Which Foods Lower Cholesterol?
High cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease, the world's leading cause of death.
Cholesterol levels are directly affected by your diet and eating habits. You can lower your cholesterol levels by eating foods that are heart healthy.
Healthy eating doesn't have to be a daunting thought. You don't need to make huge changes to what you eat to be healthier. Instead, try small habit changes over time.
Here are our top five food recommendations to (slowly) incorporate into your diet to lower cholesterol.
1. Whole Grains
Barley and oats contain soluble fibers called beta-glucan. These reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the bloodstream. Health Canada and the FDA have both approved barley beta-glucan as a food to lower cholesterol levels.
2. Vegetables and Fruits
We all know that fruits and veggies are good sources of vitamins and minerals, but did you know that many of them are also high in soluble fibers? Studies have shown that eating soluble fibers can help lower unhealthy cholesterol levels in your blood.
Vegetables high in soluble fibers: eggplant, okra, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, and broccoli
Fruits that are cholesterol-friendly: strawberries, grapes, apples, oranges, and citrus.
3. Heart-Healthy Fats
You might be asking yourself, "What are heart-healthy fats? I thought all fat was bad for me.", but that's not true! Just like "good" and "bad" cholesterol, there are "good" and "bad" fats. Good fats increase the levels of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), and include monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and omega-3 fatty acids. Heart-healthy fats are present in foods such as olives, avocados, and nuts.
Rule of thumb: Most fats made of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids are liquid at room temperature, such as olive oil, sunflower oil, and avocado oil.
4. Fatty Fish
Fish are the best source of omega-3 fatty acids. Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids can lower your triglycerides, blood pressure, and the risk of heart disease. Fish with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids are:
5. Soy Products
Soy products are rich in nutrients and fiber. They have been linked to reducing LDL-cholesterol and total cholesterol levels, while increasing HDL-cholesterol. Soy products include soybeans, soy milk, tofu, and edamame beans. Choose products that are close to how they are naturally found, like unsweetened soy milk.
We know that diets are hard to follow and restrictive eating isn't sustainable. It is more important to obtain healthy, balanced eating habits and focus on the overall quality of diet.
Of course, shifting to a cholesterol lowering diet isn't easy, but studies have shown that supplements, like Cerabeta, are an additional way to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Cerabeta is a barley beta-glucan supplement that can be easily added to any of your favourite meals.
A rich diet, incorporating the foods listed above, along with Cerabeta, will help lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Which cholesterol-lowering foods have you tried? Let us know your favourite in the comments below.
Anderson, Todd J. et al. CSS Guidelines for the Management of Dyslipidemia for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in the Adult. Can K Cardiol, 2016;32;11:1263 – 1282
Aune D, Giovannucii E, Boffetta P et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer and all-cause mortality – a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. International Journal of Epidemiology. 2017;46(3):1029-1056
Harvard Medical School. 2009. 11 foods that lower cholesterol. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/11-foods-that-lower-cholesterol
Heart Foundation. 2019. 7 foods that lower your cholesterol. Retrieved from https://www.heartfoundation.org.nz/about-us/news/blogs/7-foods-that-lower-your-cholesterol
Heart UK. [n.d.]. Six cholesterol busting foods. Retrieved from https://www.heartuk.org.uk/healthy-living/cholesterol-lowering-foods
Mayo Clinic Staff. 2018. Cholesterol: Top foods to improve your numbers. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/cholesterol/art-20045192