Foods That Lower Cholesterol
Soluble fiber is a naturally occurring substance found in some 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 high in soluble fiber that can help lower your cholesterol include:
- Oat bran
Other foods that are high in soluble fiber include:
- Kidney beans
- Brussels sprouts
- Baked beans
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.
One of the easiest ways to get soluble fiber into your diet is by eating bran cereals for breakfast. Some high-fiber, cholesterol-lowering cereals include:
- Raisin bran
- Oat bran
- Oatmeal (which has 1.6 grams of fiber in ¾ cup of cooked cereal).
Soy protein foods were once believed to be foods that lower cholesterol. These foods were thought to lower "bad" LDL cholesterol without lowering "good" HDL cholesterol. However, based on a recent analysis of studies, the American Heart Association 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.
This doesn't mean you should give up your soy, especially if you like soy products. Soy protein will not harm your health -- in fact, substituting soy protein, such as tofu, tempeh, 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, and minerals, and low content of saturated fat.