The 5 Best Foods That Lower Cholesterol

How to reduce excess cholesterol?

The blood cholesterol level is determined by endogenous production (70% TOT, by the liver) and by that ingested with food (30% TOT).

Diet and physical activity are the two winning weapons for improving cholesterolemia; by combining both you obtain an improvement in lifestyle which determines:

The best strategy to reduce cholesterol (even though it is a lipid) non It is a LOW-lipid diet. The effectiveness of diet therapy for cholesterol is based on the predilection of unsaturated fats (up to 18-23% of the total) and on the simultaneous reduction of saturated fats (maximum 7% of the total); in this way it is possible to intervene from a metabolic point of view on excess cholesterol levels in the blood.

Furthermore, by lowering the amount of dietary cholesterol (<200 mg/day) and increasing the amount of fiber associated with plant sterols/stanols, it is possible to obtain a hypocholesterolemic effect by reducing intestinal absorption.

Use: In case of overweight or obesity, cholesterol reduction will benefit more from a LOW-calorie diet aimed at reducing overall weight and excess fat mass.

Did you know that…

We must not forget that the biosynthesis of cholesterol is modulated by its concentration in the cell, which is in turn stimulated by insulin and inversely proportional to the quantity consumed in the diet. High intracellular levels of cholesterol inhibit the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase, blocking its synthesis and controlling the body's cholesterol content (approximately 150 g).

To know more:
The cholesterol-fighting benefits of red yeast rice

5 Best Foods Against Cholesterol

Cholesterol lowering foods fall into 5 groups; they are:

  • Rich in dietary fibre
  • Rich in essential omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA).
  • Rich in PUFA-AGE omega 6
  • Rich in omega 9 PUFA
  • Added in sterols and/or plant stanols.

Group of foods with dietary fiber

Fiber allows you to reduce the absorption of dietary cholesterol and also the reabsorption of bile acids released from the gallbladder (which are themselves rich in endogenous cholesterol); ultimately, by simply increasing the amount of dietary fiber it is possible to reduce total cholesterolemia. Nonetheless, the fermentation of intestinal fibers determines the release and absorption of propionic acid, which acts on the endogenous hepatic production of cholesterol, decreasing it.

Foods with dietary fiber are plant-based, therefore: vegetables, fruit, cereals (especially whole grains), legumes and mushrooms; the fibrous component that affects cholesterolaemia the most is the “soluble” one and the daily quota of dietary fiber introduced with the diet should amount to approximately 30 g (soluble + insoluble).

A food particularly suitable for controlling cholesterol is oat bran; if consumed every day, being rich in both soluble fiber (15.4 g per 100 g of product) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (2.8 g per 100 g of product), it intervenes effectively in reducing LDL cholesterolemia. The daily portion (possibly replaceable with whole oats) is around 40 g, better if consumed for breakfast and accompanied by a cup of soy milk.

Group of foods with omega 3

Foods rich in omega 3 improve the metabolism of all lipids transported in the blood, from cholesterol (even if the specific effects have been confirmed and denied several times in the many studies on the subject) to triglycerides; furthermore, they contribute to reducing cardiovascular risk also thanks to their anti-thrombotic, anti-inflammatory and hypotensive function. The omega 3 family includes:

Group of foods with omega 6

Foods rich in omega 6 also improve the metabolism of endogenous cholesterol; omega 6 fatty acids have the ability to reduce total cholesterol but without discrimination between LDL and HDL. The omega 6 family includes:

  1. Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) or 18:3- omega 6
  2. Diohomo-gamma-linoleic acid (DGLA) or 20:3- omega 6
  3. Arachidonic acid (AA) or 20:4- omega 6.

All the essential omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids are contained mainly in seeds and dried fruit (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, peanuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, etc.), in seed oils, in dried fruit oils and in legumes. The desirable quantity of dried fruit in the diet would be a few tens of grams (max 40), however, since these are foods with a high caloric and lipid density, it is still advisable to balance the diet by eliminating other foods rich in fats (perhaps saturated) such as more mature cheeses, sausages, etc., and paying more attention to the dosage of the seasoning oil.

Group of foods with omega 9

Foods rich in omega 9 intervene selectively on reducing cholesterolemia solo LDL and triglycerides (VLDL), maintaining intact or even increasing the portion of circulating HDL; omega 9 fatty acids (PUFA non essential) are mainly contained in olives and virgin olive oil. From a practical point of view, it is recommended not to exceed 2-3 tablespoons of virgin olive oil per day to avoid the risk of excess calories and the percentage of lipids in the diet.

Group of foods added with plant sterols and/or stanols

Foods rich in plant sterols and stanols are fortified foods, therefore dietary. Sterols and stanols (such as the phospholipid lecithin) bind cholesterol (better if in the presence of dietary fibre) and hinder its intestinal absorption; 2 milligrams (mg) per day of sterols and/or stanols (contained in approximately 2 fortified dietary yogurts or two glasses of orange juice of the same category) can reduce LDL cholesterol by up to 10% of the total while keeping the HDL fraction intact .


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