that the participants’ LDL cholesterol levels fell by 11.6% in 28 days.
Additionally, other research confirms that the soluble fiber in oats lowers LDL cholesterol levels and can improve cardiovascular risk as part of a heart-healthy diet.
Oats: Contain beta-glucan, a
type of soluble fiber that helps lower cholesterol and eating oats may lower total cholesterol
and “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Barley is a highly healthy grain that is rich in vitamins and minerals and high in fiber.
According to a 2018 study beta-glucan, a type of soluble dietary fiber found in barley, as well as oats, can help lower LDL cholesterol.
Additionally, a 2020 recent study shed more light on how this happens. The study team found that beta-glucan reduces LDL cholesterol by trapping bile acids and limiting how much cholesterol the body absorbs during digestion.
The body uses its cholesterol to produce bile acids, replacing those that are trapped, which leads to an overall reduction in cholesterol levels.
Moreover, beta-glucan in barley also has a positive effect on the gut microbiome and blood glucose control, further benefiting heart health.
Legumes, or pulses, are a group of plant foods that include beans, peas, and lentils. Additionally, legumes contain a lot of fiber, minerals, and protein. Moreover, replacing some refined grains and processed meats in your diet with legumes can lower your risk of heart disease.
Studies link pulses to weight loss — even in diets that do not restrict calories.
Moreover, a review of 26 randomized controlled studies showed that eating a 1/2 cup (100 grams) of legumes per day is effective at lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol by an average of 6.6 mg/dl, compared to not eating legumes.
7. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish, like salmon and mackerel, are excellent sources of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.
Moreover, Omega-3s bolster heart health by increasing “good” HDL cholesterol and lowering inflammation and stroke risk.
In one large, 25-year study in adults, those that ate the foremost non-fried fish were the smallest amount likely to develop metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms that has high vital signs and low “good” HDL levels
In another large study in older adults, those that ate tuna or other baked or broiled fish a minimum of once every week had a 27% lower risk of stroke
Keep in mind that the healthiest ways to cook fish are steaming or stewing. In fact, fried fish may increase your risk of a heart condition and stroke
Fish may be a major part of the Mediterranean diet, which has been extensively studied for its benefits on heart health
Additionally, Some of the heart-protective benefits of fish can also come from certain peptides found in fish protein.
According to a small 2019 study among 40 participants with mildly high cholesterol, eating two apples a day reduced both total and LDL cholesterol levels.
It has also lowered levels of triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood.
One medium-size apple can contain 3–7 g of dietary fiber, depending on its size.
In addition, apples contain compounds called polyphenols, which may also have a positive impact on cholesterol levels.
All fruits are an excellent addition to a heart-healthy diet for several reasons.
Garlic has been used for centuries as an ingredient in cooking and as a medicine due to its high healing power.
Moreover, researchers have found that garlic can help regulate serum cholesterol levels.
It contains a number of powerful plant compounds, including allicin, its main active compound.
Additionally, studies suggest that garlic lowers blood pressure in people with elevated levels and may help lower total and “bad” LDL cholesterol — although the latter effect is less strong.
Because relatively large amounts of garlic are needed to achieve this heart-protective effect, many studies utilize aged supplements — which are considered more effective than other garlic preparations.
10. Green tea
Green tea contains antioxidants called catechins which can be very beneficial to health.
Additionally, in a 2020 study, it is found that green tea consumption significantly improved cholesterol levels, reducing both total and LDL cholesterol levels without lowering HDL cholesterol levels.
However, the researchers call for further studies to confirm their findings.
11. Soy Foods
Well, soybeans are a type of legume that may be beneficial for heart health. And soy products include tofu, soy milk, soybeans, and edamame beans.
Additionally, some evidence shows that regularly eating soy products can help to slightly reduce ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
Additionally, An analysis of 35 studies linked that soy foods to reduce “bad” LDL and total cholesterol, as well as increase “good” HDL cholesterol.
12. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Well, extra virgin olive oil is one of the most important foods in the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet and one of the best food which reduces cholesterol.
Moreover, the olive oil group had a 30% lower risk of major heart events, such as stroke and heart attack, compared to people who followed a low-fat diet.
