All of us have heard stories about about certain foods that lower cholesterol levels. It’s extremely interesting to observe the connection between our diet and health state. In our body there are two types of cholesterol: good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. Generally, the “good” cholesterol level is healthy, while the “bad” cholesterol level increases the risk of heart problems, because it tends to block or hinder arteries. Furthermore, “good” cholesterol protects the blood vessels against damage. Some foods contain cholesterol that is beneficial for our health, while others can have a negative impact.
Experts used to think that consuming cholesterol-rich foods (egg yolks or shrimps) would result in higher cholesterol levels in the blood, while new researches demonstrate the opposite. However, some foods are known to control and improve cholesterol, and, most importantly, to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Foods that help lower cholesterol
Legumes. Studies have shown a link between legumes and cholesterol levels. Among them, we can list beans, lentils, and peas. A study published in the Canadian Medical Journal found that consuming 94 grams of legumes a day dropped “bad” cholesterol levels by 5%. Although this percentage might not seem much, the quantity is significant. Legumes are one of the most versatile groups of foods, since they can be eaten in many forms, which makes it very easy for you to consume healthy amounts. For example, you can add beans to an omelet, or grab yourself a lentil soup!
Avocado. In a study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania on adults with weight problems, researchers split participants in 2 groups. The first group was asked to follow a low-fat diet which included avocados, while the other one followed a low-fat diet without avocados. While a low-fat diet lowered “bad” cholesterol by up to 7mg / dl, a moderate diet brought even better results. Specifically, people who did not consume avocados noticed a decrease in cholesterol levels by 8mg / dl, while the group that consumed avocados had their cholesterol levels reduced by 14mg / dl. Avocado can be consumed together with almost anything, being a versatile and ideal food in our diet. Consumed in a smoothie, omelette, frittata, salad or even soup, is the ideal choice for any meal of the day.
Oats. It is no longer a secret that oats are a superfood, especially when it comes to reducing cholesterol levels. A research conducted on people who consumed oats found that they have reduced the total cholesterol levels by 5%, and “bad” cholesterol by 10%.
Almonds. According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, it was found that among patients suffering from heart disease, consumption of only 10 grams of almonds before breakfast (somewhere around 8 almonds) significantly increased “good” cholesterol levels. Six weeks later, the good cholesterol levels were 12% – 14% higher.
Green tea. One of the most recommended strategies to reduce heart disease is to lower the “bad” cholesterol level without affecting the “good” one. The good news? Green tea can be helpful in this trick. An analysis published in the American Journal of Nutrition revealed that, as a result of green tea consumption, “bad” cholesterol levels dropped significantly without affecting the “good” cholesterol.