Cholesterol Lowering Foods
Soluble fiber is a naturally occurring substance found in certain fruits, vegetables, and grains. Research scientists believe that when fiber is digested, it sticks to cholesterol and prevents it from being absorbed. Examples of foods good for lowering cholesterol that are also high in soluble fiber include:
- Oat bran.
Other foods that are high in soluble fiber include:
- Kidney beans
- Baked beans
- Brussels sprouts.
Clinical studies show that a heart-healthy diet (low in saturated fat and cholesterol; high in fruits, vegetables, and grain products that contain soluble fiber) can lower blood cholesterol. In these studies, cholesterol levels dropped between 0.5 percent and 2 percent for every gram of soluble fiber eaten per day.
An easy way to get high-fiber foods into your diet is to eat certain cereals for breakfast. Some high-fiber, cholesterol lowering cereals include:
- Oatmeal (which has 1.6 grams of fiber in ¾ cup of cooked cereal)
- Oat bran
- Raisin bran.
Although soy protein foods (which are made from soybeans) were once believed to help lower cholesterol, the American Heart Association has issued a statement saying that the heart-healthy benefits of soy protein are minimal at best. Even with a large intake of soy protein, there was little effect on LDL cholesterol levels and no effect on HDL levels.
While foods containing soy protein are no longer considered cholesterol lowering foods, they can still be part of a healthy diet. Soy protein will not harm your health, and substituting soy protein, such as tofu, tempeh, edamame, soy nuts, soy milk, soy burgers, soy cheese, and soy flour for animal protein, continues to be a wise food choice because of its high content of polyunsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and low content of saturated fat.