Foods to Lower Cholesterol
There are generally five groups of foods that have been widely accepted as being very beneficial for lowering a person’s cholesterol. These five groups include oat and soluble fiber, fish, nuts, foods fortified with plant sterols and soy.
Oat and Soluble Fiber
The food that is richest in soluble fiber is oatmeal and out bran. Soluble fiber is a kind of fiber that lowers the LDL cholesterol level but keeps the HDL, the good cholesterol, high without having any effect on it.
In order to reduce one’s cholesterol level effectively, a person should be eating in between five and ten grams of soluble fiber every single day. This will help decrease the LDL cholesterol by about five percent. However, some studies have even shown that with this kind of diet, the bad cholesterol levels can be lowered by as much as 23 percent.
In order to calculate the intake that is needed, it is important to know that one regular-sized bowl of oatmeal contains about three grams of soluble fiber.
There are foods other than oatmeal that can be consumes as well. Foods such as psyllium, apples, kidney beans, pears and barley are also very good foods that are very rich in soluble fiber.
Fish is an excellent source of both protein and omega 3 fatty acids. Both of these have been shown to decrease unhealthy cholesterol levels, especially the omega 3 fatty acids.
It is recommended for a person to consume two servings of fish every week, especially fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon, sardines, herring, and trout.
Nuts are very reach in not only fiber and phytonutrients, but also in antioxidants like vitamin E and selenium.
Nuts are also very high in plant sterols and fat, but not the bad kind, mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. All of these things can lead to a lower LDL cholesterol level.
Some nuts that are most recommended for this purpose include almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios and walnuts.
It is important to limit one’s intake of nuts to 1.5 ounces per day because they are very high in calories.
The best way to eat nuts and to gain health benefits is to replace foods such as meat and other foods that are high in saturated fats with nuts.
Foods Fortified with Plant Sterols
Foods fortified with plant sterols are also very beneficial for reducing bad cholesterol levels. Some of these foods margarine spreads, orange juice, salad dressings and functional cookies.
Soy products are great when used as substitutes for animal products. It also can improve heart health.
However, recently, doctors have stated that soy will not decrease cholesterol levels. But, that does not mean that soy should be avoided because the fiber, vitamins and minerals and the low levels of saturated fats in soy are all excellent for the health and great substitutes for unhealthy metal products that are high in saturated fats.