This post was originally published in October 2018. Updated in November 2022.
Consuming low cholesterol foods daily plays a major role in maintaining your health and preventing the risk of heart and cardiovascular disease.
Our body produces cholesterol naturally. According to the American Heart Association, the human body has its need for cholesterol and circulates it through the bloodstream.
But when cholesterol gets out of balance due to unhealthy eating habits, plaque builds up in the artery walls, which leads to heart attack, stroke, or heart disease.
Age, heredity, and smoking contribute to cholesterol levels, so eating healthy food, maintaining your body weight, and exercising are the best factors that help keep cholesterol levels under control.
I know what you’re probably thinking, Low cholesterol foods must be boring, right? Well. This is absolutely not true, as there are different and flavorful choices of low cholesterol foods you can safely eat and enjoy without affecting your health!
Check out the list here:
Top 10 Low Cholesterol Foods To Consume:
1- Vegetables And Fruits
Fruits and Vegetables are rich in fiber which helps lower cholesterol levels and eliminate the absorption of Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL), known as bad cholesterol.
So you can eat:
- Eggplant: It contains soluble fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and Chlorogenic Acid which has been shown to decrease LDL cholesterol.
- Okra: It’s a good source of soluble fiber and it contains a gel substance called mucilage that can lower cholesterol levels. This substance can attract cholesterol and help your body get rid of it through stool.
- Apples: They are rich in soluble fiber, polyphenols, and phytosterols which can help lower cholesterol levels and keep the heart strong. Plus, apples have low levels of triglycerides which is a type of fat in the blood that could cause health issues.
- Broccoli: It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can contribute to heart health and boost the immune system.
- Tomatoes: They contain lycopene which helps lower the levels of LDL cholesterol.
- Avocado: It’s rich in vitamins, fiber, and monounsaturated fatty acids that block cholesterol absorption in the body. Studies have shown that avocados can lower LDL cholesterol by up to 22% and increase HDL “good cholesterol” by up to 11%.
- Beets: They can reduce high cholesterol levels so consider adding beetroot juice to your diet.
Related: The Best 7-Day Smoothie Weight Loss Diet Plan You Must Try
2- Whole Grains
Instead of consuming commercial cereals in the morning, have a bowl of non-refined oats with some berries or a banana!
Grains in general contain soluble fiber which can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. And this also helps lower the risk of heart disease or stroke.
Plus, they will definitely keep you full for longer and improve your digestive system because they contain enough fiber and protein.
A study found that consuming oats for 4 weeks helped reduce cholesterol levels by 11%.
Another study found that beta-glucan in barley can reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the body during digestion which will keep your heart healthy.
Whole grain foods include:
- Oats and oat bran.
- Whole grain pasta and Brown rice.
- Whole-grain cereals are also great.
Many studies found that consuming nuts regularly is good for heart health as they contain no cholesterol at all and are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
So they can be a safe snack idea for those with heart problems! Nuts like Walnuts and Almonds can improve blood cholesterol and reduce the risk of a heart attack.
Related: 6 Homemade Protein Bars Recipes That Are Healthy & Tasty
The American Heart Association recommends eating fish twice a week. Fish has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids that help lower cholesterol.
Omega-3 fatty acids help decrease triglycerides in the bloodstream which will keep the heart healthy and prevent abnormal heart rhythms.
High levels of omega-3 fatty acids are found in Salmon, Tuna, and Mackerel.
A study showed that consuming lentils for 8 weeks can increase the good cholesterol levels in the body and reduce bad cholesterol levels in diabetic patients.
They are an excellent source of fiber that keeps the body from absorbing cholesterol in the blood.
6- Green Tea
Catechins, which are a powerful antioxidant, found in green tea can improve cholesterol levels and boost your overall health.
A study found that green tea can lower bad cholesterol levels without affecting good cholesterol levels. This can definitely help reduce the risk of heart issues.
Beans are a great source of soluble fiber and protein, which means all beans can decrease cholesterol levels, keep you satiated, and maintain your health.
Also, they are super versatile foods as you can cook them in many different ways, and prepare a far more delicious meal every day!
Furthermore, soybeans are known for their ability to reduce the production of new cholesterol. A study found that consuming 25 grams of soy protein daily for 6 weeks can lower high cholesterol levels by 3%-4%.
Extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, soybean oil, or safflower oil are rich in antioxidants and monounsaturated fats which can lower LDL cholesterol.
This makes vegetable oils more beneficial for heart health.
9- Dark Chocolate
A study found that consuming cocoa twice a day for 4 weeks helped lower LDL cholesterol levels and increase “HDL” good cholesterol levels. And it also decreased blood pressure.
Plus, cacao is rich in antioxidants like flavonols, polyphenols, and catechins that can improve your heart health and boost your overall health.
Keep in mind to consume dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate to avoid weight gain.
Related: 12 Surprising Dark Chocolate Benefits For Skin And Hair
What To Avoid To Keep Cholesterol Levels Under Control?
The American Heart Association highly recommends decreasing the consumption of foods that are high in saturated and trans fats to maintain your heart health.
Here is a list of the foods that can increase bad cholesterol levels in the blood:
- Fried Food.
- Egg Yolk.
- Whole Milk and Cream.
- Fatty meat like pork.
- Baked Goods ( cookies, cakes, and donuts ).
- Soft Drinks.
- Full-fat dairy products.
- Processed Food.
The Bottom Line
The list I mentioned above of low cholesterol foods can improve your health, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and help you live a healthier life.
If you already have heart problems, consuming low cholesterol foods will definitely help lower bad cholesterol levels.