What is Cholesterol?
Before jumping into the foods to eat to lower LDL “Bad” cholesterol, let’s take a moment to understand what cholesterol is. What is Cholesterol? Simple answer: Cholesterol is a type of fat. Long answer: Cholesterol is a kind of fat found in your blood. Cholesterol is essential for building healthy cells, so your body needs it. However, just like anything else, too much of it is bad! High levels of “bad” cholesterol can cause several health issues, such as increased risk of heart disease, etc.
Types of Cholesterol
There are two types of cholesterol: Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL), also known as the bad cholesterol, and High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL), the “good” cholesterol. The LDL or the bad cholesterol can block the arteries, preventing the normal vital functions of the blood. This can, unfortunately, result in the increase of risk to certain heart-related illnesses. On the other hand, good cholesterol or HDL helps remove LDL from your bloodstream. Your goal should be decreasing or lowering LDL while increasing/improving HDL. Learn more.
What are The Worst Foods for High Cholesterol?
Run from saturated and trans fats because they can easily raise LDL cholesterol levels. Also, red meat, full-fat dairy products, fried foods, and baked goods are equally bad.
15 Foods to Lower LDL “Bad” Cholesterol
Food is vital to the body because, as human beings, we eat food every day, and as a result, it plays a huge role in our bodies! As a matter of fact, healthy foods help to build a healthy body. In other words, what you put in your body in terms of food matters. If you’re looking to reduce your cholesterol levels, several foods can help. Including these foods in your diet can help you reduce/manage your cholesterol levels. Here are 15 foods to eat to lower LDL “bad” cholesterol:
Oats and oat bran! Oats/Oatmeal are whole and hearty and great for lowering LDL cholesterol. Oats are filling, too, so they will keep you fuller for longer. Aside from making oatmeal porridge, you can make granola with oats. You can also use oat flour for pancakes and waffles. See this chunky banana oat granola recipe!
Lower LDL Bad Cholesterol with Nuts.
Nuts, especially almonds and walnuts, are great for lowering LDL cholesterol. Consider incorporating natural almonds into your diet. You can add chopped almonds to salads! Walnuts are also another one that is excellent for lowering LDL cholesterol.
Fatty Fish like Salmon. Salmon is one of my favorite foods to eat every single week! First of all, it is super easy to make, especially in the air fryer. You can also cook them on the stovetop or in your oven. There are plenty ways to serve salmon. See how I served it with cabbage in this post!
More Foods to Lower LDL Bad Cholesterol
Avocado is a healthy fat and probably one of the best healthy fats that your body needs. Also, avocado contains fiber, vitamins, and minerals. You can easily add avocado to your salads or sandwiches. Also, you can make guacamole. Avocados are great for smoothies, too! See this thick avocado smoothie bowl!
Buckwheat is a grain-like seed; it is versatile and can be used to make several things. Buckwheat flour is gluten-free and an excellent alternative for you if you have high cholesterol. This flour comes in handy when making pancakes, porridge, and noodles. Nutritionally, buckwheat is an excellent source of protein, fiber, and other minerals.
Olive Oil (EVOO)
Olive oil is one of the best cooking oils of all time; however, ensure to use extra virgin olive oil, also known as EVOO. Olive oil is commonly used in cooking in many homes. EVOO has several health benefits, such as high in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, and can improve inflammation. Aside from using olive oil to cook, it is also fantastic for the skin. Additionally, it is the best choice of oil to use if you want to reduce high cholesterol! Check out this olive oil vinaigrette.
Legumes Can Lower LDL Bad Cholesterol!
Legumes, including beans, lentils, chickpeas, and peas, also known as pulses, are one of the perfect foods to eat when managing LDL cholesterol. This family of plants contains proteins, fiber, and tons of vitamins and minerals. Also, legumes are heart-healthy and promote digestive health. You can easily include them as part of a healthy diet. Legumes are also known for their ability to regulate blood sugar levels. I like cooking beans porridge. I also add beans to chili. You can make lentil soup! Beans are a great alternative to meat. I love my black bean burgers!!! The best.
With its pungent taste and great flavors, garlic remains one of the most recognizable herbs used in cooking. Garlic also has health benefits. From boosting the immune system and reducing the risk of certain diseases, its nutritional benefits are endless. You can chew fresh garlic like my mama used to do. LOL. You can use fresh garlic, roasted, or pickled. There are already grated garlic jars in the store if you need more time to peel or grate garlic.
Berries are a delicious and nutritious fruit; they come in various colors and flavors. My favorite berries are strawberries and blueberries. There are also raspberries, blackberries, and cranberries. Berries are packed with high antioxidants; they can help protect the body against free radicals as well as help reduce the risk of some chronic diseases. They are also a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Berries are generally naturally sweet; you can eat them raw for snacks, use them to make smoothies or use them in baking. Check out this berry salad!
Dark Leafy Green.
The food world loves leafy greens for a reason! Typically recognized as one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Greens are packed with various nutrients, including vitamins A, C, and K, as well as iron, calcium, and fiber. Some examples of dark leafy greens include spinach, kale, arugula, collard greens, Swiss chard, and lettuce, to mention a few. Add leafy greens to your salads, etc. Check out my berry spinach salad, arugula pomegranate salad, or spring mix salad! Incorporating dark leafy greens into your diet can significantly boost your overall health and well-being and lower LDL cholesterol.
Are Eggs Bad for Cholesterol?
Eggs are nutritious, tasty, and cheap! It is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to nourish your body with proper protein, but eggs do contain cholesterol in the yolk. Unfortunately, eggs have seen their share of the debate when it comes to cholesterol. And whether or not eggs are high in cholesterol and if they are healthy for people with LDL.
Another question is whether consuming eggs in large amounts can raise your blood cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than one egg per day for people with high cholesterol levels. On the other hand, some studies have even suggested that eating eggs can increase levels of good cholesterol (HDL).
LAST WORDS on How to Lower LDL “Bad” Cholesterol
Consistently incorporating a healthy cholesterol-lowering diet alongside regular exercise can help you manage your cholesterol levels. Also, listen to your healthcare provider and follow up with your appointments and yearly check-ups! As always, if you have concerns about your cholesterol levels, it is best to consult with your doctor or a registered dietitian. Learn more about cholesterol.
Stay Motivated and Keep Eating Better!
Can we get more real? One thing about eating healthier is that you will need to make time. Ensure that you make time to go grocery shopping and cook your meals. I suggest meal planning, double batching, and freezing up. However, consider using a meal delivery service such as Daily Harvest or Jet Fuel Meals, if you struggle with time to shop or cook. Check out the various meal delivery services and make your choice. There are popular ones that are very expensive, and there are also affordable ones.
Foods To Avoid If You Have High Cholesterol:
Avoid the following foods if you currently have high cholesterol and wish to lower it.
- Fried foods:
- Processed meats: Processed meats such as bacon, sausage, and hot dogs are high in saturated fat and are no good if you want to manage high LDL cholesterol.
- Full-fat dairy products: Use low-fat alternatives or limit the consumption of whole milk, cheese, and butter, which are high in saturated fat
- Baked goods.
- Fast food: Fast food such as burgers, fried chicken, and pizza are often high in saturated and trans fats.
- Coconut oil: While it is often marketed as a health food, coconut oil is high in saturated fat and should be used sparingly.
- Limit red meat if you wish to lower LDL cholesterol!
Do you have high cholesterol, please share in the comments ways your are currently using to manage it.
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