Food and Nutrition

Top 5 Foods for Lowering Bad Cholesterol

| by Mitzi Dulan
Wow, I’m seeing an increasing number of my clients and even professional athletes who have high blood fat (cholesterol and triglycerides). Listen up folks. This is serious!
According to the National Center of Health Statistics & National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 106.7 million Americans age 20 and older have high cholesterol (200 milligrams per deciliter and higher). 106.7 million Americans! Of these, 35% have very high blood cholesterol levels (greater than 240 milligrams per deciliter). And it’s not just adults, the dramatic rise in childhood obesity are putting more and more kids at risk as well. Besides reducing intake of saturated fats and cholesterol and increasing daily physical activity, below are a list of foods that just might help you lower those numbers!

Top 5 Foods to Lower “Bad Cholesterol”

1. Oatmeal: contains soluble fiber, which help decrease absorption of the “bad cholesterol” (LDL) in the intestines; need at least 10 grams of soluble fiber for maximum cholesterol-lowering benefits; TRY steel-cut oatmeal or cold cereal made with oatmeal and/or oat bran and add fruits

2. Nuts: rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (aka: PUFA) that help keep blood vessels healthy and elastic ; TRY to eat a handful a day (1.5 oz) to help lower risk for heart disease (I.e. replace meat/cheese/croutons in salad with a handful of almonds)

3. Fatty Fish: contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help lower blood pressure and blood clotting risk; TRY eating fatty fish like mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, salmon (bake or grill instead of frying) at least twice a week and/or using flaxseed or canola oil

4. Olive Oil: contains antioxidants that lower LDL cholesterol without affecting HDL levels; Extra Virgin Olive Oil is less processed and contains more heart-healthy antioxidants (avoid “light” olive oils); TRY to use 2 tablespoons a day for heart-healthy benefits (sauté with vegetables, add in marinades, mix with vinegar and use as salad dressing, etc.)

5. Stop eating trans fats. Avoid saturated fats. Read food labels and avoid anything that says “partially hydrogenated oils.”



What foods do you try to eat to maintain healthy blood cholesterol levels, or to lower your own?

Written by Mitzi Dulan with research assistance provided by Monica Lobo.