Cholesterol Lowering Foods
The bad guy
For many years now, cholesterol has been considered the bad actor in the food supply. More people are taking statin drugs to lower cholesterol than ever before. This is in spite of the fact that these drugs can have uncomfortable side effects.
Are there other ways that you can help to lower your cholesterol levels on your own?
You need cholesterol to live
Believe it or not, cholesterol is actually a part of every cell in your body and you need it to survive. Unfortunately, due to genetic pre-disposition, lifestyle and diet, cholesterol can become a problem for your blood vessels and heart.
It's the saturated fat
It is important to note that the dietary factor most affecting your cholesterol level is the amount of saturated fat you eat and not the amount of cholesterol in your food. Many studies have shown that dietary cholesterol does not greatly affect blood cholesterol, but dietary saturated fats may cause elevated levels of cholesterol in the blood.
By the numbers
It is generally believed that the optimal level of total blood cholesterol is less than 200 mg/dl. In addition, the HDL (Happy cholesterol) should be over 50 and the LDL (Lousy cholesterol) should be less than 100 mg/dl. Keep in mind that these are general guidelines, and you should discuss your particular numbers with your health care provider.
If you are interested in lowering your cholesterol through dietary changes, here is a list of foods that seem to lower cholesterol when consumed on a regular basis.
Whole grains, particularly oatmeal
Nuts, particularly Walnuts, Almonds, Pistachios
Get more active!
In addition to limiting saturated fats and eating more of these foods listed here, regular exercise has been shown to help keep your cholesterol at safe levels.