15 Super Foods That Naturally Lower Cholesterol (Can’t Get Enough Of #14!)

high cholesterol sign

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Has your doctor told you that your cholesterol level is too high? Medically, high cholesterol is known as hypercholesterolemia, and it is estimated that more than one third of all Americans suffer from high LDL (which is the bad type) cholesterol levels.

Although people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities can have high cholesterol, there are certain factors that put you at a higher risk, such as obesity, a poor diet, diabetes, a sedentary lifestyle, and hypothyroidism. Genetics is the one factor that is out of your control; however, almost everything else is completely within your control.

Since high cholesterol has no symptoms, you should get your cholesterol levels checked whenever you go in for a physical or according to what your doctor recommends.

If not caught in time, high cholesterol levels can lead to serious, even life threatening complications, such as heart disease, chest pain, stroke, or heart attacks.

You can naturally lower cholesterol levels, without drugs, simply by making healthy changes to your diet and lifestyle.

Although simply changing your diet won’t do everything, it is certainly a large part of the issue and can prevent you from a lifetime of medication.

Keep reading and find out the 15 best super foods you should be eating more of to lower high cholesterol levels.

 

1. Tomatoes

Tomatoes don’t get nearly the attention they deserve when it comes to health benefits. At one time, people even believed that eating tomatoes could kill them! Now, we know that tomatoes have tons of health benefits, mainly from the high amount of lycopene they contain. Tomatoes are known to lower LDL cholesterol, as well as triglycerides, which is why you see tomatoes on those heart healthy diets. One of the great things about tomatoes is that they release more lycopene when you cook them, but don’t let that stop you from eating plenty of raw ones in salads or on sandwiches.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

2. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is one of the best cholesterol-fighting foods around! Have a bowl of healthy oatmeal for breakfast, and lower your cholesterol the tasty way! Oatmeal reduces cholesterol levels by absorbing it right from your blood. The fiber in oatmeal also helps keep you feeling full. Eating oatmeal has been shown to be connected to a lower risk of diabetes and heart disease. Feel free to add oatmeal to smoothies, baked goods, or you could even try it for dessert as a change of pace.

 

3. Almonds

We think almonds should be named as best snack food of the 21st century! A study published in Nutrition Review in 2011 found that eating tree nuts, such as almonds, reduced LDL cholesterol by as much as 19 percent. Another study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association in early 2015, also found that almonds were a great way to prevent the beginnings of cardio-metabolic disease. Eat just a handful each day for tons of cholesterol lowering power in a big, crunchy way.

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4. Spinach

Well, Popeye knew that spinach was healthy but he probably didn’t know that it could lower cholesterol levels! This is one of those “helps whatever ails you” foods. Add more spinach to your diet, and watch those cholesterol numbers drop! Most leafy greens, including Swiss chard, turnip greens, and kale, are good for what ails you.

 

5. Oranges

You probably thought that foods that lower cholesterol was going to be bland or gross, didn’t you?! Sweet, juicy oranges are a true super food that can lower cholesterol, and those are neither bland nor gross! The American Society for Clinical Nutrition published a study in their journal in 2000 which found that subjects who consumed orange juice each day had improved blood lipid profiles than those who did not indulge. You can eat two or three oranges each day, or drink two glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice to naturally lower your cholesterol levels.

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Organic Apples In Summer Grass

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6. Apples

This list gets tastier all the time! Who doesn’t love the fresh, crisp taste of apples? Perhaps apples’ cholesterol lowering compounds are the reason people say that an apple a day keeps the doctor away? Apples are full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols, which provide support for almost every organ in the body. Enjoy two apples of your choice each day for a super food that will lower your cholesterol and taste good doing it!

