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Top 11 Foods for Lowering Cholesterol: Harvard Study

Most people know that foods high in saturated fats like some red meats and full fat cheese can raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels, putting you at a higher risk for heart disease and stroke.

What many people may not know is that there are also a number of food groups that can actually help you reduce cholesterol levels as well.

Harvard researchers recently recommended the top 11 foods for lowering your cholesterol. Some of these foods are high in soluble fibers, which bind cholesterol in the digestive system and drag it out of the body. Others on the list contain polyunsaturated fats, which have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels.

Some of these foods also contain plant sterols and stenols, which are naturally occurring substances in plants which block cholesterol absorption.

The top 11 cholesterol fighting foods are:

1. Oats

2. Barley and other whole grains

3. Beans

4. Eggplant and Okra

5. Nuts

6. Vegetable oils

7. Apples, grapes, strawberries, and citrus fruits

8. Foods fortified with sterols and stanols

9. Soy

10. Fatty fish

11. Fiber supplements

The researchers provided consumption recommendations for some of the foods. For instance, they recommended that people eat more oats because the average American only consumes around half the recommended 20-35 grams of oats daily. One of the easiest ways to up your oat intake is by switching over to oat-based cereals like Cheerios®.

They also noted that eating just 2 ounces of nuts daily may lower your cholesterol by 5%.

Eating 25 grams of soy protein daily, which is the equivalent of 10 ounces of tofu or 2.5 cups of soy milk, can also lower bad cholesterol by the same amount, and just 2 grams of plant sterols daily can lower cholesterol by 10%.

As you can see, the list incorporates a very broad range of foods. The researchers recommend incorporating a variety from that list into your diet for the best results.

Studies have shown that the average American may lower their cholesterol levels by 40% over one year's time by including some of these foods in their diet, avoiding other foods and making some basic lifestyle changes like performing moderate exercise on a daily basis.

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