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Changing the foods you eat can lower your cholesterol and improve the absorption of fats that float in your bloodstream. Foods that lower LDL, the harmful cholesterol particles that contribute to clogging of arteries, are the best way to achieve a low cholesterol diet.
What Should We Eat To Control Cholesterol
Different foods lower cholesterol in different ways. Some deliver soluble fiber, which binds to cholesterol and precursors in the digestive tract and flushes them out of the body before they enter the circulation. Some people give you polyunsaturated fats, which directly lower LDL. And some species contain plant sterols and stanols that prevent the body from absorbing cholesterol.
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1. Oatmeal. An easy first step to lowering your cholesterol is to eat oatmeal or cold oatmeal cereal like Cheerios for breakfast. This gives you 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber. Add some bananas or strawberries to half a gram. Current nutritional guidelines recommend getting 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day, with at least 5 to 10 grams coming from soluble fiber. (The average American earns half that amount.)
2. Barley and other grains. Like oats and oat bran, barley and other whole grains help reduce the risk of heart disease, primarily through soluble fiber.
3. Beans Beans are especially rich in soluble fiber. They take some time for the body to digest, which means you feel full longer after a meal. This is one reason why beans are a useful food for other people trying to lose weight. With so many options — beans, peas, kidney beans, black-eyed peas and more — and so many ways to prepare them, beans are a versatile food.
5. Many studies show that eating nuts, almonds, walnuts, peanuts and other nuts is good for the heart. Eating 2 ounces of nuts per day can lower LDL slightly, on the order of 5%. Seeds contain additional nutrients that protect the heart in other ways.
Tips For Limiting Cholesterol In Food
6. Vegetable Oils Using water-based vegetable oils such as canola, safflower, sunflower, etc. instead of butter, lard, or shortening when cooking or serving can lower LDL.
7. Apples, grapes, strawberries, lemons.. These fruits are rich in pectin, a type of soluble fiber that lowers LDL.
8. Dietary supplements containing sterols and stanols. Sterols and stanols extracted from gum plants increase the body’s ability to absorb cholesterol from food. Companies are adding them to foods ranging from margarine and granola bars to orange juice and chocolate. They are also available as dietary supplements. A daily intake of 2 grams of plant sterols or stanols can lower LDL cholesterol by 10%.
9. Soybeans Eating soybeans and foods made with them, such as tofu and soy milk, have been touted as an effective way to lower cholesterol. The analysis shows that the effect is small – consuming 25 grams of soy protein per day (10 ounces of tofu or 2 1/2 cups of soy milk) lowers LDL by 5% to 6%.
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10. Fatty fish Eating fish two or three times a week can lower LDL in two ways: by replacing meat with saturated fat to raise LDL and to lower omega-3 fat. Omega-3s lower triglycerides in the bloodstream and also protect the heart by helping prevent the onset of abnormal heart rhythms.
11. Fiber supplements. Supplements offer a less glamorous way to get soluble fiber. Two teaspoons of psyllium per day, found in Metamucil and many other laxatives, provide 4 grams of soluble fiber.
When it comes to investing money, experts recommend building a portfolio of diverse investments rather than putting all your eggs in one basket. The same is true for eating your way to lower cholesterol. Adding several foods to lower cholesterol in different ways works better than focusing on one or two.
A “cholesterol-lowering food” is mainly cabbage, which significantly lowers LDL, triglycerides and blood pressure. The main components of the diet are more fruits and vegetables, whole grains rather than highly refined ones, and most proteins come from plants. Add margarine, which is rich in plant sterols; Oats, barley, psyllium, okra, and eggplant are rich in soluble fiber; Soy protein; And all the almonds.
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In fact, switching to a cholesterol-lowering diet requires more attention than taking daily statin drugs. This means expanding the variety of foods you normally put in your shopping cart and using them with new textures and flavors. But it’s a “natural” way to lower cholesterol, and it avoids the risk of muscle problems and other side effects that plague some who take statins.
Likewise, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds is good for the body in ways other than lowering cholesterol. It keeps blood pressure under control. It helps the arteries to be flexible and responsive. It is good for bones and digestion, vision and mind.
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Best And Worst Foods For High Cholesterol
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Foods That Lower Cholesterol — Eat This Not That
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If your cholesterol levels have been rising over the years, you may wonder if dietary changes can help. Ideally, your total cholesterol should be 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or less. But what experts are most concerned about is the dangerous LDL cholesterol value. High LDL can build up on artery walls and cause the release of inflammatory substances that increase the risk of heart attack.
“To prevent heart disease, your LDL should be 100 mg/dL or less,” says Dr. George Plutzky, MD, director of cardiology at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. But many Americans have LDL values that are below optimal (100 to 129 mg/dL) or borderline (130 to 159 mg/dL).
Should We Avoid High Cholesterol Foods?
If you fall into those categories, you can lower your LDL levels by changing the foods you eat, especially if there is some improvement in your current diet. However, many people with high LDL values need to take cholesterol-lowering drugs such as statins, Dr. Plutzky said.
Avoiding foods high in cholesterol is not the best way to lower your LDL. Your overall diet — especially the types of fats and carbohydrates you eat — has a great influence on your blood cholesterol levels. “As the American Heart Association has noted, you get the most bang for your buck by cutting back on saturated fat and replacing it with unsaturated fat,” said Cathy McManus, director of the Brigham and Nutrition Division.
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