Olive oil is a very rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids, the kind that may help raise “good” HDL and lower “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Additionally, it is also a source of polyphenols, some of which reduce the inflammation that can drive heart disease.
One of the excellent sources of fiber and many other nutrients is kale. a cup of boiled kale contains approximately 4.7g of fiber.
It is also a rich source of antioxidants, which are good for the heart and help reduce inflammation.
14. Cocoa and Dark chocolate
As cocoa is the main ingredient in dark chocolate. And, It may seem too good to be true, but research verifies the claims that dark chocolate and cocoa can lower “bad” LDL cholesterol.
However, generally chocolate is often high in added sugar — which negatively affects heart health. So, you are advised to use cocoa alone or choose dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 75–85% or higher.
As, nuts are a good source of unsaturated fats, which can help lower LDL cholesterol levels, especially when they replace saturated fats in the diet.
Nuts provide phytosterols also. Moreover, these plant compounds are structurally similar to cholesterol and help lower cholesterol by blocking its absorption in your intestines.
Additionally, these are also rich in fiber, which helps keep the body from absorbing cholesterol and promotes its excretion.
Walnuts are very rich in the plant variety of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat associated with heart health.
Additionally, having a daily serving of nuts is linked to a 28% lower risk of both fatal and nonfatal heart disease.
some heart-healthy, cholesterol-lowering, food which reduces cholesterol includes:
- Brazil nuts
Well, beans are especially rich in soluble fiber. They also take a while for the body to digest, which means you feel full for longer after a meal.
That’s one strong reason beans are a useful food for folks trying to lose weight.
Moreover, With so many choices — from navy and kidney beans to lentils, garbanzos, black-eyed peas, and beyond — and so many ways to prepare them, beans are a very versatile food.
Strawberries are rich in soluble fiber called pectin that can lower cholesterol by up to 10%.
Berries and other fruit contains bioactive compounds that help prevent heart disease and other chronic diseases due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Additionally, eating berries and grapes, which are particularly rich sources of these plant compounds, can help increase “good” HDL and lower “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Some Healthy eating tips to lower cholesterol
Limit your salty, fatty and sugary snack foods to once every week (these include crisps, cakes, pastries, biscuits, lollies, and chocolate).
- Eat many vegetables – aim for five servings of vegetables a day.
- Try choosing wholegrain breads, cereal, pasta, rice and noodles.
- Aim on snack on plain, unsalted nuts and fresh fruit (ideally two serves of fruit every day).
- Include legumes (or pulses) – like chickpeas, lentils, split peas), beans (such as haricot beans, kidney beans, baked beans three-bean mix) into a minimum of two meals every week .
- Check food labels and choose rock bottom sodium (salt) products.
- Use spreads and margarines made up of healthy unsaturated fats ( like canola, sunflower or extra virgin olive oil) rather than those made with saturated fat (such as butter, copra oil and cream).
- Always use healthy oils for cooking – some include canola, sunflower, soybean, olive (extra virgin may be a good choice), sesame and peanut oils.
- Use salad dressings and mayonnaise made up of oils – like canola, sunflower, soybean, olive (especially extra virgin).
- Include 2 or 3 serves of plant-sterol-enriched foods a day (for example, plant-sterol-enriched margarine, yoghurt, milk and bread).
- Have 2 to three portions (150 grams each) of oily fish hebdomadally . Fish could also be fresh, frozen or canned.
- Include up to 7 eggs hebdomadally .
- Select lean meat (meat trimmed of fat, and poultry without skin) and limit unprocessed meat to but 350g per week.
- Always, choose reduced fat, no added sugar milk, yoghurt, food and drinks.
- Limit or avoid processed meats including sausages and deli meats.
- Limit takeaway foods to once every week (such as pastries, pies, pizza, hot chips, fried fish, hamburgers and creamy pasta dishes).
Trying this ‘food which reduces cholesterol’ for keeping LDL cholesterol levels low is important, as it decreases the risk of heart disease and stroke. As, high cholesterol levels are a major risk factor for heart disease.
Additionally, it’s important to focus on the quality of your overall diet. A diet rich in this ‘ food which reduces cholesterol will help to manage your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease.