Here are Top 5 foods that can lower your cholesterol and protect your heart:
1.Oatmeal, oat bran and high fiber foods : Oatmeal contains soluble fiber which reduces your low density lipoprotein, i.e the bad cholesterol.
Soluble fiber is also found in such foods as kidney beans, apples, pears, barley, prunes.
Eating 1 ½ cups of cooked oatmeal provides 6 grams of fiber. If you add a fruit such as banana you will get more 4 grams of fiber.
2.Fish & Omega 3 fatty acids: Eating fish is heart healthy because of its high levels of omega 3 fatty acids. It reduces your blood pressure and risk of developing blood clots.
In people who already had a heart attack fish oil / omega 3 fatty acid reduces the risk of sudden death.
Two servings of fish every week is very useful. The highest level of omega 3 fatty acids is seen is:
- Lake trout
- Albacore tuna
Try grilling / baking the fish instead of frying, to avoid the unhealthy fats.
3.Walnuts, almonds and other nuts: Walnuts, almonds and other nuts can reduce blood cholesterol. Rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids walnuts keeps the blood vessels healthy.
According to Food and drug administration , eating about a handful a day of nuts eg almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans some pine nuts walnuts may reduce the risk of heart disease.
All these nuts are high in calories so only handful will do. To avoid becoming obese by eating nuts replace foods high in saturated fats with nuts. Eg instead of cheese, meat add nuts.
4.Olive oil: Olive oil contains a potent mixture of antioxidants that can lower your bad cholesterol (LDL) and leaves your good cholesterol (HDL) untouched.
2 tablespoons of olive oil a day in place of other fats is healthy for your heart. Olive oil is high in calories so don’t eat more than recommended.
For better effects you can use extra virgin olive oil, meaning the oil is les processed and contains more healthy antioxidants.
5.Foods with added plant sterols & stanols: Nowadays foods are also available fortified with sterols and stenols—they block the absorption of cholesterol.
Margarines, orange juice yogurt drinks with added plant sterols can help reduce LDL cholesterol by more than 10% the need is at least 2 gms /day.
They don’t affect the levels of HDL (good cholesterol).
Along with this make changes in your diet and lifestyle.