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Diet For High Cholesterol

Updated on July 6, 2011

Want to stay off medication and improve your heart's health? You don't need a major overhaul of your diet to fight bad cholesterol. Maybe you just need to modify your diet a little. Here are the 5 best foods to help your heart stay healthy.

#1 High Fiber Foods Such as Oat Meal and Oil Bran

Oatmeal is very effective in reducing the "bad cholesterol" (what doctors call LDL or low-density lipoprotein). The secret weapon against LDL found in oatmeal is called "soluble fiber".

Soluble fiber reduces the amount of cholesterol that gets absorbed into your blood. It doesn't take a lot of soluble fiber to be effective. You just need only 5 to 10 grams everyday. You can get about 6 grams of soluble fiber from 1.5 cups of oatmeal. 

Here are other good sources of soluble fiber:

  • prunes
  • pears
  • apples
  • kidney beans
Mix oatmeal or oat bran with some fruits such as bananas and you should get enough soluble fiber to get protected for an entire day. 

#2 Omega 3 Fatty Acids Found In Fish

You probably know that Omega-3 fatty acids are good for your heart. They help your heart by reducing blood pressure and lessen the likelihood of blood clots. Omega-3 fatty acids are also known to reduce the risk of sudden death among those who already have heart problems. 

Fish is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids. According to doctors, we should have at least 2 servings of fish every week. Below are the kinds of fish with the highest levels of Omega-3 fatty acids.

  • Halibut
  • Albacore tuna
  • Mackerel
  • Salmon
  • Lake trout
  • Herring
  • Sardines

Note that baking or grilling is the best way to cook fish so you don't add unhealthy fats in the cooking process. 

If you're not a fish lover, you can get your dose of Omega-3 fatty acids from canola oil or ground flaxseed although not as much as what you'll get from fatty fish. Omega-3 or fish oil supplement are also available in the market. 

Good for your heart.
Good for your heart.

#3 Nuts

While oatmeal hinders the absorption of bad cholesterol into your blood stream, these help reduce cholesterol that's already in the blood. Aside from that, they also help keep your blood vessels healthy because of their high polyunsaturated fatty acid content.

However, remember that nuts also contain a lot of carbohydrates so don't eat too much of it or you'll gain weight. Nuts are best consumed without salt or coating.

A handful of nuts every day is the recommended amount by the FDA to reduce the risk of heat attacks. You can also use nuts in salads instead of croutons or cheese so don't get to eat too much nuts.

Almonds, pecans, some pine nuts, pistachio nuts, walnuts, peanuts, and hazelnuts, are just a few examples of nuts that could help protect your heart from bad cholesterol.

#4 Olive Oil

Olive oil is rich in powerful antioxidants that do not damage the "good cholesterol" (HDL) while reducing the bad cholesterol. 

Two tablespoons of olive oil a day should be enough for you to get the benefits. (That's about 23 grams.)

There are several ways you can incorporate olive oil in your diet. You can use it in a marinate. You can saute vegetables in olive oil. It can be used as salad dressing when mixed with vinegar. Just be careful that you don't use more than the recommended amount. Olive oil is packed with calories. 

Note that the less processed the olive oil, the more antioxidants are retained. Use virgin olive oil when available. You can buy virgin olive oil online. 

#5 Plant Sterols or Stanols Fortified Foods

Sterols and Stanols are substances in plants that are discovered to block the entry of bad cholesterol into your system. All you need is only 2 grams of plant sterols to daily to effectively reduce cholesterol by 10 percent. 

Yogurt drinks, orange juice and margarines are just some examples of plant sterol fortified food products. An 8-ounce sterol fortified orange juice should a day should be enough for you to enjoy the benefits. 

While plant sterols and stanols block the bad cholesterol, they don't seem to harm the good cholesterol. 

Thank for reading this hub. And live healthy lives!


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    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Good advice! Thanks!

    • Kudlit profile image

      Kudlit 7 years ago from Laguna

      Thanks for dropping by Dr. Sorensson! I'm honored.

    • msorensson profile image

      msorensson 7 years ago

      It depends on what the cause of elevated cholesterol is. I recommend high fiber diet supplement for everyone.

      Thank you for the selection of foods presented.