An easy first step to improve your cholesterol is eating a bowl of oatmeal or cold oat based cereal like Cheerios for breakfast. It gives you about two grams of soluble fiber. Add a banana or even strawberries for another half gram. Current nutrition studies recommend getting 15 to 30 grams of fiber per day, with at least 10 to 15 grams coming from soluble fiber.
Barley and other whole grains
Like oat bran and oats, barley and other whole grains can help lower the risk of heart disease, mainly due to the soluble fiber they deliver.
Beans are extremely rich in soluble fiber. They also take awhile for your body to digest, causing you feel full for longer after a meal. That is one reason beans are a useful food for people trying to lose weight. With so many choices from kidney and navy beans to black eyed, garbanzos, lentils peas and so many ways to prepare them, beans are a very diverse food.
Okra and eggplant
Both of these low calorie veggies are good sources of soluble fiber.
A lot of studies show that an intake of nuts is good for your heart. Eating two ounces of nuts per day can slightly lower LDL, on the order of 7%. Nuts have additional nutrients that protect the heart in other ways.
Using liquid vegetable oils such as safflower, sunflower, canola and others in place of lard, butter or shortening while cooking or at the serving helps lower LDL.
Grapes, apples, strawberries and citrus fruits
These fruits are rich in a type of soluble fiber that lowers LDL so called as pectin.
Foods full of stanols and sterols
Stanols and sterols extracted from plants gum up the ability of your body to absorb cholesterol from food. Companies add them to foods ranging from granola bars and margarine to chocolate and orange juice. They also are available as supplements. Getting two grams of plant sterols or stanols per day can lower LDL cholesterol by about 12%.
Eating soybeans and foods made from them, such as soy milk and tofu, is touted as a powerful way to lower cholesterol. Analysis shows that the effect is more modest consuming 27 grams of soy protein per day can lower LDL by 6% to 9%.
Eating fish 2 or 3 times a week can lower LDL in 2 ways:
1. By replacing meat that has fats boosting saturated LDL.
2. By delivering omega 3 LDL lowering fats. Omega reduces triglycerides in your bloodstream and also protects the heart by preventing the onset of abnormal heart rhythms.
Supplements offer the least appealing way to get soluble fiber. 2 teaspoons a day of psyllium- found in Metamucil and other bulk forming laxatives provide about four grams of soluble fiber.
The saturated fat accruing in red meat, milk, other dairy products, coconut and palm oils directly boosts LDL. One way to lower levels of LDL is to slow down eating of saturated fat. Try substituting ground beef for regular; low-fat or skim milk for whole milk; olive oil or a vegetable-oil margarine for butter; baked fish or chicken for fried.
Trans fats boost LDL as much as saturated fats do. They also lower protective HDL, up inflammation and increase the tendency for blood clots to form inside your blood vessels. It is recommended to get no more than 2 grams of trans fats every day and less is much better.
Weight and exercise
Excess weight and not exercising affect circulating of bloodstream fats. Being overweight boosts harmful LDL, while inactivity decreases “good’’ HDL. Lose weight if needed and exercise more to reverse these trends.