Five Great Foods To Help Lower Your Cholesterol

June 13, 2024

Cholesterol in the arteries acts like a clump of hair clogging the shower drain. Too much of this fatty substance blocks blood flow to and from the heart. When it builds up in the arteries, it can lead to coronary heart disease or strokes. Although our bodies produce enough cholesterol on their own, the food we eat often leads to elevated levels of LDL cholesterol – the so-called bad cholesterol.

High cholesterol is a big reason heart disease is America’s number one killer – more than cancer or COVID. Nearly 700,000 people died from heart disease in the U.S. last year. Nearly 90 million Americans may have total cholesterol levels that are too high.  

The good news is there’s a simple solution. That’s because some foods have been scientifically proven to lower cholesterol. One of the fastest, easiest ways to reduce LDL cholesterol is by enjoying these five delicious, cholesterol-lowering foods. 

What is Cholesterol?

Produced by the liver, cholesterol is a fatty, waxy substance. Although vital for cell repair along with producing vitamins and hormones, too much of it is definitely not a good thing. That’s because cholesterol relies on lipoproteins to travel through the bloodstream. Made up of lipids, or fat, and protein, there are two types of lipoproteins. Low density lipoprotein, or LDL cholesterol is often called the “bad cholesterol” because it’s the one that can cause arterial blockages. The so-called “good” cholesterol is high density lipoprotein or HDL. Like an unwanted package marked “Return to Sender,” HDL helps blood absorb cholesterol and send it back to where it came from – the liver. Then instead of blocking the arteries adjacent to the heart, it is excreted from the body. 

This is the natural process for ridding the body of excess cholesterol. In fact, the human body produces more than enough cholesterol all on its own. The problem is that people consume certain foods that raise LDL cholesterol levels. This includes most fast foods and food that has been heavily processed. Fried foods also make the list of foods not to eat with high cholesterol.

Heart disease is often called the “silent killer” because it’s often symptom-free. Unfortunately, a fair number of people only learn they have the condition after a heart attack. Elevated total cholesterol levels are similarly symptom-free. 

“Typically, there are not really warning signs for people with high cholesterol,” explains Kate Kirley, MD, the American Medical Association’s director of chronic disease prevention. “For the most part, the only way you can get insight into your cholesterol levels and how they might play into your risk for heart attack and stroke is to be evaluated by your physician and have your levels tested with a blood test.”

Fortunately, the first step toward learning both total cholesterol levels and how to lower cholesterol if those levels are too high doesn’t mean fighting traffic and waiting in a doctor’s office. Instead, Kyla Clinics offers a simple at-home test that provides a lipid panel and insights into heart health. 

The first step is to take an easy healthy quiz. This will help identify areas where changes can be made to improve health. Start by selecting at-home blood tests, like the primary care panel which includes monitoring of cholesterol and triglyceride levels along with hormone and blood sugar levels. The test also offers information on liver and kidney function and inflammation markers. Many companies charge hundreds of dollars for similar tests. Kyla’s primary care panel is just $99 – and that cost may be covered by insurance. 

The journey toward better heart health doesn’t end with the test. Instead, after receiving the test results, patients have an opportunity to consult with a Kyla doctor. This health care professional can offer personalized advice, including steps to lower cholesterol along with information on foods not to eat with high cholesterol and the best lifestyle changes for having a healthy heart. 

From there, thanks to the Kyla App, it’s possible to continuously track progress with nutrition and lifestyle enhancements while setting goals and taking action every day to help achieve them. Of course, one of the easiest ways to lower cholesterol is by adding the right foods to the daily diet. 

  1. Start the Day Right with a Cholesterol-lowering Breakfast

It’s always great when the first meal of the day helps lower cholesterol. One of the best ways to do that is with a popular breakfast option: oatmeal. Why is oatmeal one of the foods that can dramatically lower cholesterol? Because it’s packed with soluble fiber. Soluble fiber may be one of the best kept secrets when it comes to lowering cholesterol. 

As soluble fiber is digested, it becomes sticky and gooey. It then attaches itself to any cholesterol it can find in the intestine – including LDL cholesterol. Not only does it prevent the fatty substance from circulating through the bloodstream, as the oats are slowly digested, the cholesterol is digested right along with it. That means bad cholesterol leaves the body completely. That’s why oatmeal is one of the best foods to eat with high cholesterol.

The problem is, the average American only consumes a few grams of soluble fiber daily. The recommended amount is five to ten grams out of around 30 grams of total fiber daily. Containing two grams of soluble fiber per cup, the cholesterol-lowering effects of oats has been studied for over 60 years. Slow-cooking steel cut oats top most nutritionists’ recommendations because they take longer to digest. Instant packets of oatmeal are usually loaded with sugar and should be avoided. 

However, when it comes to foods that lower cholesterol, hot oatmeal is not the only option. Oats-based cereals like Cheerios can serve the same function. Adding a few strawberries or a banana adds another half gram of soluble fiber. Served with nonfat milk, it’s a great way to lower cholesterol. Although oatmeal may be the best breakfast food for lowering ldl cholesterol, some studies suggest that any whole grain is effective at reducing heart disease. So low-sugar, whole-grain breakfast cereals can really make breakfast the most important meal of the day. Of course, they can be consumed at any time – including for dinner. 

