Foods That Lower Cholesterol
Although only 20% of cholesterol comes directly from dietary intake, excessive consumption of foods high in saturated fats can cause the liver to produce more cholesterol and thereby raise your cholesterol level. The good news is that some foods can actually have the opposite effect and can help to lower your cholesterol level.
Nuts such as almonds and walnuts that have high amount of mono unsaturated or polyunsaturated, also help lowering cholesterol.
Oats and Barley
In lowering cholesterol, oats and barley have played a critical role. These foods have a soluble fiber known as Beta Glucan, which is the key, in how they lower the cholesterol. To gain the intended cholesterol lowering effect, you have to consume anywhere between two and four cups of dry oat or barley cereal each day.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables such as apples, citrus fruit, berries, carrots, apricots, cabbage, sweet potatoes are high in soluble fiber and pectin both shown to be helpful in lowering cholesterol. At least five servings a day is recommended to benefit the full effect.
Flaxseed provides alpha-linolenic acid a poly-unsaturated fat which has been shown to lower cholesterol while providing needed soluble fiber.
Olive oil is one of the mono-saturated fats and studies have shown that it lowers blood cholesterol. Extra virgin olive oil is suggested to be better than other varieties.
According to researchers, fish containing a omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids make the blood more slippery and less likely to clot in addition to lowering blood cholesterol. Salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring and fresh tuna are good examples of the types of fish you should try to incorporate into your diet.
Cholesterol Lowering Margarine
Cholesterol lowering margarines have recently been introduced to the market. Benecol® is one of the products that has been confirmed to lower cholesterol - by on average 10% - if used as recommended. In addition, this margarine does not affect your HDL, or "good" cholesterol. Other products include Take Control® margarine and salad dressings that are made from plant sterols - which are extracted from soybeans. These sterols trick your intestine into thinking they are cholesterol and when it tries to absorb them, it is not able to, therefore blocking cholesterol.
The cholesterol lowering properties of soy protein were confirmed when the US FDA approved the health claim regarding its beneficial effects on the risk of developing heart disease. In order to obtain the full benefit, you must consume a minimum of four 6.25 grams soy protein servings daily – a total intake of 25 grams per day.
Many food manufacturers have now introduced soy beverages and energy bars containing up to 10 to 20 grams of soy protein. Use of soy protein in the diet has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels by 15-25%.