Having high cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease and heart attacks. These cardiovascular diseases can be kept in check by making a few lifestyle changes such as eating more whole foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes, exercising more, and maintaining a heart healthy weight.
Research studies have shown that certain foods contain natural compounds that can decrease cholesterol levels in your blood stream. Take a look at the list of ten foods that can help lower your cholesterol. Please remember to please speak to your health care provider before making any major dietary changes. Health is wealth!!
10. Oats– Eating a diet rich in whole grains is associated with having healthier cholesterol levels. Oats contain a soluble fiber called beta-glucan. If you currently have high cholesterol levels, oats can lower cholesterol by as much as 20 percent. Oatmeal and oats are also an excellent source of minerals and protein. I love steel cut oatmeal!
9. Legumes– Kidney beans, navy beans, and black beans, are very high in fiber and plant proteins. Research indicates that adding beans to a diet can reduce cholesterol levels, as long as the overall calorie count is not increased. Beans are also high in B-complex vitamins and minerals. Check out my recipe on Black Bean Hummus.
8. Walnuts– Walnuts are rich in both monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids. Eating these nuts may be able to reduce cholesterol levels by around 15 percent, and may also improve blood vessel function and reduce inflammation. Walnuts are also an also an excellent source of vitamin E, minerals and B-complex vitamins. Have you ever noticed that walnuts resemble the brain? Healthy brain, healthy heart, I’m just saying!
7. Olive Oil– My favorite oil to use for cooking as well as using it on my skin. It is probably the best-known source of monounsaturated fatty acids and can reduce cholesterol and inflammation. Olive oil should be included in a heart-healthy diet in place of saturated or trans fats.
6. Almonds– These nuts are high in monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, minerals, B-complex vitamins, and vitamin E. Research shows eating almonds regularly may reduce your cholesterol by nearly 20 percent. Almonds make a great snack or healthy topping for a salad or side dish. All nuts are high in fat, which is a good thing, but they should be eaten in moderation. My daily mix of nuts are: 8-10 almonds, 3 walnuts, 3 cashews, 1 Brazil nut, and 2 macadamias.
5. Avocado– Another excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids and plant sterols that can help to reduce cholesterol. Research suggests that adding avocado to a heart-healthy diet can increase the cholesterol-lowering benefit. Avocado is also rich in protein, fiber, B-complex vitamins, vitamin K, and several minerals. Try adding one to your morning smoothie. Rich, Creamy, Delicious!!
4. Salmon– Fatty ocean fish such as salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids and can help reduce cholesterol levels, especially when you eat fish instead of saturated fats from red meats. Herring, trout, tuna, and sardines are also high in omega-3s. Fish is also high in protein and minerals. Have you ever had salmon nachos? Don’t knock it until you have tried it;-)
3. Lentils– Like dry beans, these are high in fiber, and research suggests that adding lentils to a diet can reduce cholesterol levels as long as the overall calorie count is not increased. Lentils are also high in B-complex vitamins and minerals. They make a lovely addition to soup. And you don’t need to soak them before cooking!
2. Blueberries– Blueberries are my favorite! They contain a powerful antioxidant called pterostilbene that may help lower LDL cholesterol. Toss a cup of frozen blueberries together with half of a frozen banana and 1/2 cup of fresh pressed orange juice into the blender for a healthy breakfast drink. Sprinkle fresh blueberries on cereals and eat them by the handfuls for snacks.
1. Green Leafy Vegetables– You all know I love green leafy vegetables. The dark greens supply a significant amount of folate, a B vitamin that promotes heart health and they are rich in antioxidants. Eating dark green leafy vegetables is vital to a healthy, balanced diet. There are many ways to enjoy a meal with leafy greens. How do you green?
Tie Becker, Registered Yoga Teacher 200, Juice Consultant, Holistic Health and Wellness Consultant, Bachelor of Science
Fresh Pressed Yoga