Cholesterol lowering foods - this may sound as an oxymoron! However, studies prove that some foods can assist in the reduction of cholesterol and could be incorporated into your new diet plan.
Cholesterol Lowering Margarine
Recently, cholesterol lowering margarines have been introduced to the market. Benecol® is one of the products that has been confirmed to lower cholesterol on an average of 10% if used as recommended. In addition, this margarine does not affect your HDL, or "good" cholesterol. Other products include Take Control® margarine and salad dressings that are made from plant sterols, which are extracted from soybeans. These sterols trick your intestine into thinking they are cholesterol and when it tries to absorb them, it is not able to, therefore blocking cholesterol.
Cholesterol lowering quality of soy protein was evidenced when FDA approved (see FDA talk paper) the health claim for its effects on risk of heart disease. To achieve intended result, you have to consume at least four servings of 6.25 grams of soy protein totaling daily intake to 25 grams per day. Many food manufacturers have since introduced soy beverages and energy bars containing up to 10 to 20 grams of soy protein. People with high cholesterol - levels of 260-300, soy protein has shown to reduce cholesterol by 15-25%.
Nuts such as almonds and walnuts that have high amount of monounsaturated or polyunsaturated, also help lowering cholesterol. Researchers at the Loma Linda University found that a diet containing pecans (click here for Abstract) not only lowered total and LDL--or "bad" cholesterol significantly but also helped to maintain desirable levels of HDL--or "good"--cholesterol. Another study conducted by the same University found that Mediterranean style diet that included walnuts (click here for Abstract) lowered cholesterol.
Oats and Barley
In lowering cholesterol, oats and barley have played a critical role. These foods have a soluble fiber known as Beta Glucan, which is the key, in how they lower the cholesterol. To gain the intended cholesterol lowering effect, you have to consume anywhere between two and four cups of dry oat or barley cereal each day.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables such as apples, citrus fruit, berries, carrots, apricots, cabbage, sweet potatoes are high in soluble fiber and pectin both shown to be helpful in lowering cholesterol. At least five servings a day is recommended to benefit the full effect.
Flaxseed provides alpha-linolenic acid a poly-unsaturated fat which has been shown to lower cholesterol while providing needed soluble fiber.
Olive oil is one of the mono-saturated fats and studies have shown that it lowers blood cholesterol. Extra virgin olive oil is suggested to be better than other varieties.
According to researchers, fish containing a omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids make the blood more slippery and less likely to clot in addition to lowering blood cholesterol.
Instead of frying foods, bake, roast, or grill. Cut back on egg yolks and if you drink 2% milk change to 1% and if possible, skim milk.