When trying to lower cholesterol by changing your diet, there are two different ways you can accomplish your goals. The first is to replace foods that are high in cholesterol with foods that are low in cholesterol or have no cholesterol. The other thing you can do is to increase your intake of foods that contain actual cholesterol lowering agents. Of course, when you find foods that do both things, then you have a surefire way to lower your cholesterol and lead a healthier life.
It is worth mentioning quickly that although antioxidants do not technically lower cholesterol, they do prevent cholesterol from forming plagues which are what cause cardiovascular disease. Therefore it is also recommended to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables and their high amounts of antioxidants as a way to prevent cardiovascular disease associated with high cholesterol levels.
Here is a list of foods that actually lower cholesterol levels, most importantly, they target LDL cholesterol which is the harmful type of cholesterol. Along with each of these foods is listed a bad food that they can replace.
1. Salmon and other deep-water oily fish. Use these types of fish to replace red meat in your meals. Salmon and other oily fish contain Omega-3 fatty acids. While the name sounds bad, these fatty acids actually remove LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream. Red meat contains saturated fats, which is one of the leading contributors to cardiovascular disease.
2. Seeds and nuts in salads. Use crushed nuts or seeds to replace croutons in your salads. Many people make a huge salad full of nutritious fruits and vegetables, loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and then throw a handful of partially hydrogenated oil on top of it. Croutons are loaded with this type of oil that is comprised of trans fats. This type of fat, along with saturated fats are the worst offenders as far as cardiovascular health is concerned. Seeds and nuts, like oily fish, contain large amounts of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
3. Oatmeal for breakfast. Use oatmeal to replace eggs. Oatmeal is loaded with soluble fiber. Soluble fiber forms an indigestible gel when it enters the small intestines. As this gel moves through the small intestines, it traps cholesterol and prevents much of it from being absorbed. As the soluble fiber leaves the body, it takes the unabsorbed cholesterol with it. While eggs are a high source of cholesterol, they aren’t nearly as terrible as has been reported. They are certainly a food that should only be eaten in moderation, and only occasionally. If you don´t want to replace your eggs with oatmeal, make sure to add oatmeal to any meal with eggs, it will substantially lower the amount of cholesterol that makes it into your bloodstream.
4. Olive oil and vinegar based salad dressings. Use to replace mayonnaise based dressings. Again we are back to salads. While everyone knows the benefits of salads, it seems we also love to go out of our way to ruin a good thing. Even low-fat dressings will contain partially hydrogenated oil in large quantities. Olive oil contains mostly poly and monounsaturated fats, which are the good type of fats. Olive oil is also full of antioxidants, which as pointed out reduce the chances of cholesterol plaques from forming inside arteries.