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Foods to Lower Cholesterol

High cholesterol levels are one of many health problems that affect people. Various foods can have both a negative/or positive effect on cholesterol levels. There are two types of cholesterol, LDL which is bad cholesterol and HDL, or good cholesterol. There are certain foods that can increase your good cholesterol and lower your bad cholesterol. By including these foods into your regular diet and eating them more frequently, you may reap added benefits such as reducing the risk of health conditions such as heart disease.

Oatmeal is a great source of protein and antioxidants. It is rich in soluble fiber which lowers the bad cholesterol but does not lower the good cholesterol. Eating oatmeal and/or oat bran regularly can significantly reduce LDL cholesterol levels.

Legumes such as beans are high in soluble fiber and low in sodium. They are rich in several minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium. The regular consumption of legumes can reduce total cholesterol levels.

Nuts, especially walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds and pistachios are quite effective in lowering cholesterol. They are rich in polyunsaturated fats and are a good source of dietary fiber. Pistachios are rich in antioxidants and contain beta-carotene. Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin E and other nutrients. Almonds are effective in reducing total cholesterol. Eating nuts can help lower the risk of heart disease.

Grape juice may not be a food but it is rich in antioxidants called flavanoids which prevent the oxidation of bad cholesterol that leads to the formation of plaque. Adding grape juice to your favorite beverages is an effective and tasty way to lower cholesterol.

Olive oil is another food item that is effective in helping to control cholesterol levels. Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants. It raises good cholesterol levels while preventing the oxidation of bad cholesterol. Purchase extra virgin olive oil to obtain the most benefits. Virgin or extra virgin olive oil has been through less processing, therefore it retains the most nutrients.

Pomegranate juice contains high levels of antioxidants. It slows the absorption of bad cholesterol as well as reducing cholesterol levels. It is best to consult a physician before consuming pomegranate juice on a regular basis if taking any medication, or if an individual suffers from low blood pressure. Pomegranate juice may interact with certain medications and can lower blood pressure causing it to become too low.

Fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids which are very effective in lowering triglyceride levels. Omega-3 fatty acids raise good cholesterol while lowering bad cholesterol. Fish is also a good source of protein.

Dark Chocolate is rich in antioxidants. It increases HDL (good cholesterol) and reduces LDL (bad cholesterol). It can also be beneficial in reducing blood pressure. Dark chocolate may have a more bitter taste than regular chocolate but the health benefits are definitely sweet.

Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats and they contain a plant-based fat referred to as beta-sitosterol that reduces the amount of cholesterol absorbed from food. Avocados are effective in raising good cholesterol levels while lowering bad cholesterol.

There are other foods which can help to lower cholesterol levels. Onions, barley, brown rice, blueberries, flaxseed and garlic are a few foods that should be added to your diet if you suffer from high cholesterol. Eating a variety of these foods on a regular basis can help to lower and maintain cholesterol levels.

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