Invest In Your Heart With Cholesterol Lowering Foods

It's not just what you don’t eat that matters. Consuming cholesterol lowering foods also helps. Just as there are foods that raise cholesterol levels, there equally are cholesterol lowering foods, and incorporating them in your daily diet will go a long way in saving your heart.

The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends dietary modification for people with total cholesterol over 200 mg/dL and LDL cholesterol level exceeding 130 mg/dL. You can start off by reducing your intake of saturated fats to lower your levels if you fall in the above category. This can be achieved by cutting down on, or eliminating fatty meats, whole milk, and baked goods made with oils like coconut, palm, and palm kernel oils.

In addition to eliminating the culprit foods from your diet, there are four very powerful cholesterol lowering foods you can combine and follow for a period of time to lower your cholesterol levels and maintain your levels with continued use.

Studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states that people who followed a diet that included these four foods for a month reduced LDL cholesterol by 30% - the same percentage as another group who did not eat the these four foods but took a statin drug.

Eating several cholesterol lowering foods everyday is one of the best ways to lower cholesterol.

Lower Cholesterol Dramatically With These
Smart Mix Of Foods

The American Heart Association also says that lowering LDL cholesterol is the most important goal for anyone with high cholesterol. Statins, the common cholesterol lowering drugs are wonderful for doing this job, but not only do they come with side effects, they are also expensive and you will have to take them every day for the rest of your life.

Diet and exercise can work just as well to control and normalize your cholesterol levels, so it will be wise to try them first. Below are the four powerful cholesterol lowering foods to use.

* Almonds - These nuts are packed with monounsaturated fats which have shown to lower LDL cholesterol. Eat a handful every day.

* Plant Sterols - This a safe and effective plant extract proven to lower LDL cholesterol for more than 60 years. You can replace butter and margarine with sterol-enriched margarines such as Benecol and Take Control.

Pistachio nuts are also rich in plant sterols. A handful a day has been proven to lower LDLs by 12%. You can also take phytosterol supplement such as Heart Choice Phytosterols. Just follow the directions on the label.

* Soy Protein - Soy, another one of the cholesterol foods help protect against cardiovascular disease. Among other benefits, soy protein also lowers high blood pressure, keep bones healthy and prevent osteoporosis and preserve kidney function in diabetics. Include 20 – 25 grams of soy protein per day in your diet. You can simply achieve this by replacing your regular milk with soy milk.

Foods you can try include Tempeh, Tofu, Edamame (sweet beans), Soy nuts, Soy nut butter, Soy burger and Soy sausage. If you are a Starbucks coffee fan, you can enjoy soy latte with provides 9 grams of soy per 11 ounce cup.

* Viscous Fiber - This is found in grains such as oats and barley, psyllium products such as Metamucil and vegetables such as eggplant and okra. Simple way to incorporate fiber in your diet is to stir Metamucil into soy milk for a snack or eat oat bran cereal for breakfast.

How These Cholesterol Lowering Foods Work

Almonds contain antioxidants which help prevent oxidation, a precursor to plaque buildup. Studies show that eating almonds lowers your risk of death by heart disease.

Cholesterol lowering foods like almonds also contain high amounts of arginine, a type of amino acid necessary for construction of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide relaxes arteries so they open up and lower blood pressure in the process. Nitric oxide also prevents blood platelets from sticking to the cells that line blood vessels and lessens the ability of blood clotting, thus reducing the risk of heart attack.

Plant Sterols
Plant sterols are rich in antioxidants. They lower cholesterol levels by blocking the absorption of cholesterol from foods. This results in a decrease of about 50% in cholesterol absorption, thus lowering LDL levels. They also stop the reabsorbing of bile cholesterol from the intestinal tract.

Soy Protein
The components in soy that is greatly responsible in lowering cholesterol are isoflavones. They work by increasing the number of LDL cholesterol receptors in the liver. The more receptors you have, the more their ability to take up and dispose of cholesterol from the bloodstream.

When LDL is oxidized, the arteries that supply blood to your tissues and organs become inflamed and even become damaged. This increases the chances of having a heart attack or stroke. Soy contains antioxidants that fight against oxidation of LDL cholesterol and prevent the buildup of plaque.

Viscous Fiber
Viscous fiber contains a type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan. Beta-glucan is indigestible so viscous fibrous foods like oats and barley that contain beta-glucan can pass through your digestive tract smoothly and sweep excess waste along the intestines. This type of fiber acts like an intestinal sponge, absorbing and soaking up LDL cholesterol, and driving it out of the body.

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