Foods that Help Lower Cholesterol

There are two types of cholesterol. They are:

  1. Low- density lipoproteins (LDL)

  2. High-density lipoproteins (HDL)

When considering cholesterol levels in the body, it’s important to understand what each of these do, as well as how they interact with each other. Then, discovering foods that lower cholesterol will make more sense.

LDL is called the “bad cholesterol”. It causes fatty deposits, called plaques, in the arteries. High LDL levels can cause heart attack, stroke, embolisms, arteriosclerosis (commonly called “hardening of the arteries”), and a host of other problems. A diet high in this fat, combined with a sedentary lifestyle will shorten life.

HDL, however, is called the “good cholesterol”. As these fatty acids pass through the bloodstream, they carry the LDL away. High HDL levels will lower LDL levels. A person who has had a lipid profile (also called a “lipid panel”) has a measurement of four types of fat in their blood. The lipid panel tells the LDL level, the HDL level, the Triglycerides level, and a total cholesterol level. The body converts unused calories into triglycerides and stores them in fat cells . They are later released for energy. It’s entirely possible to have a regular LDL level, and yet a low HDL. That can be a problem. If not corrected, the LDL level will increase. That person needs to increase foods that are rich in Omega-3 fats and decrease foods high in Omega-6.

Scientists have estimated the best ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in our bodies should be between 1:1 and 1:4. The average American diet consumes ten times the appropriate amount of omega-6 acids, and not nearly enough omega-3. These two specific fatty acids, in their various forms, are called “Essential Fatty Acids” (EFA), because there are health benefits from both. However, too much omega-6 is dangerous.

Some good sources of omega-3 are:

  • flax seed oil

  • canola oil

  • soybean oil

  • walnuts

  • dairy products

  • beans

  • broccoli

  • salmon

  • mackerel

  • lake trout

  • herring

  • sardines

  • albacore tuna

All of these are foods that lower cholesterol, specifically LDL. Also, fiber is essential in fighting the cholesterol battle.

Some other foods, that may surprise some people, are known to aid the body in releasing fat that is stored. This process is called “metabolism”. A healthy body will have a high metabolism, which decreases body fat, and maintains good cholesterol levels:

  • Calcium sources- greens, yogurt, milk, Brazil nuts, Parmesan, Swiss, Feta, and Mozzarella cheeses

  • Protein sources- beans, nuts, eggs, lentils, poultry, salmon, lobster

  • Vitamin C sources- broccoli rabe (also called rapini), escarole, citrus fruits, red pepper, cantaloupe, kiwi, strawberries

  • Vinegar

  • Red wine (in small amounts)

If a person is eating a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly, and perhaps taking some nutritional supplements (a multivitamin and perhaps an omega-3 supplement), cholesterol should not be a problem. However, some people have a genetic proclivity for high LDL levels. They need to make special effort to monitor and manage the situation. Having a lipid profile done every two years is a safe measure.


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I am 56 and live in Ravenna, OH USA. I am a writer . I am a father and grandfather. I have been a Christian since 1982. I am a musician and singer. I teach guitar (when I can get students). I am an avid reader and Bible student. Under the name Mike Mattice, I write Christian nonfiction. Also, I write web content for a web developer, articles and blogs on various topics.

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