Top 12 Ways to Naturally Control Cholesterol

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Cholesterol, that waxy little fat molecule,  is important to our bodies in the right amount. Cholesterol has several functions in the body including the building of cell walls and the production of bile acids to aid indigestion. Cholesterol allows the body to make vitamin D and important hormones such as estrogen and testosterone. Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs but your liver is really the king of cholesterol production. Make sense of your cholesterol level.

If your doctor has told you that you need to lower your cholesterol but you aren’t sure where to start, then consider adding these cholesterol lowering foods to your diet today.

 

1. Tea

Tea has gotten a lot of press lately for its cancer fighting antioxidants, but it’s also great at lowering the bad (LDL) cholesterol levels in the blood. Research conducted through the USDA has shown that black tea can lower cholesterol by as much as 10 percent in just 3 weeks. Larger studies show that tea can help lower your risk of heart disease. So consider switching out your coffee habit and think like the English do by setting up the tea tray!

 

2. Beans

OK, so they may make you toot, but they are really, really good for your heart too! Arizona State University Polytechnic found that when you add just a ½ cup of beans to a typical soup, it lowered total cholesterol by up to 8 percent. The key here is fiber. Fiber slows the amount of cholesterol absorbed, as well as  the rate at which cholesterol is absorbed from foods. Just about any type of bean will work. Try some kidney, black, or pinto beans, as these have the highest level of fiber for your bean buck.

 

3. Garlic

Garlic is has long been known to improve heart health. It prevents blood clots, lowers blood pressure, protects the body from infections, and lowers cholesterol levels. Research has even found that it can help to stop artery-clogging plaque while it is still in its earliest stages by stopping cholesterol particles from sticking to the walls of the arteries. Try eating a minimum of two slightly crushed cloves each day.

 

4. Avocado

Avocados are a super source of monounsaturated fats, a type of fat that is actually heart healthy. Monounsaturated fats raise your good cholesterol levels (HDL) but lower the bad type of cholesterol (LDL). More than any other fruit, avocados have cholesterol busting beat-sitosterol, which is a plant based type of fat that stops a certain level of cholesterol from being absorbed from food. Just a half an avocado in your salad can go a long way toward lowering your overall cholesterol levels. Read about amazing things you never imagined about avocados.

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5. Oatmeal

If you are looking for ways to lower your cholesterol easily, then change your breakfast to oatmeal! Two servings of oatmeal each day can lower your bad (LDL) cholesterol by as much as 5.3 percent in only 6 weeks’ time. The substance in oats that helps lower cholesterol is beta-glucan. It absorbs that bad cholesterol so your body can eliminate it.

 

6. Red Wine

It’s time to drink to your health! High fiber grapes, such as Tempranillo red grapes, can have a significant effect on your cholesterol levels. A study conducted in Spain showed that when people consumed supplements from red grapes (the same grapes as used in wine) their bad cholesterol levels dropped by 9 percent! This study was conducted at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. In fact, researchers found that those who had very high cholesterol levels when they began this study had as much as a 12 percent decrease in their LDL levels.

 

7. Nuts

This is a great way to get cracking on lowering your cholesterol! The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study which showed that subjects who consumed 1.5 ounces of walnuts 6 days a week for a period of 4 weeks ended up lowering their total cholesterol levels by 5.4 percent and LDL cholesterol by an incredible 9.3 percent! Cashews and almonds are also good choices. Eat them in moderation, however, as they are high in calories. All it takes is 1 to 1.5 ounces each day to make a dent in your cholesterol.

 

8. Fatty Fish

Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the natural health wonders from Mother Nature. These vital fatty acids have been shown again and again to offer protection from heart disease, dementia, joint pain, and other types of diseases. Loma Linda University found that when saturated fats were replaced with omega-3, cholesterol levels were lowered by as much as 4 percent. You can find omega-3s in many types of cold water, fatty fish such a sardines, herring, and wild salmon.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

9. Chocolate

And you thought lowering your cholesterol was going to mean a boring diet! Chocolate has powerful antioxidants that help to increase HDL (good) cholesterol in the body. AJCN published a 2007 study which showed that when subjects were given cocoa powder over a period of 12 weeks, their good cholesterol levels were increased by 24 percent. Dark or bittersweet chocolate are the most heart healthy kind, having as much as 3 times the antioxidants that stop blood platelets from clotting and helps to keep your arteries clear.

 

10. Olive Oil

Like avocados, olive oil is full of healthy monounsaturated fats which lower bad cholesterol levels. Use it to marinate your meats, make your own salad dressings, and roast veggies.

 

11. Spinach

This tasty green contains tons of lutein, which not only improves eyesight, it can also help to protect your from heart attacks. Just a half cup of lutein rich foods, such as spinach and Swiss chard can help the walls of your arteries simply slip off those cholesterol chains which clog them up.

 

SEE ALSO: 5 Steps To Reduce Cholesterol Infographic

12. Increase Your Complex Carbs

The main emphasis of your diet should be fruits and vegetables and whole grains. This means eating a mostly plant based diet with moderate to small amounts of meat. Be sure you eat plenty of vegetables and water soluble fiber such as oat bran and fruit. These types of complex carbs offer your body plenty of the healthy fiber that acts like a broom, sweeping cholesterol out of the body.