Cholesterol-Lowering Foods

Cholesterol is a white, insoluble, waxy substance that is manufactured in your liver. 

Your body needs cholesterol for many vital metabolic processes, such as making hormones, producing vitamin D, producing bile acids to help digest fat, etc. When people regularly consume foods high in saturated fats (Salami, sausages, processed meats, deep-fried foods, etc), their livers manufacture more cholesterol. This impacts upon their total blood cholesterol levels and throws out their ratio of good to bad cholesterol. LDL’s (low density lipoproteins) represents bad cholesterol, which can result in hardening of the arteries. HDL’s (high density lipoproteins) is good cholesterol which helps remove excess cholesterol out of the cells and arteries.

Many foods can help to lower cholesterol:

  1. Fresh fruit & vegetables – provide soluble fibre that blocks the absorption of dietary cholesterol from the intestine. Good choices are bananas, strawberries, blueberries, oranges, artichokes, carrots, apples, alfalfa sprouts.
  2. Fish & fish oil – contain dietary fats that lower triglycerides in the blood and reduce blood pressure, while boosting the levels of HDL’s.
  3. Beans & legumes  – contain a water-soluble fibre (pectin) that binds cholesterol and shifts it out of the body. Good choices are kidney, lima, & soybeans, peas, chickpeas & lentils.
  4. Oats – provide soluble fibre that reduces the absorption of cholesterol. Brown rice, quinoa & barley have a similar effect, to a lesser extent.
  5. Soy products – contain isoflavones, and fibre that lower total cholesterol. Good choices are soymilk, tofu, edamame.
  6. Tannins in tea and compounds in green tea (catechins) lower LDL’s and stop the build up of cholesterol on artery walls.