If you are trying to lower your cholesterol, you have probably already heard that sticking to foods like vegetables, whole grains, fish, and other heart health-supporting choices is one of the best things you can do to accomplish your goal.
It is true that your dietary choices can have a huge impact on your cholesterol levels. In fact, the American Heart Association states that lifestyle choices, including making the right dietary choices, may help bring your cholesterol levels into line without the need of exploring certain medications.
Specifically, focusing on foods that are low in both saturated and trans fat while being rich in nutrients like soluble fiber, healthy fats, and micronutrients like magnesium and calcium has been linked to a reduction in LDL “bad” cholesterol and total cholesterol levels in clinical trials. Limiting your sodium and added sugar intake is also recommended. Essentially, the bulk of your diet should consist of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, nuts, legumes, and non-tropical vegetable oils.
Finding ways to follow these cholesterol-lowering diet tips can get challenging if you are focused on easy-to-prepare dishes. Fortunately, we rounded up 10 easy recipe ideas that can help support healthy cholesterol levels in a super-simple way. Read on, and for more on how to eat healthy, don’t miss The #1 Best Juice to Drive Every Day, Says Science.
Including whole grains in your diet may help support healthy cholesterol levels, including total and LDL measurements. Sorghum is an ancient grain that is a staple food in many cultures.
While sorghum is a fantastic base for a whole-grain side dish, it is also a perfect snack to enjoy when it is popped just like you would pop popcorn. Once they are heated and popped, you will be left with tiny popped whole-grain kernels that won’t get stuck in your teeth like popcorn can. Top this snack with nutritional yeast, garlic powder, cumin, and chili powder for a dairy-free cheesy-like nosh, or sprinkle a combo of cinnamon and sugar on top for a more sweet snack.
Drinking black tea may be a simple way to lower LDL “bad” cholesterol, especially if you have higher cardiovascular risk, according to the results of a study published in Clinical Nutrition.
Level up your traditional cup of tea with a tea latte. After steeping 1 teabag of black tea in ½ cup of boiling water until brewed to your liking in a teacup, stir 1 teaspoon of honey into the mix until it is dissolved. Finally, pour ½ cup of frothed 2% milk on top of your tea for a cozy and satisfying drink that helps keep your heart health in check in a delicious way.
High intake of fatty fish, like salmon, is linked to improved HDL “good” cholesterol according to data published in the British Journal of Nutrition. Thankfully, making a salmon dish doesn’t have to be a whole production. Simply drizzling a salmon filet with olive oil and sprinkling it with some herbs and spices before baking it in the oven results in a protein-packed main dish that pairs well with whole grain and fresh veggie on busy weeknights.
Oatmeal topped with berries and walnuts
Oatmeal is a quintessential cholesterol-lowering food, thanks to a unique type of soluble fiber that oats contain called beta-glucans. This fiber can help the body remove cholesterol, ultimately helping you achieve healthy levels in a natural way.
Topping your oatmeal with walnuts can help support healthy cholesterol levels as well. According to results of a study published in Circulation, elderly people who include walnuts in their diet every day resulted in an average 4.3 mg/dL reduction in LDL cholesterol levels, with even more of a reduction among people with elevated cholesterol levels. Based on this data, aiming for approximately 13-25 walnut halves every day will help you benefit from the cholesterol-lowering effects of this versatile and delicious nut.
And what is a bowl of oatmeal without berries? Adding a handful of berries gives your oatmeal a boost of antioxidants, satiating fiber, and a sweet taste with no added sugar. Certainly a winning combo.
Tofu Stir Fry
There aren’t many other meals that are as simple as making a tofu stir fry. Tossing some firm tofu cubes and veggies in a pan along with some healthy oil and seasoning can be a quick and nourishing meal that checks so many boxes.
Tofu, a protein product made from soybeans, contains components, such as isoflavones and lecithins that may improve cardiovascular health. The data surrounding this relationship is so strong that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has permitted food manufacturers to state that eating 25 grams of soy protein every day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.
And when it comes to cholesterol-lowering benefits, data shows that including soy products in a diet can significantly improve total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.
When making your stir fry, just remember to choose sauces and seasonings that are lower in sodium, as many choices can be loaded with added salt.
READ MORE: Secret Effects of Eating Tofu, Says Science
Starting your day with an orange smoothie can give your body a boost of immune-supporting nutrients as well as some cholesterol-lowering benefits as well. Observational studies have shown a relationship between adults who consume orange juice and significantly lower total and LDL cholesterol levels compared to non-consumers.
To make an OJ smoothie, toss some 100% orange juice in a blender along with ½ of a frozen banana, Greek vanilla yogurt, and ice cubes. Blend until smooth and enjoy!
RELATED: The Best & Worst Greek Yogurts in 2021—Ranked!
Steamed Kale Salad
For an easy cholesterol-lowering side dish, top some steamed kale with a drizzle of olive oil and red pepper flakes, and serve it along with a lean protein and a healthy carb.
Steamed kale can help the body bind bile acid, ultimately helping you have healthy cholesterol levels. If you aren’t a kale fan, steamed broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and spinach are also excellent options for supporting healthy cholesterol levels.
Including pulses, including lentils, in your diet may help you experience a reduction in LDL cholesterol levels. Enjoying a classic bowl of lentil soup is one easy way to eat more pulses and possibly help keep your LDL cholesterol level in check.
To make a lentil soup, combine sauteed onions and carrots in a pot. Add dried lentils, vegetable stock, and spices and bring to a boil. After reducing the heat and simmering for 15 minutes, you can either blend the soup with an immersion blender before dishing it or enjoy it as-is.
Our beloved avocado toast is an amazing breakfast to enjoy when you are trying to lower your cholesterol levels. In fact, eating an avocado every day may reduce LDL cholesterol in a natural way according to data published in the Journal of Nutrition.
Topping whole-grain toast with mashed avocado and a sprinkle of some red pepper flakes or our beloved Trader Joe’s “Everything But The Bagel” seasoning is an easy-breezy and cholesterol-lowering dish that is totally enjoyable to eat first thing in the morning.
Pasta with Olive Oil and Veggies
A simple pasta dish made with olive oil, lots of vegetables, and lean protein is an easy meal that can help support healthy cholesterol levels. Stick to the proper portion size of your pasta serving–about the size of a baseball–and top it with good-for-you ingredients like olive oil, greens, and chicken breast for a satisfying carb that is low in fat and contains no added sugars.
Eating olive oil has been shown to increase HDL cholesterol and decrease LDL cholesterol. And veggies are obviously jam-packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a slew of other nutrients that are important for supporting your heart and overall health.