The food we eat can play an important role in our cholesterol levels. Cholesterol, the waxy, fat-like substance in every cell of your body, creates cell membranes and aids in digestion.
If you have too much cholesterol in your body, it can build up on the walls of your arteries, clogging these major highways of your bloodstream. This can lead to serious heart and health issues.
If your cholesterol is high, add these five foods to your diet plus regular exercise. This can help lower your cholesterol levels.
Five foods to help lower your cholesterol
- Oats and other whole grains
Oats and other whole grains are a great source of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream by binding to the substance and removing it from your system.
Start your day with a bowl of oatmeal or oat-based cereal. Add fruit or berries to up the fiber content.
Beans are also high in soluble fiber. They have the added bonus of helping you feel full longer because they take a while for the body to digest.
With such a wide variety of types and cooking methods to choose from, beans can add a healthy dose of variety to your diet.
Walnuts, almonds, peanuts and other nuts can also help lower your cholesterol.
Ditch fatty snacks for a handful of nuts, or add them to your salad. Nuts are high in calories, so you don’t want to eat too many.
- Vegetable oil and olive oil
Replacing butter, lard and shortening with vegetable oil or olive oil can help lower your cholesterol.
Try mixing olive oil with vinegar for a salad dressing, or sautéing with vegetable oil instead of butter.
- Foods fortified with sterols and stanols
These substances found in plants help keep your body from absorbing cholesterol.
Manufacturers add sterols and stanols to foods ranging from chocolate to orange juice, so be on the lookout.
Just as there are foods that can help lower your cholesterol, there are also foods that contribute to high cholesterol. Learn more about foods to limit or avoid to help prevent high cholesterol.
Track your cholesterol after you donate blood
In this free account, you will have access to your total cholesterol number. You will also be able to view your pulse, blood pressure and temperature.