The Foods To Lower Cholesterol

The Foods to lower Cholesterol

Foods to lower cholesterol

Cholesterol is a type of fat [lipid] that is found in your blood and every cell of your body. It is important to the body because it is used to produce sex hormones [including estrogen, progesterone and testerone], vitamin D and bile acids that help you to digest fat. Without enough cholesterol, you simply couldn’t live. However, you only need a relatively small amount to take care of all these functions. High levels of “bad” cholesterol called Low density Lipoprotein [LDL) in your blood increases your risk of developing coronary heart disease []

In this article I would be discussing foods that you can start to introduce into your diet, that will help to lower your cholesterol levels.


Fish provides a wealth of omega-3 fatty acids [which are “good fats”] that help to protect against heart and circulation problems. They are also thought to reduce the risk of thrombosis [blood clots] and improve the flow of blood through small blood vessels. Therefore, reducing your risk of heart disease. This is achieved in several ways. Most importantly, the presence of omega-3s makes platelets in the blood less likely to clump together and form the clots that lead to cardiovascular disease.

Fish that contain high levels of omega-3 include cold water fish especially cod, tuna, salmon, halibut, shark and mackerel. Other good sources are bluefish, shrimp, flounder, swordfish and herring. Please be aware that despite tuna being rich in vitamin D, vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids, most of the oils are removed during the canning process. So canned tuna is not a great source of omega-3. Canned salmon however is fine.

Salmon on a plate

Studies conducted support the fact that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish can have a beneficial effect on your heart health. There were positive results in both healthy people and in those people with underlying conditions that put them at increased risk of heart attack, stroke or heart disease.

The trial was carried out among 26,000 US men and women aged 50 and older. There was a 28 percent reduced risk of heart attack over a five-year follow-up period. A lower risk of heart attack was found particularly in those who had low fish consumption. Within this group, there was a 19 percent reduction in all major cardiovascular events plus a 40 percent reduction in heart attack. []


Vegetables that are grown in good soil, picked when ripe and eaten while still fresh provide a rich source of minerals. These include potassium, magnesium, calcium and other trace minerals, all of which are beneficial to the heart.

Vegetables contains lots of fibre. The cell membrane of vegetables contains fibrous material that is indigestible in the human digestive tract. This then “sweeps” the intestinal tract clean, as it passes through both the large and small intestines. The fibre helps to clear excess cholesterol out of the large intestine before it can be reabsorbed.


Fruits are rich in fibre and antioxidants – two important heart protectors. Another reason why fruit is so important to the diet is because it contains both soluble and insoluble fibre. The insoluble fibre helps to prevent constipation and is associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer, while soluble fibre can help to lower blood cholesterol levels. Apparently it helps to produce a gel in the intestines that attaches to cholesterol. This causes it to be excreted as waste instead of being reabsorbed by the body.

Selection of fruit

Fibre-rich fruits include apples, pears, strawberries, prunes, oranges and bananas.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has documented research undertaken among 4466 adults, to study the association between fruit and vegetable consumption and low density lipoprotein [LDL]. Results support the evidence that higher intakes of fruit and vegetables is inversely related to LDL concentrations in men and women independent of other risk factors.


Nuts are widely advocated for their health benefits. While they may be relatively high in fat, nuts are high in unsaturated fats, including omega-3 as well as being high in fibre. These are known to lower LDL cholesterol levels.

In August 2002, a study published in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association, found that when 27 people with high cholesterol ate one or two handfuls of almonds daily for a month, they managed to reduce LDL levels by between 4.4 and 9.4 percent.

Another study looked at the effect of eating walnuts every day. The researchers studied data for 514 older adults, with an average age of 69 years who were participating in the Walnuts and Healthy Ageing [WAHA] study. Around half of the participants added a half of walnuts to their daily diet, which was 15 percent of their daily calorie intake. Whereas the other half consumed their usual daily diet without nuts. The results were conclusive. After 1 year, researchers found that these people on the walnut diet had significantly lower levels of LDL cholesterol compared with those who ate their usual diet.


