Heart disease is the world’s leading cause of death.
Having high cholesterol levels — especially bad cholesterol or LDL — is linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
Here are 11 foods that can lower cholesterol and improve other risk factors for heart disease.
As part of your healthy heart diet, try to eat some of these every day. The more you add to your diet, the more they can help lower your cholesterol, especially if you cut down on saturated fat as well.
Legumes, also known as pulses, are a group of plant foods that includes beans, peas and lentils.
Legumes contain a lot of fiber, minerals and protein. Replacing some refined grains and processed meats in your diet with legumes can lower your risk of heart disease.
Avocados are an exceptionally nutrient-dense fruit.
They’re a rich source of monounsaturated fats and fiber. two nutrients that help lower bad and raise good cholesterol.
Clinical studies support the cholesterol-lowering effect of avocados.
#3. Nuts — Especially Almonds and Walnuts
Nuts are another exceptionally nutrient-dense food.
They’re very high in monounsaturated fats. Walnuts are also rich in the plant variety of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat associated with heart health.
Almonds and other nuts are particularly rich in L-arginine, an amino acid that helps your body make nitric oxide. This, in turn, helps regulate blood pressure.
What’s more, nuts provide phytosterols. These plant compounds are structurally similar to cholesterol and help lower cholesterol by blocking its absorption in your intestines.
#4. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel, are excellent sources of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega threes bolster heart health by increasing good cholesterol and lowering inflammation and stroke risk.
Keep in mind that the healthiest ways to cook fish are steaming, stewing or grilling. In fact, fried fish may increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
#5. Whole Grains — Especially Oats and Barley
Extensive research ties whole grains to lower heart disease risk.
Tip: Flavoured oat products like ‘Quick Oats’ often contain added salt and/or sugar. Choose whole grains as they’re closest to how they’re found in nature.
Whole grains keep all parts of the grain intact, which provides them with more vitamins, minerals, plant compounds and fiber than refined grains.
#6. Fruits and Berries
Fruit is an excellent addition to a heart-healthy diet for several reasons.
Many types of fruit are rich in soluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol levels.
It does this by encouraging your body to get rid of cholesterol and stopping your liver from producing this compound.
One kind of soluble fiber called pectin lowers cholesterol by up to 10%. It’s found in fruits including apples, grapes, citrus fruits and strawberries.
Fruit also contains bioactive compounds that help prevent heart disease and other chronic diseases due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
#7. Dark Chocolate and Cocoa
Cocoa is the main ingredient in dark chocolate.
It may seem too good to be true, but research verifies the claims that dark chocolate and cocoa can lower bad or LDL cholesterol.
However, chocolate is often high in added sugar — which negatively affects heart health.
Therefore, you should use cocoa alone or choose dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 75 to 85% or higher.
Garlic has been used for centuries as an ingredient in cooking and as a medicine.
It contains various powerful plant compounds, including allicin, its main active compound.
Studies suggest that garlic lowers blood pressure in people with elevated levels and may help lower total and bad cholesterol.
Because relatively large amounts of garlic are needed to achieve this heart-protective effect, many studies utilize aged supplements — which are considered more effective than other garlic preparations.
#9. Vegetables like Eggplant, okra and Dark leafy greens such as kale and spinach which contain lutein and other carotenoids, which are linked to a lower risk of heart disease.
Vegetables are a vital part of a heart-healthy diet.
They’re rich in fiber and antioxidants and low in calories, which is necessary for maintaining a healthy weight.
Vegetables are high in fiber and antioxidants and low in calories, making them a heart-healthy choice.
Tea harbors many plant compounds that improve your heart health.
While green tea gets a lot of attention, black tea and white tea have similar properties and health effects.
There are Two primary beneficial compounds in tea.
One is Catechins: it Help activate nitric oxide, which is important for healthy blood pressure. They also inhibit cholesterol synthesis and absorption and help prevent blood clots.
Second is Quercetin: this May improve blood vessel function and lower inflammation.
#11. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
One of the most important foods in the heart-healthy Mediterran