The cholesterol in blood comes from two main sources: the foods we eat and what we manufacture. Cholesterol levels that are too high or too low in the blood can be a very dangerous factor, often leading to a heart attack or a stroke. There are many people who take statin drugs to reduce their cholesterol. However, there are many natural foods that you can eat to help lower cholesterol safely and naturally without the use of dangerous statin drugs. You may notice a substantial improvement in your cholesterol level once you begin consuming these whole foods on a daily basis.
Here is a list of the top 10 natural foods to help maintain a healthy cholesterol level in the body.
- Oat bran and brown rice bran are the best foods for reducing cholesterol. They are rich in soluble fiber, thereby lowers cholesterol levels by binding fats and heavy metals.
- Blueberries (organic) alone may help lower cholesterol as effectively as statin drugs! Berries, in general, help prevent oxidation of bad cholesterol and they are super abundant in antioxidants.
- Fish is a good source of protein and omega 3 fatty acids, which has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol. Omega 3 fatty acids also help to lower triglyceride levels.
- Garlic contains allicin and can have a powerful antioxidant effect. Lowers cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
- Apples contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. Apple’s two kinds of fiber are useful for reducing cholesterol levels and for decreasing your risk of hardening of the arteries, stroke, and heart attack. Apple’s insoluble fiber works to remove LDL from the body, while apple’s fiber pectin reduces the amount of LDL cholesterol made in the liver.
- Nuts are abundant in fiber, phytonutrients and antioxidants such as vitamin E and selenium. Nuts also contain plant sterols and the healthy fats (mono-and polyunsaturated).
- Beans are high in soluble fiber; lowers the bad cholesterol and raises the good cholesterol. Other foods high in soluble fiber include lentils, peas, and ground flaxseeds.
- Foods with Plant Sterols (or stanols) are powerful phytosterols found in plant membranes that may block cholesterol absorption. Sterols are found naturally in several kinds of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, cereals, legumes, and vegetable oils.
- Olive oil has been known to reduce LDLs, raise HDLs, and is rich in antioxidants.
- Soy protein –studies show that a total daily intake of 25 grams of soy protein significantly lowers LDL cholesterol levels. Soy has a high amount of polyunsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Soy products are also a great replacement for animal products.
Last but not least, it’s important to keep in mind that cholesterol is found only in animal products, not plant foods. Therefore, eating fewer animal foods and more plant foods will lower the blood cholesterol. If you already have high cholesterol, temporarily changing to a vegetarian diet with fish and non-fat dairy products, such as yogurt may help lower your levels quickly.
- The author, Robin Reichert is a natural health writer, AFPA Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, and is currently a graduate student of natural health at Clayton College. Lifelong learning and educating others about natural health is her passion.