14 Foods that Lower Cholesterol

by Laurel on August 4, 2007

The best way to improve your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease is to change your diet and lifestyle. Eat a whole foods, plant-based diet and incorporate exercise and stress-relieving activities into your daily routine. I made a list of the best cholesterol lowering foods in 2007. It’s time for an update! Here’s my new 2011 list of the Top 14 Foods that Lower Cholesterol with the latest research and recommendations from nutrition experts:

1. Whole Grains and Oats – a five-year Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study showed that people whose diets contain the most whole grains “had the thinnest carotid artery walls and showed the slowest progression in artery wall thickness.” Try these recipes:

2. Blueberries – pterostilbene, a compound in blueberries, may help lower cholesterol as effectively as commercial drugs with fewer side effects. Antioxidants in blueberries, such as anthocyanins, have been found to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and improve cholesterol health in several notable studies. Try these recipes:

3. Nuts (all kinds) – eating a small serving of nuts every day can reduce your total cholesterol, reduce your LDL cholesterol, and improve your ratio of total cholesterol to HDL (good) cholesterol. Try these recipes:

Snack of raw almonds4. Chlorella – chlorella is a potent, eco-friendly source of healthy omega-3 fats, making it cholesterol lowering food. Studies show that it can significantly improve cholesterol levels. An easy way eat chlorella is in a smoothie. Try mixing chlorella granules with coconut water, blueberries, and strawberries for a healthy afternoon snack or dessert.

Sun Chlorella granules and tablets5. Chocolate – eating dark chocolate has been found to provide dozens of health benefits, including improving cholesterol levels. For the best health benefit, consume raw chocolate without added dairy products or artificial sweeteners. Try these recipes:

6. Avocados, 7. Olives, and 8. Olive Oil – The high level of monounsaturated fats in avocados, olives, and olive oil protect against heart disease and diabetes and can increase your good cholesterol and decrease your bad cholesterol. Check out the Mediterranean Diet for more on these foods and their health benefits. Try these recipes:

9. Goji Berries – goji berries keep your arteries from narrowing and prevent cholesterol from oxidizing and sticking to the inside or causing blood clots. Research from China found that goji berries can increase the production of an antioxidant called superoxide dismutase (SOD) which prevents cholesterol oxidation. Try these recipes:

10. Flaxseed and Flaxseed Oil – flaxseed oil is a great vegetarian choice for a healthy fats supplement if you don’t want to take fish oil. Many experts agree that flaxseeds are a good choice to help maintain heart health and avoid heart disease and dangerous cholesterol levels. Try adding a spoonful of ground up flaxseed to your favorite smoothies or baked goods. You can substitute 3 tbsp. ground flax seeds for 1 tbsp. butter/margarine.

11. 100% Cranberry-Grape Juice – antioxidants in red and purple juices slow down LDL cholesterol oxidation and may raise levels of HDL cholesterol. Read my article “Did We Forget About Cranberries?” and try the recipe below with extra grape juice:

Unsweetened herbal tea at Josie's12. Soy Foods (such as tempeh, tofu, or edamame) – try eating high-quality soy foods instead of meat. Soy foods may not improve your cholesterol levels on their own, but they will give you a healthy dose of protein and will cut out artery-clogging dietary cholesterol found in meat. Try these recipes:

13. Pomegranate Juice – a National Academy of Sciences study showed that pomegranate juice reduces cholesterol plaque buildup and increases nitric oxide production (nitric oxide helps reduce arterial plaque), making it a perfect cholesterol lowering food. It’s also been shown to improve fertility.

14. Leafy Greens – leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale are loaded with fiber and lutein, a carotenoid which has been found to reduce LDL cholesterol particles and help prevent heart disease with its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant powers. Try these recipes:

You might be a person who is predisposed to high cholesterol, or maybe your diet could use a shape-up. Here are a few key points on cholesterol that I try to focus on:

  • Cholesterol is not the sole reason people have heart disease, but it’s definitely a contributing factor. Experts agree that dietary cholesterol raises blood cholesterol and that high blood cholesterol levels increase your risk for heart disease.
  • Everyone should have their cholesterol checked-it doesn’t matter if you are young/old, female/male, or thin/overweight.
  • While there are many factors at play (such as family history, stress level, physical activity level, and age), your diet has a tremendous influence on the amount of cholesterol in your blood and more importantly, on your risk for life-threatening diseases.

See also:

What is Good Cholesterol and How Do I Improve It?

What is Bad Cholesterol and How Do I Improve It?

3 Diets that Fight Cholesterol

Dairy Substitutes

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{ 161 comments }

Ana L. May 1, 2013 at 5:37 am

8 out of 14 things, I would happily include them in my diet plan.

Julia M. May 1, 2013 at 7:13 am

Now cholesterol will be no more, if we implement on your tips.Your efforts for this contribution are highly appreciable.

Emilia R. May 1, 2013 at 7:22 am

Much better list of foods than the previous one.

Olivia E. May 1, 2013 at 7:32 am

High cholesterol level make people vulnerable to heart diseases.

Rebecca J. May 1, 2013 at 7:39 am

Burn cholesterol to reduce fat.

Albert R. May 1, 2013 at 8:23 am

Most of the people at the old age die because of cholesterol, but if they apply these tips in their daily life diet, i don’t think so they will suffer from cholesterol.

Angelina Bob May 8, 2013 at 3:29 am

I prefer eating such food which helps me lower my cholesterol level. I prefer green vegetables and salads for optimum health and vitality. Moreover, I never compromise on the quality of my regular food intake. I love eating nuts and dry fruits, but usually keep it in a certain limit to avoid excessive at and cholesterol.

Andrew May 26, 2013 at 11:30 pm

Pretty sweeping statement by Albert R above which i have to disagree with.
Most people die at old age of degenerative diseases rather than the infections of old like typhoid, smallpox etc. We’ve done a pretty good job at anti biotic shooting the hell out of them.
Old people tend to die of complications of degenerative disease – alzeimers, diabetes and heart disease of which cholesterol is only one facet.
Cholesterol is certainly a consideration and is used as a marker in assessing cardiac risk, along with others such as obesity and fitness.

jessie smith October 3, 2013 at 4:39 am

will try some of your suggestions and see how I get on

Liz January 13, 2014 at 2:31 pm

To all of the above about old people and death. Most old people tend to die because it’s what happens. We all have to die. Period.

We just want to go with as little complications as possible so that it’s quick…less painful and doesn’t drain the account which could make our loved ones suffer.
Even then we can’t control that.

Thanks for the cholesterol food tips!
I will use them to hopefully stay as healthy as possible so that I can continue to have fun until the day I die.

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