Foods that Help Lower Cholesterol to Add to Your Diet

What are some foods that help lower cholesterol?

In Western society, high cholesterol is an issue for many people. Although cholesterol plays many necessary roles within the body, when it is present in excess, it is thought to significantly contribute to atherosclerosis (the hardening of the arteries due to buildup).

Because heart disease is an issue of epic proportions, and atherosclerosis contributes fundamentally to it and a number of other serious problems, individuals with high cholesterol should take the diagnosis seriously and make expedient changes to lower their cholesterol.

When people say "high cholesterol" in general conversation, this refers to excess LDL, or "bad cholesterol" in the body. LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein, and is often used in testing for its ability to indicate the presence or possibility of cardiovascular disease. Generally, high cholesterol foods (those that elevate LDL) are those that come from animals, such as eggs, meat, poultry, fish, and full fat dairy products.

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A note about Foods that Help Lower Cholesterol to Add to Your Diet

In natural health and healing, we believe in holistic health and healing, as we realize that different parts of the human body are highly interlinked, often beyond Man's understanding. We also believe that the body has the ability to heal itself of any disease, even supposedly incurable diseases.

In order to do so, the body needs the support of some basic dietary and lifestyle good health habits, such as a full body detox and a proper understanding and application of nutrition. No matter how remote or unrelated a health condition may seem, these fundamental health steps will greatly magnify the effects and benefits of any of our health-promoting efforts, including the use of specific natural health remedies.

Conversely, another type of cholesterol that is discussed fairly often is HDL, or high-density lipoprotein. HDL is also known as "good cholesterol" or "healthy cholesterol" and is usually not what people are referring to when discussing 'cholesterol' colloquially. It is thought that HDL can actually reverse the effects of LDL to a certain extent, and it has many benefits - from protecting against cardiovascular disease to lowering the risk for numerous other diseases.

One of the main ways to effect change in terms of your cholesterol is through diet. A number of foods have been known to contribute to lower cholesterol (LDL) numbers. Here are some foods that help lower cholesterol.

  • Oatmeal was one of the first foods endorsed by the FDA as foods that help lower cholesterol. It is important to note that instant oatmeal does not have the same health benefits as "old-fashioned", slow-cooked oatmeal. The recommended portion is at least 3/4 of a cup, and adding blueberries, almonds, or flaxseed can further maximize its health benefits by upping the fiber content, the "good fat" content, and the antioxidant level.

  • Cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel provide a great deal of omega-3 essential fatty acids, and are also foods that help lower cholesterol. This group of compounds is known to reduce the risk of blood clots, and the American Heart Association recommends eating cold-water fish at least two-to-three times each week. Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in nuts, pumpkin and sesame seeds, and dark green, leafy vegetables.

    Although frying is arguably the least healthy way to cook something, if you must fry the fish, you should do so in olive oil, as most other substances will provide saturated fat, thereby counteracting the beneficial (cholesterol-lowering) properties of the fish. (Note: This is one school of thought. Another school of thought is that only virgin coconut oil is heat stable and suitable for cooking with.)

  • Avocadoes are very high in fat, but have recently been touted as a "superfood" due to the fact that they provide a mega-dose of healthy fat. Unsaturated fat, as opposed to saturated fat, protects against many diseases. Avocadoes have also been proven to be among foods that help lower cholesterol levels and improve the presence of good cholesterol in the body. An added bonus of avocadoes is that they are truly decadent, and many call them "nature's butter" because of their rich taste - try using avocado as a spread on toast, in guacamole, or instead of butter on corn or other vegetables.

  • In general, foods that help lower cholesterol are foods that we intuitively know are healthy foods, and are not associated with animals. Apples provide antioxidants and fiber, both of which contribute to lowering cholesterol levels in the body.

  • Although all vegetables make good nutritional choices, dark, leafy greens are especially beneficial, as their high vitamin content and fiber make them foods that help lower cholesterol. Some to try are: kale, chard, spinach, and even some darker lettuces.

  • Legumes have rather remarkable health benefits, and lowering cholesterol is only one of them - they are also an excellent source of protein, and are extremely satiating foods. Try adding these foods that help lower cholesterol to soups, stews, chili, and casseroles - and be sure to watch canned versions for excessive sodium content.

  • Blueberries are not only amazingly tasty, but they are believed to lower the risk of certain cancers, and contain a compound that fights cholesterol.

  • Although a bit high in calories (and fat), almonds and walnuts are high in good fat, and their combination of protein and fat makes them highly satisfying. They are also known to be foods that help lower cholesterol.

  • Flax seed contains high amounts of omega-3 essential fatty acids - great for lowering cholesterol. Additionally, flax seed is very tasty, adding an interesting nutty flavor to smoothies, salads, or baked goods. Flax seeds' high fiber content also makes them contribute to feelings of fullness and digestive health.

If you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, your first step should be to examine your lifestyle choices, and evaluate ways that you can lower your cholesterol. In many ways, medicating high cholesterol is "putting a band aid" on the problem, rather than fully addressing it.

It is important to realize that insufficient exercise, excess weight, and diet contribute to high cholesterol. However, simple changes, such as incorporating these foods that help lower cholesterol into your diet, can make a significant difference to your cholesterol levels. Making good decisions about your cholesterol levels can help to ensure that your future is healthy and disease free.

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