If you’ve watched television at all lately, you’ve probably seen at least one commercial for a cholesterol lowering drug.  The sad truth is that an estimated 11 million plus Americans take statins to help lower their cholesterol, generating somewhere around $35 billion for the drug companies that manufacture these pills.  According to some studies, there are an additional 25 million Americans with high cholesterol.  While it’s easy to take a pill to bring down your cholesterol, there are foods that can help too – without the bothersome side effects often caused by pharmaceuticals.  If you’ve got high cholesterol, consider adding some of these foods to your diet:

10 Foods to Lower Cholesterol

1.  Oatmeal.  Oats have been shown to effectively lower cholesterol in a short period of time.  The effectiveness of oats is due to the beta-glucan that absorbs bad cholesterol and excretes it from the body.

2.  Nuts.  Nuts keep making the list of good foods to have in your diet.  Eating a handful of nuts a day has been shown to lower bad cholesterol by up to 10%.  Almonds, walnuts, and cashews are all great, heart-healthy choices.

3.  Beans.  The fiber content in beans helps slow the absorption of cholesterol and remove it from the body.  Black, pinto, kidney, and red beans are all great sources of fiber and can potentially lower your cholesterol up to 8%.  Try this easy to make heart-healthy Black Bean Soup.

4.  Avocado.  Avocado has been shown to help lower bad cholesterol while raising good cholesterol.  While this may not change your overall cholesterol number, your heart will know the difference.  Try my favorite Guacamole recipe for a dose of healthy fat!

5.  Blueberries.  Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants that can help lower cholesterol.  They are great to throw into a smoothie, eat by the handful for a snack, or toss some on your oatmeal in the morning.

6.  Olive oil.  Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which are good for your heart.  You only need about 2 tablespoons per day so it’s easy to switch out with other oils you may use.

7.  Tomatoes.  Researchers believe that the lycopene in tomatoes inhibits the production of bad cholesterol while simultaneously breaking down artery-clogging fat. Enjoying your favorite marina sauce or a handful of cherry tomatoes is a great way to get the heart-healthy benefits.  Try this beautiful Spinach Tomato Salad.

8.  Chocolate.  Another food that has so many great benefits.  The flavonoids contained in dark chocolate help lower cholesterol.  But not just any chocolate will do, look for at least 70% cocoa.

9.  Fish.  Fish contains lots of heart-healthy omega-3s.  Adding fish to your diet a couple of times a week is a great way to get the benefit of these heart-healthy fats.  This Glazed Salmon is one of my favorite recipes.

10.  Garlic.  Adding as little as a half clove of garlic to your diet each day can help lower your bad cholesterol.  Garlic is great paired with other cholesterol-fighting foods like olive oil, tomatoes and fish so add more of it to your favorite recipes.

What is your favorite cholesterol-lowering food?

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