You’ve got better things to think about than cholesterol, so make lipid-lowering a no-brainer. “It’s a cinch once you start packing cholesterol-lowering foods into your daily diet,” says Michael Miller, MD, professor of medicine at University of Maryland School of Medicine and director of its Center for Preventive Cardiology. Toss these doctor-recommended foods into your shopping cart, fold them into your diet, and watch your LDL (bad) cholesterol start dropping within weeks.
Barley, Bran, Oats, Oat Bran
Studies have found soluble fiber to reduce cholesterol. The fiber binds to bile acids (a cholesterol byproduct) and is eliminated from the gut. To produce new bile acids, cholesterol is removed from the bloodstream, thereby lowering LDL. The American Dietetic Association recommends getting up to 35 grams of fiber daily, though most of us get less. Not a fiber fan? Try cold cereals made with barley, bran, oatmeal, or oat bran.
Aim to get: Five to 10 grams daily (one cup of oatmeal contains 6 g fiber)
LDL reduction: 10 percent
Tip: Avoid oatmeal packets (often high in sodium and sugar) and choose steel-cut oats, which contain more activated fiber.
Apples, Berries, Grapes, Peaches
Pectin-containing fruits (apples, bananas, berries, citrus, grapes, peaches, pears) are high in soluble fiber.
Aim to get: Two to four servings daily
LDL reduction: Five to 10 percent
Tip: Increase fruit intake slowly to avoid stomach bloating.
Black, Kidney, Navy, Pinto, Red Beans
Beans are jam-packed with soluble fiber.
Aim to get: One half-cup serving daily (navy beans contain 9-10 g per serving; the rest listed above, 7-8 g)
LDL reduction: 10 percent
Tip: Select nutrient-rich frozen beans instead of high-sodium canned beans.
Derived from an herb’s gel-coated seeds, it’s found in Metamucil. With water, it enlarges and forms a gelatin-like material that ushers LDL from your gut. In studies, psyllium has been found to lower total cholesterol and LDL.
Aim to get: Two to three Metamucil packets daily or 1/2 teaspoon of psyllium in 8 ounces of warm water
LDL reduction: 10 to 25 percent
Tip: One packet daily for the first week; increase by one packet weekly for the next two weeks.
Cold Water Fish
Containing omega-3 fatty acids, eating this lowers triglycerides. Fish highest in omega 3’s include anchovies, albacore tuna, halibut, herring, lake trout, mackerel, salmon, and sardines. If you dislike fish, flaxseed and canola oil contain omega 3’s, but fewer.
Aim to get: Three servings weekly
LDL Reduction: 10 percent
Tip: Bake or grill rather than bread, batter, or fry.
What other easy methods have helped You reduce high cholesterol?