  1. Fibrous Fruit May Be the Perfect LDL-Lowering Snack

While fruit makes the perfect addition to cereal for anyone hoping to lower cholesterol, it’s also a great choice by itself. Fruit is definitely one of the best foods to eat with high cholesterol because of its soluble fiber. That’s partly because it contains a unique form of the fiber called pectin. High pectin fruits like plums, pears, apples, and guavas along with citrus fruits like oranges were shown in one study to lower LDL cholesterol by as much as ten percent. Along with heart-healthy antioxidants, berries have also been shown to increase good, HDL cholesterol while lowering bad cholesterol

  1. Fatty Fish Can Reduce Fat In the Bloodstream 

While most fish is a heart-healthy option, fatty fish in particular is one of the best “good cholesterol” foods. That’s because while it doesn’t lower cholesterol, it can reduce a related blood-borne fat. Although triglycerides and cholesterol are often confused, they serve different functions. A type of fat found in the blood, high levels of triglycerides have been linked to hypertension and blood clots. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish not only help reduce triglycerides but they may raise the amount of HDL, or good cholesterol. Baking or grilling one or two servings a week can really help with heart health. 

Tuna is one of the least expensive, most widely available of the foods that lower cholesterol. Choose all-white albacore packed in water and avoid any oil-packed tuna. Other choices include trout, salmon, mackerel and herring.

  1. Go Nuts For Nuts and Legumes 

One of the easiest foods that lower cholesterol, nuts like walnuts and almonds are heart-healthy and don’t require any prep time. Instead of snacking on potato chips, cookies, or any of the other foods not to eat with high cholesterol, grab a handful of nuts. Studies have shown that not only can eating two ounces of nuts daily reduce LDL cholesterol by five percent but that nut eaters have lower rates of heart disease than non-nut eaters. That’s because nut nutrients do more than just lower cholesterol but also offer a wide variety of heart-healthy benefits. The secret is selecting salt and sugar-free nuts that are as close to their natural, unprocessed state as possible. 

Usually included in the nut category, peanuts are actually legumes. Legumes are another one of those foods that lower cholesterol. One legume, soybeans, have been proven effective in studies at lowering LDL cholesterol. Soy-based foods like vegan burgers and sausages may also reduce total cholesterol levels while raising HDL levels. Soy milk and soybean oil for cooking have been shown to have similar benefits. 

Lentils, peas, and beans are also legumes. Like oatmeal, they help lower cholesterol because of their high levels of soluble fiber. Slow to digest, beans leave most people feeling full longer. That means they aren’t only one of foods that lower cholesterol, but can also help with weight loss.

  1. Some of The Best Cholesterol-lowering Foods are Beverages

It’s not just what people eat that makes a difference. Some beverages have been shown to lower cholesterol as well. Nonfat milk and low-fat dairy products like cottage cheese or yogurt have long been known to have heart-healthy benefits. Now new research suggests that milk drinkers have lower levels of bad cholesterol than non-milk drinkers. One downside is the study also suggested that milk drinkers had higher body fat percentages. However, it’s likely that nonfat milk consumption can both lower cholesterol and keep body fat in check. 

Orange juice may also help lower cholesterol – so long as it’s fortified with sterols or stanols. These substances are extracted from plants and added to a wide variety of foods, including OJ, along with chocolate, granola bars and margarine. Sterols and stanols prevent cholesterol absorption. Getting two grams or more daily from food can reduce LDL cholesterol by 10%.

While green tea is often touted for its heart-healthy benefits and metabolism boosting qualities, black tea may be equally effective at reducing total cholesterol levels and reducing LDL cholesterol

There isn’t one single, simple solution that will lower cholesterol. Eating a plant-based diet with several daily servings of vegetables and fruits will not only reduce bad cholesterol but also improve overall health. Interestingly, some studies have suggested that a diet rich in foods that lower cholesterol may be as effective as taking cholesterol-lowering drugs like statins. 

That’s why it’s important to not go it alone. Choosing Kyla means choosing an anti-aging program that delivers AI-driven insights combined with personalized, actionable information. After downloading the Kyla App and filling out a simple questionnaire, patients can interact with a healthcare professional who acts as a personal coach. This means diving into internal health issues like total cholesterol levels along with hormones, metabolism, and warning signs for everything from cancer to heart disease. 

Working with Kyla means becoming personally proactive against chronic diseases. It means setting actionable goals and following-up with a well-qualified, health care professional. By taking an inclusive, holistic approach Kyla focuses on solutions not symptoms – deploying everything from nutritional and fitness advice to supplements and medications when necessary. 

The secret is discovering how lifestyle affects lifespan. That means tracking vital health indicators like total cholesterol levels along with primary care and hormone levels. All of this data is easily and conveniently monitored on the Kyla app. This helps people achieve long-lasting changes through anti-aging treatments giving them the opportunity to enjoy decades of optimum health. 


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