Heart Health

Five Great Cholesterol-Fighting Foods

Although you might have poor eating habits and, as a result, high cholesterol levels, you can work to manage your condition through eating. According to the Harvard Medical School, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and “good fats” all play a part.

But they add that some foods are especially good at controlling cholesterol levels because they are high-fiber, or provide “good fats,” or have plant sterols and stanols that keep you from absorbing cholesterol.  Here, according to the Harvard experts, are five good ones:

Oats. The Harvard experts suggest trying oatmeal or a cold oat-based cereal like Cheerios. A serving provides 1 to 2 grams of fiber, and if you add bananas or strawberries, that’s good for an additional half-gram.

Beans. Not only are they rich in fiber, the Harvard experts say that they also take a while to digest, and that means you feel fuller longer.

Nuts. Walnuts, almonds and peanuts, eaten in moderate quantities, are good for your heart, the Harvard experts say. Two ounces of nuts each day can slightly lower LDL cholesterol.

Foods fortified with sterols and stanols. These substances, which are extracted from plants, prevent the body from absorbing cholesterol. The Harvard experts say they’re being added to everything from granola bars to orange juice. Additionally, you can get them in supplement form. The Harvard experts say that consuming 2 grams of plant sterols or stanols can lower bad cholesterol by about 10 percent.

Fatty fish. Regularly consuming fish (two or three times a week) can lower bad cholesterol through its omega-3 fat. These reduce triglycerides in the bloodstream and help prevent abnormal heart rhythms, the Harvard experts say.

For more information, buy the Harvard Health Publication Managing Your Cholesterol. Click here to order.