You can lower your cholesterol by including certain foods in your diet. These foods include oat, fish having omega 3, nuts, foods fortified with plant sterols, and soy. Studies show that these foods can lower your cholesterol. These foods can be included in your diet for consumption on a regular basis.
Soluble fiber helps reducing cholesterol levels. Oatmeal and oat bran contain high amounts of soluble fiber. The soluble fiber lowers the bad cholesterol, also known as LDL or Low-Density Lipoprotein. At the same time, the soluble fiber does not affect the level of good cholesterol, known as HDL or High-Density Lipoprotein. The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) recognized the soluble fiber called beta-glucan as a substance that would reduce the risk of heart diseases. This fiber is contained in oat products. The food products in which oat bran and rolled oats, or oat flour are used, have the same attributes. To make it effective, you should take soluble fiber to the extent of at least 5 – 10 grams a day. It can decrease LDL cholesterol by up to 5%. In some studies, it was observed that it can lower LDL cholesterol by up to 23%. About 3 grams of soluble fiber is available in one bowl of oatmeal. You can also include in your diet soluble fiber through kidney beans, psyllium, barley, and apples.
Omega 3 fatty acid is known for lowering LDL cholesterol. Fish contains omega 3, a fatty acid. It also increases HDL cholesterol. Omega 3 plays an effective role in lowering triglycerides. The American Heart Association recommends an intake of fish 2 times a week as a minimum. Mackerel, sardines, salmon, and trout are selective fishes for this purpose. You can also take omega-3 oil such as EPA and DHA as supplements but under your doctor’s supervision.
Nuts are rich in fiber. They also contain phytonutrients, vitamin E, and selenium. Snacks made of nuts are good in taste and rich in plant sterol. They also contain monosaturated fats which can lower LDL cholesterol. The FDA has approved a health claim for certain nuts including almonds, walnuts, and peanuts. Nuts are high in calories. Therefore you should limit your intake to around 1.5 ounces a day. The best idea is to substitute meat products with nuts.
Plants have sterols that are very effective in blocking cholesterol absorption. Including sterols-fortified items daily can reduce 10 – 15% of LDL cholesterol. If you have high cholesterol your intake of sterols should be 2 grams a day. Fortified foods such as orange juice, functional cookies, and margarine spread contain sterols. However, the American Heart Association recommends sterols only for people having high LDL cholesterol.
Soy provides health benefits such as the prevention of heart diseases. The FDA has approved a soy health claim, but the AHA does not recommend it for lowering your cholesterol. However, you need not avoid soy totally. Studies have shown that it can lower LDL cholesterol by 3%. Soy need not be excluded from your diet as it contains vitamins, fiber, polyunsaturated fats, and minerals. The AHA, however, has considered soy products as substitutes for meats.