Those who are both overweight and a normal healthy weight may suffer from high cholesterol.
Sometimes high cholesterol is purely genetic and is hard to modify by changing diet and exercise. Others may find that a change in diet and an increase in cardiovascular exercise helps to lower their levels.
Most would know what foods are unhealthy, so now I’ll review the foods that may be likely to help lower cholesterol.
Cholesterol Lowering Foods
- Soy Protein: Foods like edamame, tofu, soymilk, and soy-based meat alternatives have been shown to slightly decrease your LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol). Studies have shown this to be more significant when you consume about 25 grams of a soy protein.
- High Fiber Grains: Barley, bran, and oats are the top grains for reducing cholesterol. An easy way to eat more of these in is to have oatmeal in the morning or cook a side dish of barley for dinner.
- Flaxseed: This tiny seed is so fibrous, full of soluble fiber and healthy fats that it is a great addition to any diet. All of these soluble fibers in the whole grains and seeds helps to flush out bad cholesterol.
- Legumes: Beans and lentils are also excellent sources of fiber.
- Root Vegetables: Some of these slightly starchier vegetables like radishes, carrots, and sweet potatoes contain higher amounts of soluble fiber compared to other vegetables.
- Plant Sterols and Stanols: Studies have been strong showing that plant sterols and stanols can help to reduce cholesterol. You can find sterols and stanols in some margarine like Smart Balance and some companies are now making fortified granola bars and fortified orange juice.
- Fruit: Dried fruit like prunes have been shown to help keep the heart healthy.
Foods to Avoid
Don’t forget to limit foods high in saturated fat like red meats, full fat cheese, and creamy condiments. It is important to limit trans fat as well since it can actually increase your cholesterol and LDL. Cutting out added sugars in your diet would also help to keep your triglycerides low, and therefore, help your cholesterol levels.
Finally, don’t forget to have your cholesterol checked yearly and visit with your doctor to see if your diet and exercise routines are enough to keep your cholesterol levels healthy.