7 Foods to Lower Cholesterol and Protect Your Heart
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The abundance of omega-3 fatty acids in salmon may dial down artery-clogging LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while boosting levels of good-for-you HDL cholesterol, according to research. An added bonus: Eating more salmon, trout or herring in lieu of high-in-saturated red meat spells double-the-trouble for unhealthy cholesterol levels.
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A perfect pairing for your grilled salmon, red wine is brimming with resveratrol, a polyphenol compound that not only dampens artery-damaging inflammation, but may also reduce blood levels of total and LDL cholesterol. Trying to watch your alcohol intake? Get your resveratrol from red grapes, purple grape juice or other red berries. Or try this savory chicken, red wine and roasted garlic recipe.
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Lentils, pinto beans, black beans and other hearty-tasting legumes come packed with soluble fiber, the kind that binds to cholesterol in your digestive tract, then eliminates it from your body before it has a chance to get into your bloodstream. Swap your high-in-saturated fat meat for more protein-rich bean stews, casseroles, and low-fat Mexican pinto-bean dishes.
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More research is needed, but preliminary studies suggest the probiotic compounds in yogurt may boost HDL cholesterol—the good-for-you kind that escorts artery-clogging LDL from the blood to the liver, where it's then excreted from the body. For extra cholesterol-lowering punch, go for low-fat Greek yogurt topped with fresh high-fiber blueberries, strawberries or apples.
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Many varieties of whole fruit are high in pectin, another type of soluble fiber that may lower total and LDL cholesterol. Some of the highest pectin-containing fruits include grapes (also high in cholesterol-lowering resveratrol), strawberries, apples and citrus fruits. Click the button below for tips on getting more fruits and veggies into your diet.
Nuts and Seeds
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Crunchy, savory, and loaded with protein, fiber, and antioxidants—nuts and seeds contain a boatload of polyunsaturated fats, which studies suggest may help lower both total and LDL cholesterol. Find out why nuts and seeds are so important to an athlete's diet.
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Also rich-in-soluble fiber, oatmeal helps lower LDL and total cholesterol, according to several studies. Opt for steel cut oats—the whole grain variety—over rolled or instant oatmeal. Some studies suggest steel-cut oats cause a nosedive in high blood pressure, as well. That'll make your heart and arteries twice as happy. Click below to learn about a 15 quick and healthy breakfasts.