Best Foods to Lower Cholesterol – 10 Foods that Act Better than Drugs!
Typically, when cholesterol levels are high and are sinister enough to bring about a significantly increased risk of heart related conditions or sudden death from strokes and heart attacks, medications are used to lower cholesterol fast. Drugs like statins and fibrates are among some of the most common, and they are often used directly alongside lifestyle changes combined with a cholesterol diet in order to increase the chances to successfully lower cholesterol fast. This dual approach is necessary to promote better overall health and a reduced risk over time for heart related illnesses. And, with the abundantly powerful compounds found in nature, some of which rival prescription medications, there is no reason not to include some picks from our top ten list of the best cholesterol lowering edibles! Here they are – best foods to lower cholesterol better than the drugs.
1. Sterol Fortified Foods: Believe it or not, there are actually some foods that contain additives that are proven to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood. Plant sterols and stanols, which are found in nature and lower cholesterol naturally, have been approved for addition to products like margarine and granola bars. Harvard University points out that a ten percent reduction in LDL levels can be achieved by eating just two grams daily.
2. Fish: We all now know that Omega-3 fatty acid foods like many types of fish can contribute to heart health and also reduce the risk of sudden death from heart attacks. Because fish serves as a great protein substitute for higher cholesterol fare, this combined with the LDL cholesterol reducing power of some fishes make them ideal foods to lower cholesterol (and, they also contain nutrients that are very important to the body too).
3. Soluble Fiber Sources: It is very easy to add oatmeal to the top ten list of beneficial foods to lower cholesterol and no doubt oatmeal is deserving of a place. However, rather than give oatmeal all the credit, instead consider all sources of soluble fiber which have not only been proven to reduce cholesterol levels, but also contribute to lower body weight (a fact alone that can have a dramatic impact on LDL cholesterol numbers). Harvard Medical School also points to both okra and eggplant as additional sources.
4. Soy Milk: There is little question that for those concerned about saturated fat intake which can lead to higher cholesterol levels, that soy milk is a very good replacement option. While the misconceptions about dairy milk in terms of their effects on cholesterol may be somewhat unfounded, the link between soy milk and cholesterol has been fairly well proven. Harvard University explains that 25 grams of soy protein daily may reduce LDL levels by between 5 and 6 percent.
5. Artichokes: Dr. Weil cites a study that found extract of artichokes contributed to an over 20% decrease in LDL cholesterol in participants over a six week period. Not only is this news utterly staggering in terms of the artichoke’s potential use among foods to lower cholesterol, it also provides another reason to enjoy the odd looking although nutrient packed vegetable.
6. Avocados: Avocados are known for their ability to boost the absorption properties of other ingested nutrients, however as AARP notes, there is another secret to their body benefits in terms of oleic acid. This interesting compound has been shown to boost good cholesterol while lowering bad cholesterol at the same time.
7. Mushrooms: It is not often that the lowly fungus that adorns pizzas and sizzling steaks everywhere gets much attention, but in terms of foods to lower cholesterol, the mushroom may just be one of the most frequently passed over picks. According to studies conducted by University of Illinois, mushrooms contain dietary fibers like chitin and beta-glutan that can lower cholesterol and keep hearts healthy. Mushrooms are also an excellent source of niacin. Behind animal products like beef and chicken, mushrooms are at the top of the line in terms of niacin content. While niacin is an important part of many medicines used to lower cholesterol, it is impossible to get enough from the diet to have an effect equal to the medication form. However, at 38% of the recommended daily value per one cup, mushrooms are certainly trying hard to compete.
8. Orange Juice: One of the simplest ways to lower cholesterol levels for men and women may just start with an early morning beverage. Orange juice, according to Reader’s Digest, has the ability to reduce the levels of LDL in the bloods stream by 8 points on average but as much as 13% in some people. Over another month long study, participants enjoyed improved ratios of good and bad cholesterol as well as a boost in HDL of 21%. In terms of results, orange juice is one of the best foods to lower cholesterol, especially those fortified with sterols and stanols as some brands are.
9. Hot Tea: One commonality that has been discovered among many cholesterol lowering foods is that their level of effectiveness seems to depend on just how high the cholesterol is of the consumer. Black tea is one example, where Reader’s Digest points out that those with mild to early moderate levels of elevated cholesterol were able to reduce their numbers when consuming four or five cups each day. Green tea has also been associated with foods to lower cholesterol, perhaps thanks to the tremendous effects of antioxidants found in the unfermented leaves.
10. Cinnamon: Though not necessarily a food on its own, the benefits of cinnamon have been found to rival those of cholesterol medications in one study recently performed by doctors in Pakistan. Reader’s Digest explains that just 6 grams daily (which is equal to a serving of ground cinnamon as small as ½ a tablespoon) was enough to shave nearly thirty percent off of cholesterol levels in diabetics. Since cinnamon can so readily be added to other foods to lower cholesterol like meats, beverages and fruits and veggies, it is a powerhouse selection both for its individual and combined merits.