Diet & Nutrition
Senior Health

Five Foods That Fight Cholesterol

Although it’s easy to raise cholesterol levels by choosing the wrong foods, it’s also true that you can lower your cholesterol just by eating the right stuff.

According to experts from Harvard Medical School, there are some foods that are especially good in helping you to bring down cholesterol. They do this, the experts say, by delivering a good dose of fiber.  And fiber binds cholesterol and its “precursors” to help them leave the body before they get into circulation in your bloodstream. Other good foods, the experts say, provide polyunsaturated fats, which lower bad (LDL) cholesterol, the experts say. Additionally, foods with plant sterols and stanols block the absorption of cholesterol. Here are five great food choices from the Harvard experts:

Oats. Eat oatmeal or an oat-based cold cereal; it’s an easy way to start lowering cholesterol and provides 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber. A banana or strawberries can give you another half-gram of fiber.

Beans. They are especially rich in soluble fiber. The Harvard experts point out that beans take a while for the body to digest, making you feel full longer. They are good for weight loss as well as cholesterol control.

Nuts. Eating almonds, walnuts, peanuts and other nuts can be heart-healthy. But the Harvard experts emphasize keeping your portion to two ounces per day. That amount, they say, can lower LDL cholesterol by 5 percent.

Foods fortified with sterols and stanols. Sterols and stanols, substances extracted from plants, block the body’s ability to absorb cholesterol. They are being added to a variety of foods, including margarine, granola bars and even chocolate. They  foods ranging from margarine and granola bars to orange juice and chocolate. And they are available as supplements. Two grams of plant sterols or stanols can lower LDL cholesterol by about 10 percent, the Harvard experts say.

Fatty fish. The Harvard experts say that eating fish two or three times a week can lower bad cholesterol by delivering omega-3 fats. These fats protect the heart and lower bad cholesterol levels.

For more ways to keep your heart healthy and conquer high cholesterol, buy the special report Managing Your Cholesterol from Harvard Medical School.