7 foods that help lower cholesterol

7 foods that help lower cholesterol
7 foods that help lower cholesterol

While many factors can impact cholesterol levels, some of them completely out of our control (like our genetics), the foods we eat have a profound impact.

Incorporating heart-healthy foods into your daily meals can play a key role in lowering bad cholesterol (LDL) and increasing good cholesterol (HDL).

There are certain foods known for their cholesterol-lowering properties. They range from nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables to whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats.

In addition to including physical activity in your habits and taking medication recommended by your doctor, incorporating these foods into your diet can be an important step towards achieving healthy cholesterol levels.

Foods that help lower cholesterol


Legumes, which include lentils and chickpeas, are not only versatile and nutritious components of a healthy diet, but they also play a significant role in managing healthy cholesterol levels.

The soluble fiber present in this type of food binds to cholesterol particles in the digestive system and removes them from the body before they can circulate in the blood.

Credits: LauriPatterson/istock

Lentils and other legumes help fight bad cholesterol

Data published in Nutrients showed that swapping just 30 grams of common protein foods (including meat, poultry, eggs, seafood and soy products) for ¼ cup of legumes can lead to a reduction in cholesterol by more than 10%.


Mushrooms also play a significant role in managing cholesterol levels.

They contain a mixture of powerful compounds, such as beta-glucans and chitin, which contribute to reducing bad cholesterol (LDL) while increasing good cholesterol (HDL).

Mushrooms can help with health

Credits: RistoArnaudov/istock

Mushrooms can help with health

According to a meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Medicine, after evaluating seven studies, the results showed that eating mushrooms can have favorable effects on HDL and LDL cholesterol levels.


Macadamia nuts are packed with monounsaturated fats, similar to those found in olive oil, known for their cholesterol-lowering effects.

Consuming macadamia nuts can have a positive impact on reducing cholesterol

Credits: gorchittza2012/istock

Consuming macadamia nuts can have a positive impact on reducing cholesterol

They are also a good source of antioxidants, dietary fiber and phytosterols, which contribute to overall heart health.

According to a randomized trial published in the Journal of Nutritional Science, daily consumption of macadamia nuts not only does not lead to weight gain, but also appears to have cholesterol-lowering effects.


There is some research linking regular consumption of prunes with improvements in cholesterol levels among older adults.

In men over 55, consumption of prunes has been associated with improved HDL levels and improved total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio.

Among postmenopausal women, eating four to six prunes daily has been linked to improved HDL levels.


Oats are rich in beta-glucan, the powerful cholesterol-lowering agent also found in mushrooms.

When consumed, beta-glucan forms a gel-like substance in the intestine. Thus, it binds to bile acids rich in cholesterol and prevents their absorption into the bloodstream.

Oats help reduce bad cholesterol

Credits: iStock/jirkaejc

Oats help reduce bad cholesterol

This process not only reduces levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or “bad” cholesterol, but also helps with overall digestive health.

Including oats in your daily diet, therefore, can be a practical way to control cholesterol levels.


In a clinical trial, participants who ate an avocado a day reduced their total cholesterol and bad LDL cholesterol.

Furthermore, they improved the relationship between total cholesterol and good HDL cholesterol levels.

In a different clinical study, 45 overweight or obese adults added an avocado a day to their low-fat, moderate-oil diets.

By adding avocado, researchers noticed an increase in blood antioxidant levels and a decrease in the oxidation of LDL cholesterol levels.


Barley is a significant source of dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals. All of this is beneficial for heart health, digestion and maintaining a balanced diet.

Barley beta-glucan is a type of soluble fiber that targets LDL.

A 2009 review in the Annals of Family Medicine showed significant reductions in LDL, as well as triglycerides and total cholesterol, after a few weeks of consuming barley.

The article is in Portuguese

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