10 cholesterol lowering foods
If you have to introduce foods into your diet to reduce cholesterol the range is probably wider than you imagine and incorporating them into a healthy eating plan is not as difficult as it may first seem. The foods cover the entire spectrum of food from nuts to red wine and by nature, most are relatively healthy. Watch out for upping your calorie intake. You are looking to lower your cholesterol not add to the problem by gaining weight so as with all foods, even those good for you, moderation and a balanced diet is still the most important factor.
1. Good fats:
Some fats and oils can actually help to lower cholesterol. Plant fats found in nuts and seeds, sunflower and safflower oil, canola and rice bran oil all help to reduced LDL cholesterol. Fat found in olives and olive oil and oily fish can also lower cholesterol.
Legumes such as chickpeas, kidney beans, cannellini beans, soy beans and lentils are all great cholesterol lowering foods that are high in fibre. They can be bought dry and soaked overnight before cooking, or bought in cans and heated.
Quinoa is a cholesterol-lowing seed that you can use instead of pasta or rice. You can cook it the same way as rice with the absorption method. Use one cup quinoa to two cups water and bring to the boil before reducing to a simmer. Cover the saucepan and cook for 15 minutes. Quinoa has a slightly nutty flavour.
4. Red wine:
Studies have found that a glass of red wine each night may assist in increasing your HDL cholesterol levels. Recent studies have found that red wine contains saponin, which helps to lower bad LDL cholesterol, especially syrah and red zinfandel varieties.
Diets high in vegetables have been shown to lower cholesterol levels. Consider becoming a vegetarian for a few months to lower your cholesterol quickly, or cut down on your meat intake and increase your vegetable intake to include a wide range of fibrous vegetables. Eat five or more serves of vegetables each day and, if you do eat meat, choose very lean cuts.
6. Food with fibre:
Foods that contain fibre are great for lowering your cholesterol. The best foods are those which contain water soluble fibre. Try oat bran, psyllium seeds, rice bran, wheat germ, gua gum and pectin. These foods form a gel that binds to the cholesterol in your intestines and allows you to excrete cholesterol instead of absorbing in into the bloodstream. Foods containing fiber also improve the levels of good HDL cholesterol while decreasing bad LDL cholesterol. Sprinkle a tablespoon of bran or psyllium seeds onto your breakfast cereal or add some into your homemade baking.
Garlic contains sulphur compounds and is thought to lower your cholesterol levels in a mild way. Include garlic in your daily diet by adding it to savoury dishes.
Like garlic, onions contain sulphur compounds that may have a positive effect in lowering your cholesterol levels. Eating a raw onion a day may actually increase your levels of good HDL cholesterol up to thirty percent, while lowering bad cholesterol levels.
9. Alfalfa sprouts:
Alfalfa sprouts contain saponin and have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and improve HDL cholesterol levels in the body. The chemicals and fibres in alfalfa stick to bad LDL cholesterol so that it doesn’t become deposited in the blood vessel walls, while it leaves good LDL cholesterol alone.
10. Soy products:
Food that contains soy protein and soy isoflavones has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol. Cholesterol lowering soy products include tofu, soy milk and the Indonesian food tempeh.