9 Good Foods for Your Cholesterol Levels

  • Where's the Good News?
    We've all heard the warning: Even if they taste really good, go easy on the cheeseburgers, sausage, fried foods, pastries, and ice cream. These foods are high in saturated fat, which can raise your blood cholesterol to dangerous levels. But what about the good news? Which foods are good for your cholesterol levels--and healthy for your heart?

  • Fantastic Fiber
    Eat foods high in fiber. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber helps lower cholesterol, and insoluble fiber helps keep you regular. An apple actually has both types of fiber--soluble fiber in the pulp and insoluble fiber in the skin. So what other foods are high in soluble fiber and can help lower your cholesterol?

  • Graze on Grains
    Eat a variety of grain products, such as oatmeal, bread, rice bran, barley, and pasta. Go for three to five servings per day, opting for whole grains.

  • Pick Five--Or More!
    Mom was right about eating your fruits and veggies. Make sure that you get a variety of different types--and aim for five or more servings per day.

  • Bean Bonanza
    Beans and peas are small but potent. They have soluble fiber, so they can be your ally in the fight against cholesterol.

  • Are You Nuts?
    Sometimes it's fine to be nutty and seedy. Nuts and seeds can help lower your cholesterol. However, remember to only eat them in limited amounts.

  • Keep Animals at Bay
    Eating meat is OK, but choose lean meats and skinless poultry. And don't overdo it. Eat no more than six ounces per day.

  • Careful How You Cook
    When cooking, try to use unsaturated vegetable oils. These include canola, corn, olive, safflower, sunflower, and soybean oils.

  • Stanols and Sterols
    Plant stanols and sterols, much like soluble fiber, absorb cholesterol from your digestive tract. Stanols and sterols used in today's food products come from soybean and tall pine-tree oils. Some margarines, a certain type of orange juice, and some other foods include stanols and sterols.

  • Go Fishin'
    It won't lower your cholesterol, but fatty fish can be good for you since it's low in saturated fat. Salmon, tuna, and mackerel have the added benefit of being high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Even crawfish and shrimp, which have more cholesterol than most seafood, have less fat than most meats and poultry. Try to have baked or grilled fish at least twice a week.

9 Good Foods for Your Cholesterol Levels
  1. “How Can I Lower High Cholesterol?” American Heart Association. (http://www.americanheart.org/downloadable/heart/110288182952015%20LwrHighChol.pdf); “Cholesterol, Fiber and Oat Bran.” American Heart Association. (http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4494);
  2. “Cooking for Lower Cholesterol.” American Heart Association. (http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=515);
  3. “What Causes High Blood Cholesterol?” National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/Hbc/HBC_Causes.html);
  4. “Your Guide to Lowering Your Cholesterol With TLC.” National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/chol/chol_tlc.pdf);
  5. “Omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil, alpha-linolenic acid.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/patient-fishoil.html);
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Last Review Date: 2019 May 22
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