In the United States, heart disease is one of the leading causes of death. If you have high cholesterol levels, especially bad LDL, you are more likely to get heart disease. Low HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides also increase your risk of getting heart disease. Your diet has a big effect on cholesterol and other risk factors.
List of Foods that can lower blood cholesterol.
1. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel, are good for you because they have omega-3s. Omega-3s help your heart by increasing good cholesterol and lowering inflammation. They also can lower your risk of developing a condition called “metabolic syndrome.” In one study, adults who ate fatty fish at least once a week had a 27% lower risk of stroke.
It is best to steam or stew fish. Fried fish may be bad for your health because it can lead to heart problems. Some people may also get these benefits from the Mediterranean diet, which includes lots of fish(1) (2). Fish protein may also have some heart-protective properties.
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2. Whole Grains
Eating whole grains is linked to a lower risk of heart disease and stroke. A review of 45 studies showed a 20% reduced risk of heart disease and stroke for people eating 3 servings per day (3). Even more, benefits were seen by those consuming 7 servings per day. Whole grains have more vitamins, minerals, plant compounds and fibre than refined grains because they keep all parts of the grain intact.
While all whole grains are good for your heart, two of them stand out. Oats contain beta-glucan, a type of fibre that helps lower cholesterol. When you eat oats, your total cholesterol will go down, and so will “bad” LDL cholesterol (LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein). Barley also contains beta-glucans, and it can help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Legumes are a type of plant food. They contain fibre, minerals and protein. It is also good for you to replace some refined grains or processed meats in your diet with legumes.
Eating a 1/2 cup (100 grams) of legumes per day can lower your risk of heart disease, according to a review of 26 randomized controlled studies (4). Other research links pulses to weight loss, even in diets that don’t restrict calories (5).
4. Fruits and Berries
Fruit is a good part of a heart-healthy diet. Fruit is rich in soluble fibre, which helps lower cholesterol levels (6). This happens because the fibre encourages your body to get rid of cholesterol and stops your liver from producing this compound. One kind of soluble fibre called pectin lowers cholesterol by up to 10% (7). It can be found in fruits, including apples, grapes, citrus fruits, and strawberries.
Fruits can help our bodies stay healthy and keep us from getting sick. Eating fruits can also help your heart because fruits have something in it that makes your cholesterol levels go up or down to the right level.
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5. Dark Chocolate and Cocoa
Cocoa is the main ingredient of dark chocolate. It may seem too good to be true, but research proves that cocoa can lower “bad” LDL cholesterol (8). In one study, healthy adults drank a cocoa drink every day for a month. They reduced “bad” LDL cholesterol of 0.17 mmol/l (6.5 mg/dl) (9). Their blood pressure also decreased, and their “good” HDL cholesterol increased.
Chocolate is often high in sugar. So, you should eat chocolate with cocoa (without any sugar). Or choose dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is chocolate with a cocoa content of 75%-85%.
Avocados are a healthy fruit. They have fats and fibre that help lower cholesterol. Some studies show that avocados help with cholesterol (10). If you eat an avocado every day, your LDL (the bad kind of cholesterol) will go down more than if you didn’t eat avocados at all( 11).
Avocados also make your HDL (the good kind of cholesterol) go up, so it has a positive effect on your heart health and other parts of your body.
Nuts contain healthy fats. They are good for your heart and help with blood pressure. Nuts have plant-based omega 3s and help your body make nitric oxide, which helps regulate blood pressure (12). Nuts also have phytosterols which block cholesterol absorption in the intestines, lowering cholesterol levels.
Nuts are good for your heart. They have 3 important minerals that help. Calcium, magnesium and potassium are in nuts. This lowers blood pressure and your risk of heart disease. In 25 studies, when people ate 2-3 servings of nuts per day, their LDL cholesterol decreased by an average of 10 mg per deciliter. Eating a daily serving of nuts is linked to a 28% lower risk for death from heart disease (13).
Garlic has been used for a long time in cooking and as a medicine. It contains many powerful plant compounds. One of these is called allicin which is its main active compound. Studies show that garlic can lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure and may also help to lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, but this effect is weaker than the effect on lowering high blood pressure. It would be best if you ate a lot of garlic to get these effects, so most studies use aged supplements, which are more effective than other preparations of garlic to achieve this heart-protective effect. Garlic supplements are available for purchase online.
9. Soy Foods
Soybeans are a type of legume that may make your heart healthy. The results are mixed, but some studies have shown they can help reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol (14). The effect seems strongest in those with high cholesterol.
High cholesterol levels are a major risk factor for heart disease. But you can help lower this risk by eating certain foods. Eat more of these foods, and your heart will be healthier. You can also practice mindful eating to make sure you enjoy your meal without overeating.