What foods can I eat to help lower my cholesterol?

Published June 19, 2014

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While cholesterol is required for many body functions, it can be a case of too much of a good thing. But a few simple tweaks to your diet, along with regular exercise and other heart healthy habits, may be helpful in maintaining a healthy balance. Here are our top five suggestions:

  1. Oats – Oats contain a form of soluble fiber called beta‐glucan. When consumed, beta-glucan from oats forms a thick gel inside the digestive tract, which is able to bind to excess cholesterol and then excrete it as part of the body’s waste, stopping its absorption into the body.1
  2. Beans – Beans are also rich in soluble fiber and therefore have the ability to bind to cholesterol and excrete it from the body before it can get into the bloodstream.2
  3. Fatty fish –Fatty fish contain omega-3 essential fatty acids, which help maintain heart health and normal LDL:HDL cholesterol levels in healthy people. It’s recommended to include two to three serves of fish each week or take a daily fish oil supplement with at least 500mg of EPA and DHA.3
  4. Nuts ‐ Studies show that eating almonds, walnuts and other nuts in moderation is good for heart health and can have an effect on cholesterol levels.2 This is because they are rich in unsaturated fatty acids (good fats) as well as fiber and plant sterols which also help lower cholesterol levels.4 Nuts also contain nutrients such as vitamin E that help support the heart in other ways.4 Just ensure the nuts you eat aren’t laden with salt or coated in sugar.
  5. Apples, grapes, strawberries and citrus fruits – These fruits contain pectin, a type of soluble fiber that helps lower LDL cholesterol.2

Lowering cholesterol through diet requires a two‐pronged approach and it is just as important to cut back on foods that increase cholesterol in the body including saturated fats and trans fats.

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