 

7. Fatty Fish

Salmon, trout, mackerel and anchovies all contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which can protect you from high levels of cholesterol. Omega-3 fatty acids lower triglycerides and improve the good (HDL) cholesterol in the body. All of this can lead to better heart health. The best fish to eat are the cold water fatty species, and make sure you eat at least two servings each week. You can also take an omega-3 supplement, but speak with your doctor first about the proper dosage for your unique situation.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

8. Kale

Like spinach, kale helps with cholesterol in several ways. Kale is high in lutein, while containing quite a bit of fiber. Lutein has been shown to lower the bad cholesterol (LDL) in the body while it prevents cholesterol from accumulating. With so many other health benefits, lowering cholesterol levels is the cherry on top! Add more kale to your life, and see what the excitement over kale is all about!

 

9. Soy Beans

Soy beans and other products containing soy (except for soy-based cooking oils) are a complete plant based protein that can really help lower cholesterol levels. Although it might not accomplish as much as perhaps spinach or oatmeal can, soy does still lower LDL cholesterol in the body. It has low levels of saturated fat, plenty of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and high levels of polyunsaturated fats. The Journal of American College of Nutrition published a study in 2011 which found that eating at least one serving of soy protein each day had a definite impact on serum lipoprotein risk factors when dealing with heart disease.

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Chopped chocolate

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10. Dark Chocolate

We knew you would love this list! Dark chocolate has been shown in study after study to reduce LDL cholesterol and elevate HDL cholesterol in the body. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study in 2013 which found that dark chocolate contains a substance called theobromine, the active compound when it comes to increasing the good cholesterol in the blood. Dark chocolate also prevents blood platelets from sticking together — this will keep blood flowing smoothly, preventing the arteries from becoming clogged. Moderation is important here; you only need one or two ounces of dark chocolate, max, to get all the health benefits. Be certain that you are eating chocolate with at least 60 percent cocoa.

 

11. Green Tea

Green tea really is the king of all teas, is it not? Drinking two or more cups of freshly brewed green tea each day is one of the healthiest, and easiest, ways to reduce total cholesterol levels in the body. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition did a meta-analysis of more than 14 randomized, controlled studies in 2011 and found that green tea consumption lowered fasting serum and LDL cholesterol. Green tea also prevents plaque buildup in the arteries. Always brew your tea fresh at home — stuff sold in bottles and cans has been highly processed and has few, if any, health benefits.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

12. Garlic

If it has to do with a healthy heart, garlic seems to be on the list! This super food prevents blood clots, reduces blood pressure, and protects us from heart disease, all while reducing cholesterol levels. The National Institute of Integrative Medicine put out a press release in 2013 stating that garlic extract is a super safe, yet effective, alternative to chemical blood pressure and cholesterol lowering pharmaceuticals. Eat two or three slightly crushed, raw, organic cloves of garlic each day, and add more garlic to your meals to do a real number on kicking high cholesterol to the curb.

 

13. Olive Oil

This oil is super high in monounsaturated fats which can naturally lower LDL cholesterol levels. Once cholesterol is lower, the risk of stroke or heart attack is also reduced. Olive oil is rich in vitamin E, which is good for the health of the brain as well!

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Blueberries with leaves on a wooden table. Studio isolated.

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14. Blueberries

Lovely, delicious, delightful blueberries! You cannot go wrong eating more of them! Rich in antioxidants, blueberries are loaded with more fiber than you might know. They also contain a special compound called pterostilbene, which has been shown in studies to help the body metabolize cholesterol. It can lower both triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. It makes sense — now more than ever — to keep a bag of frozen blueberries in your freezer at all times so you can add some of those luscious berries to everything!

 

READ ALSO: 12 Best Herbs to Lower Cholesterol and Beat Heart Disease!

 

15. Avocados

Like olive oil, avocados are a great source of those healthy monounsaturated fats which lower cholesterol in the blood. Monounsaturated fats also increase the good (HDL) type of cholesterol. Avocados are rich in fiber, B-complex vitamins, vitamin K (which is important for blood clotting) and they are a good source of protein. Guacamole, anyone?

Add more superfoods to your daily diet, and you can avoid the pharmaceutical drugs that have so many nasty side effects.

References:

www.ajcn.nutrition.org

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov