According to the American Heart Association, high levels of LDL, or bad cholesterol, cause plaque buildup in the arteries and increase the risk for stroke and heart attack. A healthy diet is key in preventing and reversing dangerous LDL levels.
According to MayoClinic.com, soluble fiber reduces cholesterol absorption, and just 10 grams a day is enough to lower LDL levels. Good sources of soluble fiber include oatmeal, beans, apples, pears, bananas, broccoli and barley.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have the power to lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL, or good cholesterol, which is believed to carry cholesterol away from the arteries. Fatty fish is an excellent source of omega-3s when eaten at least twice a week in the form of salmon, mackerel, trout, herring or sardines.
Nuts, especially walnuts, can reduce blood cholesterol with their plant sterols and unsaturated fats. Nuts are calorie-dense foods, so limit yourself to a handful a day of walnuts, almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, pistachios or pecans.
Plant sterols and stanols block the absorption of cholesterol. The American Heart Association therefore recommends people with high LDL levels consume 2 grams each day by eating stanol-fortified foods, such as margarine spread, cereal and orange juice.
Consuming fewer saturated fats is an important component to lowering LDL cholesterol. Replace them with hearty-healthy unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, nut oils and fish oil.