The best meal for anyone worried about cholesterol is a meal low in saturated fat and abundant in fruits and vegetables. And although there are no magic bullets beyond that healthy prescription, certain foods have been shown to give cholesterol levels an extra nudge in the right direction. Weave some of these whole foods, all pinpointed by research as cholesterol-friendly, into your daily diet.
Substances in almond skins help prevent LDL "bad" cholesterol from being oxidized, a process that can otherwise damage the lining of blood vessels and increase cardiovascular risk.
The monounsaturated fats in avocados have been found to lower "bad" LDLs and raise "good" HDLs, especially in people with mildly elevated cholesterol.
When volunteers in a U.S. Department of Agriculture study added barley to the standard American Heart Association diet, LDL "bad" cholesterol levels fell more than twice as far.
Beans and lentils
From a recent study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, LDL "bad" cholesterol levels fell almost twice as far in those volunteers on a low-fat diet who added beans and lentils (along with more whole grains and vegetables) to the menu.
Blueberries contain a powerful antioxidant called pterostilbene that may help lower LDL cholesterol.
When women in a University of Toronto study added oat bran to an already heart-healthy diet, HDL-cholesterol levels -- the beneficial kind -- climbed more than 11 percent.
Drinking a glass of wine with dinner -- any alcoholic beverage, in fact -- has been shown to raise good-cholesterol levels and lower the risk of a heart attack.
-- Courtesy Peter Jaret, EatingWell.com on foodnetwork.com Date: July 27, 2009
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