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14 Foods That Lower Cholesterol — an article on the Smart Living Network
February 21, 2010 at 1:54 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

14 Foods That Lower Cholesterol


If you're looking to lower your cholesterol through healthy eating habits, look no further than this list of 14 foods that will maximize your diet and lower cholesterol.

Fatty fish

This group can include salmon, tuna, mackerel, anchovies, trout, herring and sardines. Oily fish is full of heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids which boost the immune system, increase good cholesterol levels and protect the heart by removing plaque build up and reducing blood clots. They can also lower blood pressure.


Flaxseed can be found whole or ground, although many experts recommend the ground form as it's more easily digested. Flaxseed is full of omega 3"s, fiber and phytoestrogens and can promote healthy cholesterol levels (more good, less bad) and decrease risk of heart disease. Try sprinkling ground flaxseed over cereal or oatmeal, and baking it into muffins, pancakes or breads.

Whole Grains

Whole grains are known for their fiber and omega 3 fatty acids and various types of vitamins. Throw some oatmeal into and baked dish (pancakes, breads, etc) and seek out prepackaged items only if they contain whole grains as the first ingredient. Try cooking with couscous, barley, polenta or wild rice instead of traditional pasta or white rice. Better yet, avoid all foods that contain white flour, as it has absolutely no nutritional value.


Beans are amazing foods. They are sources of protein, fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, and tons of vitamins and can be a great alternative to meat. If you don't want to go veggie, simply substitute some of the meat for beans. Put beans in salads, soups, pasta dishes or over rice.


Nuts of any kind are great; they have tons of protein, fiber and alpha-linolenic fatty acids (the plant version of omega-3 fatty acids) and phytosterols, all of which have been shown to lower cholesterol. Try nuts in salads and pasta dishes, or nut flours when you bake.

Tofu or Soy

Tofu or soy products are high in antioxidants, protein and vitamins. They're also very versatile and can be used in almost anything. Substitute tofu for meat when cooking; use soy milk with breakfast or in baking.

Red Wine

Red wine is chock full of antioxidants and has been linked in numerous studies to a reduced risk of heart disease. One glass a day for women and two glasses for men has been shown to have great health benefits.

Dark Chocolate

As if red wine wasn't enough of an indulgence, dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, and it's delicious too. The darker it is the better; choose chocolate with 70% cocoa content or more.


Not all tea is equal; choose green or black teas for maximum antioxidant concentrations. Limit sugar, milk or other additives; try lemon and a squeeze of honey.


Avocados are versatile and tasty and are full of healthy fats and antioxidants. Slice them over salads with vinaigrette; smash up with salsa for some guacamole.

Green Veggies

Green veggies are sources of a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, not to mention antioxidants. Sneak them into anything possible including pasta sauces, soups, salads and sandwiches.

Fruit Juices

And we mean real fruit juices here, not the ones made of high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavorings. Choose pomegranate, cherry, blueberry or cranberry juice as they are packed with antioxidants, phytosterols, polyphenols and tons of vitamins. Try mixing some juice with sparkling or plain water or orange juice if it's too strong tasting.

Vegetables of Any Kind

All vegetables are packed with antioxidants, fiber and every vitamin you can imagine. Be sure to choose them fresh or frozen and consume the whole color spectrum.


Last on the list but not least important is fruit, which is also packed with antioxidants, fiber and vitamins. Again, choose a wide variety of fruit, and pick from every color category. Lowering cholesterol doesn't have to be boring. Choose a wide variety of new and exciting foods every day to maximize the potential of your diet.


Photo Credit: David Ascher

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