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Top 10 Cholesterol Lowering Foods

author image Alexandra Kaplan Corwin
Alexandra Kaplan Corwin is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator. She works at Montefiore Medical Center in Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes and has a private practice in Ardsley, N.Y., where she counsels adults and children for various medical conditions and weight loss. She completed her Master of Science in clinical nutrition at New York University and holds an undergraduate degree from Cornell University.
Top 10 Cholesterol Lowering Foods
Lower cholesterol through eating habits. Photo Credit: Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images

High cholesterol increases your risk for heart disease. Some powerful foods contain nutrients and properties that can lower your cholesterol. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat are found in different foods and help to improve cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber -- found in fruits, vegetables and legumes -- works to lower the "bad" LDL cholesterol. Incorporate cholesterol-lowering foods into your diet to protect yourself against heart disease.

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Fatty Fish: Wild Salmon and Mackerel

Raw salmon.
Raw salmon. Photo Credit: HandmadePictures/iStock/Getty Images

Certain types of fish contain high levels of polyunsaturated fats known as omega-3 fatty acids that help to lower triglycerides, which are the fats in your blood, and raise the "good" HDL cholesterol. Fish with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids are wild salmon and mackerel. Eat fatty fish at least twice per week to lower your cholesterol and risk for heart disease.

Foods With Healthy Fats: Olive Oil, Canola Oil, Avocado

Olive Oil.
Olive Oil. Photo Credit: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

Olive and canola oil are liquid plant-based oils containing monounsaturated fats that help to lower the "bad" LDL cholesterol. Choose these fats instead of butter, lard and shortening, which are higher in saturated fat that increases cholesterol. Try dressing your salad or roasted vegetables with olive oil for a dose of healthy fat. Avocado is also a powerhouse food high in monounsaturated fat. Avocado can be added as a spread to sandwiches in place of mayonnaise and butter to help lower cholesterol.

Nuts: Walnuts and Pistachios

Walnuts. Photo Credit: Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images

Nuts contain healthy fat that helps lower cholesterol. Walnuts are unique because they contain omega-3 fatty acids that lower triglycerides and raise HDL. A 2010 study in the "Journal of Nutrition" found that pistachios, which contain monounsaturated fats, help to lower LDL cholesterol in adults with high cholesterol. Try consuming a portion-controlled snack of walnuts or pistachios instead of chips or sweets that are typically high in unhealthy fats that raise cholesterol.

Foods With Soluble Fiber: Brussels Sprouts, Oranges and Lima Beans

Bowl of brussel sprouts.
Bowl of brussel sprouts. Photo Credit: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Soluble fiber has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol by blocking cholesterol and fats from being absorbed into the bloodstream. Cooked Brussels sprouts and oranges contain higher levels of soluble fiber than other fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables also contain antioxidants that help to protect against heart disease. Soluble fiber can also be found in cooked lima beans, which contain more soluble fiber than other types of beans.

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