Bad cholesterol is also known as LDL cholesterol. This means when too much bad cholesterol circulates in the blood, it can increase in the walls of the arteries that supply blood to the heart and brain. With other substances, it can form plaque which is a thick and hard deposit that will narrow the arteries and make them less supple. Luckily, there are healthy foods people can eat to lower bad cholesterol.
Oatmeal and Oat Bran
Oatmeal and oat bran contains a soluble fiber that can reduce bad cholesterol. Soluble fiber reduces the absorption of cholesterol in your intestines. Just by eating 1 1/2 cups of cooked oatmeal, you will add 6 grams of fiber to your diet. You can also add fruits, such as bananas and this will add four more grams of fiber to your diet. Other foods that include soluble fiber are kidney beans, apples, pears, barley, psyllium and prunes.
Walnuts are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids. They are known for helping keep blood vessels healthy and elastic. Walnuts and other nuts, such as almonds, can significantly reduce bad cholesterol. Eating a handful of walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pecans and other nuts can greatly reduce your risk of heart disease. As with other foods, nuts are high in calories so eat only a handful a day. Moderation is key.
Fish is high in Omega-3 fatty acids and Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce bad cholesterol. Omega-3 fatty acids can also help the heart by reducing blood pressure and the risk of blood clots. It is recommended to eat at least three servings of fish per week. The best fish to eat to get the most Omega-3 fatty acids include mackerel, tuna, salmon, herring and sardines. One can also take an Omega-3 fatty acids supplement to get the right amount they need.
Olive oil contains antioxidants that will help reduce your bad cholesterol but will leave your good cholesterol alone. It is recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to use at least 2 tbsp. every day to get the benefits from olive oil. Just sauté vegetables in olive oil, add it to marinade, or mix it with vinegar as a salad dressing. It is best to use extra virgin olive oil for its greater amounts of antioxidants.
Foods With Plant Sterols
Food and drink, such as margarine, orange juice and yogurt drinks, with lots of sterols in them are good to eat to reduce bad cholesterol. Sterols are substances found in plants that help block the build up of bad cholesterol. These foods can reduce bad cholesterol by 10 percent. The daily amount needed for best results of plant sterols is about 2 grams.