10 Foods That Lower Bad Cholesterol Levels

January 04, 2020

10 Foods That Lower Bad Cholesterol Levels

10 Foods That Lower Bad Cholesterol Levels 

A study done by the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) found both red and white meat significantly raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in the blood, increasing the risk of heart disease, when compared to plant-based protein. "When we planned this study, we expected red meat to have a more adverse effect on blood cholesterol levels than white meat, but we were surprised that this was not the case —their effects on cholesterol are identical when saturated fat levels are equivalent," stated author Ronald Krauss, a senior scientist and Atherosclerosis Research Director at CHORI. The study confirmed avoiding meat, of all types, is the most effective way to lower blood cholesterol levels. Here are 10 plant-based foods that can help lower cholesterol. 

1. Legumes

10 Vegan Foods That Lower "Bad" Cholesterol Levels

Legumes such as beans, lentils, and peas are a great source of protein, high in fiber, and have been shown to reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol.

2. Avocados 

Vegan Foods That Lower Bad Cholesterol Levels

Avocados are rich in both monosaturated fats and fiber which are both known to raise HDL “good” cholesterol and lower LDL “bad” cholesterol. 

3. Nuts

Nuts can help lower bad cholesterol levels

More specifically, almonds and walnuts— both are very high in monosaturated fats, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Additionally, nuts provide phytosterols, a plant compound nearly identical to the chemical compound of cholesterol so it actually blocks cholesterol from being absorbed in your intestines. Consuming almonds and walnuts on a regular basis was linked to a 28 percent decrease in blood cholesterol levels. 

4. Whole Grains 

Whole grains are great for lowering bad cholesterol

Whole grains like oats and barley are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals that promote heart health, and are both high in beta-glucan—a type of soluble fiber that helps lower cholesterol.

5. Berries

Berries can help lower cholesterol levels

A small Finnish study that categorizes berries as a "superfood" suggests that eating a moderate amount of berries on a regular basis may increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels and reduce blood pressure. 

6. Garlic

Garlic can lower bad cholesterol levels

The main active compound in garlic is allicin, a plant compound that is linked to lowering cholesterol as well as the risk of heart disease. 

7. Soy

Soy can be effective when trying to lower cholesterol levels

Soy is a type of legume that has been recently linked to lowering LDL cholesterol and raising HDL levels. This is especially prevalent in people who already have high cholesterol.

8. Vegetables


Vegetables are rich in fiber, antioxidants, and contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. Certain vegetables are also high in pectin, a cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber that is also found in apples and oranges. 

9. Dark Leafy Greens

Dark Leavy Greens Can Lower Bad Cholesterol Levels

Speaking of vegetables, adding dark leafy greens to your diet is probably the heart-healthiest choice you can make. These greens, such as kale and spinach, contain carotenoids, like lutein, that act as antioxidants preventing hardened arteries. Studies suggest lutein lowers oxidized LDL levels and can help prevent cholesterol from binding to artery walls. Dark leafy greens can also lower cholesterol by binding to bile acids, causing your body to excrete more cholesterol.

10. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Olive Oil

Olive Oil is not only delicious but it’s also heart-healthy. Olive Oil contains high levels of monosaturated fatty acids that help raise HDL “good” cholesterol levels and lower LDL “bad” cholesterol levels. Apart from that, olive oil is high in polyphenols which are known to reduce bodily inflammation, decreasing the risk of heart disease.

10 Foods That Lower Bad Cholesterol Levels Overall

"Bad" cholesterol is an integral part of heart health. Although it sounds like a rather complicated part of our health, it isn't. In fact, it's pretty simple. Cholesterol is produced in the liver, primarily by saturated fats. This is one of the reasons a diet high in saturated fats from animal-based foods and refined oils is said to harmful to your heart health. Cholesterol moves through the blood via the arteries, which is why a high cholesterol diet can lead to clogged arteries over time and prevent proper blood flow to your heart. These ten vegan foods can help lower cholesterol levels leaving you feeling happy, alive, and ready for life's next adventures!


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