Cholesterol is a waxy substance produced by your liver and obtained by eating animal products such as meat, dairy and eggs.
Eating large amounts of saturated fat, trans fat and sugars can raise cholesterol levels.
While “good” HDL cholesterol may be beneficial for your health, high levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, particularly when oxidized, have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
That’s because oxidized LDL cholesterol is more likely to stick to the walls of your arteries and form plaques, which clog these blood vessels.
Here are 4 tips to lower cholesterol with your diet and help reduce your risk of heart disease.
1. Eat Foods Rich in Soluble Fiber
Soluble fiber lowers cholesterol by preventing reabsorption of bile in your gut, which leads to the excretion of bile in the feces. Your body pulls cholesterol from the bloodstream to make more bile, therefore reducing levels.
2. Enjoy Lots of Fruits and Vegetables
Eating at least four servings of fruits and vegetables daily can lower LDL cholesterol levels and reduce LDL oxidation, which may reduce your risk of heart disease.
3. Cook with Herbs and Spices
Both fresh and dried herbs and spices can help lower cholesterol levels. They contain antioxidants that prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidation.
4. Avoid Artificial Trans Fats
Artificial trans fats are linked to higher LDL cholesterol levels and an increased risk of heart disease. Recently, the US banned their use in restaurants and processed foods, making them easier to avoid.
Avoid ingredients that increase LDL cholesterol, like trans fats and added sugars, to keep cholesterol in healthy ranges.
All evidence & citations are from US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health