The flesh of a ripe avocado is a rich source of vitamin E and potassium. It also supplies vitamin C, riboflavin and manganese. Vitamins C and E are both antioxidants and can therefore help to prevent the free radical damage that might lead to certain cancers. Potassium helps to control blood pressure as well as maintain a regular heartbeat [].

Like olive oil, avocados have a high content of monounsaturated fatty acids, which are thought to lower blood cholesterol levels. But be aware that avocados are high in calories. Avocado contain approximately 400 Calories.

Studies have shown that eating one avocado a day can lower your harmful LDLs by as much as 17 percent, while raising your good HDLs.


Most of garlic’s health benefits are the result of more than 100 sulphur compounds it contains, including those that are responsible for the pungent odour released when a bulb is crushed.

Several studies suggest that garlic can prevent heart disease in various ways. For example, garlic makes platelets (the cells involved in blood clotting) less likely to clump and stick to artery walls, and so reduce your risk of a heart attack. There is evidence that the herb dissolves clot-forming proteins which can affect plaque development. Garlic also lowers blood pressure slightly, mainly through its ability to widen blood vessels and help the blood to circulate more freely.

In one analysis of five different trials in which participants received either garlic supplements or a placebo, the authors concluded that you could lower your total cholesterol about 9%, with the equivalent of 1.5 to 3 cloves of garlic a day for two to six months.


The most health promoting legumes include  beans such as French, kidney, navy, snap, stringless and green beans. Adzuki beans, alfalfa sprouts, carob, chickpeas, fava beans, lentils, lima beans, mung beans, peas, string beans and possibly soybeans.

An abundance of fibre, amino acids, iron, B vitamins and calcium are available in these foods. The reason why legumes are the mainstay of vegetarian diets is because they supply so many of the same nutrients that meat does.

Research undertaken confirms that a daily serving (3/4 cup or 4.5 ounces) of legumes was linked to a reduction in LDL by 5 percent. This also meant a reduced risk of heart disease, according to Dr. John Sievenpiper [] Canadian researchers examined 26 U.S and Canadian studies that included a total of 1,037 volunteers with an average age of 51. The average duration of follow-up was six weeks.

Large quantities of soluble dietary fibre are contained within legumes. Within the digestive system, these soluble fibres attach to cholesterol particles and takes them out of the body. Therefore, reducing the amount of cholesterol that are left, which then minimizes your risk of heart disease.

Whole Grains

Whole grain food to lower cholesterol

Whole grains especially oats, are frequently recommended for the heart and overall health. It is not fully understood how whole grains protect the heart, but some believe that compounds play a major part. Compounds such as phytoestrogens and antioxidants found in these food types, may be beneficial in lowering cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.

A study funded by Quaker Oats at Tufts University in Boston investigated 43 women and men who ate a diet rich in oats. At the end of the six-week study, the participants demonstrated lower blood pressure and cholesterol []

In 1997, the Food and Drug Administration [FDA] authorized the use of a specific health claim on the label for whole oats, oat bran, rolled oats and whole oat flour. The decision was based on the ability of water-soluble fibre from whole oats to reduce total cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol-lowering margarines

Margarine is not exactly good for your arteries, but there are special kinds of margarine that may be able to help lower your cholesterol. In 1999 the UK government approved the addition of natural plant chemicals called plant stanol ester to margarines, such as Benecol and Flora Pro-Activ were launched. These plant based margarines are marketed as being effective in your lowering cholesterol because they partially block the intake of cholesterol by the gut. Therefore limiting the amount absorbed into the bloodstream.

US studies have found that 2-3g a day of one of these margarines can reduce total and LDL cholesterol levels by 9 to 20 percent.


In this article I have discussed a number of foods that can be incorporated into your diet, that can help to lower the bad cholesterol in your blood. It is very important that these levels are monitored closely because they pose a serious risk to your health, particularly cardiovascular disease.

If you have had success with lowering your cholesterol levels by introducing certain foods into your diet, I would love to hear from you. Please leave comments below.