8 Good Foods for Lowering Cholesterol

Do you have reason to be concerned about your cholesterol numbers? Due to the role genetics plays in producing high cholesterol problems, sometimes perfectly healthy-looking people are left in search of good food for lowering cholesterol. Whether you're looking to lose weight or not, these foods to lower cholesterol are a great foundation for a healthy diet and mind.

Read: The Consequences of Bad Cholesterol.

Here are eight different food choices to load up on to help bring your cholesterol numbers back down to earth.

Oatmeal

Skip the bacon and eggs and start your day off with some oatmeal. Oatmeal delivers 1-2 grams of soluble fiber. Most Americans receive less than the 10 recommended grams of daily soluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps lower cholesterol levels by binding to cholesterol in the digestive system to escort it out of the body before it reaches the blood stream.

Blueberries

Blueberries rule. Not only are they a good food for the mind, but they also are great for lowering levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol. A recent USDA study on how blueberries impact cholesterol levels showed a decrease of bad cholesterol of 44% in hamsters whose diets were supplemented with blueberries compared to hamsters who were not fed blueberries.

Olive Oil

Unsaturated fats are a vital component to a healthy diet. The high levels of monounsaturated fats in olive oil directly help to lower levels of LDL cholesterol in the body. Other oils, like canola oil and sunflower oil, are great substitutes for butter or shortening when cooking or baking and can help lower cholesterol levels.

Nuts

Nuts are great for heart health and been shown to help lower levels of bad cholesterol. Just a couple of ounces of nuts per day can contribute to a decrease of 5% of levels of LDL cholesterol. Nuts will also help to improve your ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol. Almonds rank as one of the top healthy foods in this category.

Flaxseed Oil

One way good food for lowering cholesterol works is by not just lowering your levels of bad cholesterol, but also raising your levels of good cholesterol. Foods high in polyunsaturated fats also help to raise levels of good (HDL) cholesterol in addition to directly lowering bad levels of cholesterol. So what are the foods noted for their high quantities of polyunsaturated fats without also being high in saturated or trans-fats? In addition to flaxseed oil, other vegetable oils like safflower and grapeseed as well as nut oils like walnut and butternut oil are loaded in polyunsaturated fats. Sunflower seeds are also a great source of these healthy fats.

Dark Chocolate

Researchers from San Diego State University recently concluded that dark chocolate may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering bad cholesterol levels and raising good cholesterol levels. Dark chocolate has enjoyed a resurgence as being recognized as a health food. Eaten in moderation, the flavanols in dark chocolate provide valuable benefits to the circulatory system.

Fish

Fish, specifically fish high in Omega-3 fatty acids, work double duty to help your cholesterol levels. First, fish is often a meal replacement for meats high in saturated fat which can raise cholesterol levels. Additionally, fish deliver LDL cholesterol-lowering Omega-3 fatty acids to the body. The health benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids are so numerous that food researcher Michael Pollan, known for his strong criticisms of dietary supplement pills, concedes that fish oil supplements high in Omega-3 fatty acids could be the one exception to his philosophy that supplements are unnecessary in a diet featuring large quantities of whole, unprocessed foods. Even the people skeptical of the benefits of dietary supplements quiet their resistance when Omega-3 is the topic.

Beans

Beans are great for weight loss and lowering cholesterol levels. They are high in soluble fiber which help rid the body of cholesterol and also contribute to feeling fuller for longer following a meal. Prepare your favorite beans your favorite way to set yourself up for weight loss and cholesterol-lowering success!

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