Warning: Side effect = satisfied stomach
You can fight cholesterol with food. Here are five foods that are effective in lowering cholesterol – without medication! And as I warned, their only side effect is a satisfied stomach!
This wonderful citrus fruit contains pectin. Like other types of soluble fiber, pectin forms a gooey mass in your stomach that traps cholesterol and carries it out of your body before it can be absorbed into your bloodstream (where it contributes to clogged arteries). One medium orange provides about 2 to 3 g of soluble fiber, as well as other beneficial nutrients such as vitamin C, folate, and potassium. You have to eat oranges in order to benefit from their fiber content, so forget your juicer, and choose thick-skinned varieties for the best taste and easiest peeling.
Oats, a soluble fiber-rich grain – is an obvious winner. Oat flour is another versatile option. You can make your own with your food processor. Oat flour can be substituted for up to half the all-purpose flour in most recipes.
Beans and Lentils
Beans and lentils are rich in fiber, a good portion of which is the heart-healthy soluble type. They’re also a great low-fat replacement for animal protein, which is often full of saturated fat. Beans can be incorporated into breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snacks.
Eating one or two handfuls per day for four weeks significantly reduces LDL cholesterol in people with elevated blood levels. Turns out, these little powerhouses are a great source of phytosterols, the natural plant compounds that block absorption of dietary cholesterol. They’re also rich in monounsaturated fat, fiber, and antioxidants – all of which are good for heart health.
Because losing weight is the best way to lower your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and boost your HDL (“good”) cholesterol, cutting calories is important. One surefire way to cut back is to use an oil spray in place of butter or bottled oils when cooking. Replacing the saturated fat in butter with heart-healthy unsaturated plant oils, like olive and canola, helps to improve your overall cholesterol profile.
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