I just spoke with an individual today that dropped their cholesterol 49 points by making one change - cutting back on high sugar snacks. You can have a significant impact on cholesterol levels by following a heart healthy diet.
Consuming a diet high in saturated fat, trans fat, and sugar can result in high cholesterol levels. To begin promoting lower cholesterol you want to replace these less healthy food choices with heart healthy options.
Here are 5 foods you can use to lower cholesterol:
1. Atlantic Salmon
Salmon is a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3's have many benefits, some of which include decreased lipoprotein A, lowered triglycerides, reduced blood pressure, elevated HDL cholesterol, and decreased risk of blot clots.
Some additional sources of omega 3 include fish, ground flaxseed, and walnuts.
Almonds are a great source of monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fat is a heart healthy type of fat that will help lower cholesterol when eaten in place of foods containing saturated and trans fats. As an added benefit, monounsaturated fats tend to be high in Vitamin E.
Some additional sources of monounsaturated fat include avocados, olive oil, and pistachios.
3. Navy Beans
Navy beans are a great source of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber promotes a lower cholesterol level, specifically soluble fiber which can lower LDL cholesterol 1% for every 1-2 grams of soluble fiber consumed daily. Aim for 25-35 grams of dietary fiber daily. Cooked navy beans provide 6 grams of fiber per ½ cup.
Some additional sources of dietary fiber include broccoli, oatmeal, blueberries, and brown rice.
4. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are one source of plant sterols. Eating a diet high in plant sterols can reduce cholesterol absorption and lower LDL cholesterol levels. Sunflower seeds contain 0.19 grams of plant sterols per ½ cup. Aim for 2 grams of plant sterols daily. Plant sterols are not found in nature at very high levels, so you may need to look at fortified foods.
Avocados also provide plant sterols and some foods, such as orange juice, are available fortified with plant sterols.
5. Green Tea
Green tea is rich in flavonoids. There are many different types of flavonoids and some of the health benefits linked to tea flavonoids include decreased LDL oxidation, decreased cholesterol, and decreased triglyceride levels.
Some additional flavonoids sources include red wine, dark chocolate (from the cocoa plant), cranberries, and citrus fruits.
For additional ways to lower cholesterol be sure to sign up for the free e-course How to Lower Cholesterol in 8 Simple Steps.