Cholesterol Lowering Foods – Top 10 NEW Foods You Should Consider!
What is cholesterol? Well it is essentially fat (lipid) molecules that are found in the blood that are used by the body for many processes, including the building of cells. It is made in the liver and also comes from the foods we eat. While the body needs it for everyday functioning, high cholesterol is an important precursor to the later development of heart related conditions and illnesses. Medications are one of the most common methods by which high cholesterol is treated, but lifestyle changes can play an important role in the management of the condition and ultimately, a reduction in cholesterol numbers over time. One of the most important of these lifestyle changes revolves around diet, where foods high in bad fats and those that are heavily refined are avoided and cholesterol lowering foods are added.
In addition to an increase in physical activity, adding in foods that lower cholesterol naturally can have a massive impact on blood fat levels. In fact, even people that are on medications like statins are still often encouraged to consider making dietary changes to lower cholesterol naturally. Many foods contain compounds that influence cholesterol levels in positive ways, whether that occurs by reducing the amount of cholesterol the body produces, or by slowing its absorption. However, aside from the well known cholesterol lowering foods like oatmeal and nuts, it is important to understand that many foods contain compounds that may contain cholesterol, and there are some new foods that you may want to consider, even some that may be controversial.
We have compiled some interesting selections on our top ten list of new cholesterol lowering foods to consider. While they may seem shocking, if you think about natural cholesterol lowering supplements and the important compounds they contain, you begin to understand that it is not necessarily about good foods and bad foods; rather, foods that contain compounds that can have an impact on cholesterol levels and why. Natural cholesterol lowering supplements contain compounds that are found in many foods, and deriving them from natural sources allows for better absorption, better nutrition and a better idea of the amount of beneficial compounds you are actually ingesting.
Further, supplements are just supplements, and they do not contribute to everyday life. Having a wider variety of cholesterol lowering foods to choose from can mean that a more diverse menu is possible and thus eating your way to heart health becomes enjoyable. Supplements can not be prepared into a heart healthy salad; and, there are no low cholesterol recipes that include crushing capsules. Fresh and whole foods can be combined together to maximize their benefits into delicious meals.
Check out our top ten list of surprising foods that may lower cholesterol to see if there are some that you may be missing. We have included some that are a little better known, some that may be a surprise, and some that are downright controversial. However, regardless of what type of foods you decide to incorporate, remember that diet plays an important role in cholesterol management; but, not as important a role as solid medical advice and monitoring. A doctor should be consulted before any new cholesterol diet is started to ensure that it is safe and the choices being made are right for you and your current health status.
1. Spinach: It is likely not going to be at the top of the list for lowering cholesterol levels in children, however Popeye’s favorite green may be able to help the arteries keep cholesterol from clogging them up, according to Prevention magazine that notes the eye healthy Lutein spinach contains may be responsible.
2. Green Tea: Green tea has been associated with medicinal uses for hundreds of years and it is also one of the biggest purported natural weight loss aids discussed today. However, there may be yet another use for green tea, which Prevention explains may be related to cholesterol. It is possible that both for its role in slowing the oxidation of cholesterol and for its touted ability to lower LDL, green tea may be better suited among cholesterol lowering foods than it is among weight loss aids. New studies are being conducted to further examine the relationship between green tea and cholesterol and the results may be exciting!
3. Dark Chocolate! A diet that includes chocolate? Darn right! Dark chocolate (skip milk chocolate and outright avoid white chocolate) contains very specialized compounds that may contribute to heart health. Boasting triple the antioxidants of the commonplace kind used in candy bars, dark chocolate may be able to help prevent arterial clogging.
4. Ground Beef!! No, you did not skip to a new top ten list or redirect to a new page. New research is showing that certain ground beef may actually help to lower cholesterol. An article in Men’s Health explains that specifically beef that has been grass fed on organic pastures can contain a ratio of Omega-3’s to Omega-6’s that rivals the fatty acid ratio found in fish. This is far superior to commercially produced beef that is higher in fat, lower in nutrients and certainly a big no-no for those with high cholesterol.
5. Eggs!!! Eggs are typically found on lists of foods to avoid with high cholesterol; however, Men’s Health.com explains why they may also be considered cholesterol lowering foods in the near future. Citing a study in The Journal of Nutrition, Men’s Health explains that eggs may increase good (HDL) cholesterol, not bad. And, good cholesterol can help to keep bad cholesterol in check, possibly reducing the levels found in the body.
6. Avocado: Becoming a more common addition to supplements to reduce cholesterol, whole avocados themselves are also a good dietary choice for those with higher than desirable levels of LDL. In addition to their ability to boost HDL and thusly lower LDL, they also contain beta-sitosterol, which has been proven to lower cholesterol levels.
7. Garlic: Few beneficial foods lists can be composed without including garlic. This one is no exception! Quite simply, the unique compounds found in the bulbs have been shown to have dramatic benefits to the body. In terms of its place among cholesterol lowering foods, garlic has been a somewhat debated contender. But, Prevention.com points out that garlic may be able to help keep plaque from adhering itself to the walls of the arteries, possibly stopping clogs in the earliest of stages.
8. Eggplant: Along with its equally unusual looking relative, the okra, eggplant is considered useful in lowering cholesterol. Harvard University explains that the soluble fiber contained in the peculiar veggies is what makes them suitable for bringing down blood fat levels.
9. Buttery Spreads: There is no longer any fear in buttering up some toast or adding a hallmark square of the sweet, creamy stuff atop a pile of pancakes. Certain types of specialized non-hydrogenated vegetable spreads like Smart Balance (you need to thoroughly read the labels though) contain compounds known as plant sterols and plant stanols, which have been proven to reduce cholesterol. Remember however, regular butter is definitely not suitable, and only products that are correctly labeled with their heart healthy status are appropriate.
10. Shrimp! The cholesterol in seafood has given this ocean fare a bad rap in terms of their role in heart health. However, shrimp, conveniently found on the top ten most controversial foods list by World’s Healthiest Foods, may have an entirely different role to play in terms of cholesterol reduction. While there is no debate that the tasty little ocean dwellers contain cholesterol, they also contain campesterol, beta-sitosterol and brassicasterol, which are all sterols considered a component of many cholesterol lowering foods. This, combined with their potentially beneficial omegas, future studies may put shrimp on an entirely new list.