10 Top Foods to Help You Fight High Cholesterol
Close to 107 million U.S. adults have cholesterol levels
of 200 mg/dL or higher, a level that the American Heart Association
says increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. At least
12 million of these people are taking statin drugs to lower
their cholesterol levels, but there are more natural options
According to the American Heart Association, "You can
reduce cholesterol in your blood by eating healthful foods,
losing weight if you need to and exercising." What follows
is a listing of the most potent foods to add to your diet
if you want to fight high cholesterol and drive your levels
down using your diet as a primary tool.
Along with eating healthy, the American Heart Association
recommends regular exercise to help reduce your cholesterol.
1. Shitake Mushrooms
The active component in shitake mushrooms--eritadenine--has
been found to lower cholesterol levels in animal studies.
The more eritadenine the animals received, the more their
cholesterol levels dropped.
A study in the April 2004 issue of Circulation found that
were substituted for about one-third of the calories supplied
by olives and other monounsaturated fats in the Mediterranean
diet, total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol were reduced.
Walnuts contain the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, which
are known to be excellent for the heart.
3. Uncooked Soy
A new study found that eating two servings of soy protein
a day can lower cholesterol by up to 9 percent--but it must
be uncooked to have benefit. "Soy protein increases the
activity of low-density lipoprotein receptors primarily on
the liver that clears it from the body. Eating soy protein
increases the activity of these enzymes that break down the
cholesterol," said study author James Anderson, a scientist
at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.
Good soy sources would be edamame
or soy nuts. "Soy-fortified muffins, cereals or nutritional
bars in which the soy protein was baked at high temperatures
do not provide the benefit," Anderson said.
Researchers with the U.S. Department of Agriculture have
identified an antioxidant in blueberries called pterostilbene
(it's similar to resveratrol, the antioxidant found in grapes
and red wine). This compound has effectively lowered cholesterol
levels in animal studies.
This fish is a particularly good source of omega-3 fatty
acids, which are known to lower LDL cholesterol while raising
the good (HDL) kind.
Yes, walnuts are high in fat, but it's the good monounsaturated
kind, which will actually help to lower your LDL cholesterol.
Numerous studies have demonstrated that eating garlic regularly
reduces LDL cholesterol and raises HDL levels.
Avocados are rich in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat known
to help lower cholesterol. In fact, one study found that people
with moderately high cholesterol levels who ate a diet high
in avocados for one week had significant drops in total and
LDL cholesterol levels, and an 11 percent increase in the
good HDL cholesterol.
8. Black Beans
Black beans and other legumes are high in dietary
fiber, which is an excellent cholesterol fighter.
Rich in both pectin and fiber, along with powerful antioxidants,
including quercetin, catechin, phloridzin and chlorogenic
acid, apples help lower bad cholesterol while raising the
10. Dark Green, Leafy Vegetables
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's
Family Heart Study, participants who ate four or more servings
of fruits and vegetables a day had significantly lower levels
of LDL cholesterol than those who ate fewer servings. Among
the most powerful veggies are the dark green, leafy variety,
such as spinach, kale, collard greens and Swiss chard.
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