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Cholesterol is a lipid molecule that is infamous for increasing your risk of heart disease. When you eat rich, fatty foods, the amount of cholesterol in your blood rises, leading to a build-up in your arteries. Over time, this can negatively impact your blood circulation and even cause a complete blockage of an artery. A full blockage can have serious consequences, ultimately leading to a heart attack if not corrected. Unfortunately, high cholesterol may not produce symptoms until the condition has already progressed to dangerous levels. Because of this, you should do your best to minimize the amount of cholesterol in your diet. The following foods for lower cholesterol can help you take your health into your own hands.

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Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is a clear winner when it comes to choosing foods that benefit your heart and reduce cholesterol levels. When you indulge in chocolate, choose the bittersweet ones to get the greatest benefit. Dark chocolate, in comparison to milk chocolate, contains thrice as many antioxidants and helps to even out your blood sugar levels. Adding dark chocolate to your diet, in moderation, of course, can reduce your cholesterol levels. Flavonoid antioxidants in dark chocolate help to minimize build-up in your arteries.

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Oats and Barley

If you are looking to reduce your cholesterol levels, you can make a small, simple change to your morning meal to achieve this goal. Oats and barley are not just healthy, but they will also keep you feeling full for a longer period. These grains contain a lot of fiber, which keeps you slim and helps to reduce your cholesterol levels. A fiber-rich diet can lower your cholesterol by up to 15 percent. Two servings of oats each day can reduce bad cholesterol by up to 5 percent in just over a month after making the change to your diet. If you want to reach your health goals faster, consider substituting high-calorie foods with more of these high-fiber, nutritious foods.

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Apples

They say that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, and for good reason. This nutritious fruit helps to curb risk factors commonly associated with heart disease by reducing your cholesterol levels. A typical apple has about 4 grams of fiber, which can help to reduce your overall cholesterol level. In addition, the antioxidant compounds present in apples restrain the oxidation of bad cholesterol. Apples also contain soluble fiber, which helps to remove extra fat from the body. Consuming one apple each day can reduce your LDL cholesterol levels by up to 40 percent.

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Salmon

Salmon, a heart-friendly fish, is high in Omega-3 fatty acids that protect the heart against bad cholesterol. Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) have been proven to keep heart disease and other conditions at bay. Substituting fish for other foods that are high in saturated can reduce your cholesterol levels. By consuming larger amounts of fish oil, you can lower the number of fatty deposits in your blood by up to 24 percent.

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Avocados

Avocados are not only delicious but also a source of good fat that can help increase your good cholesterol levels while also lowering your bad cholesterol levels. This creamy fruit is becoming increasingly popular and are widely considered to be a superfood for people who wish to lower their cholesterol naturally. These delicious fruits contain high amounts of beta-sitosterol, which is known to lower cholesterol. The combination of this beta-sitosterol and the monounsaturated fats also contained in avocado are what makes this fruit an amazing cholesterol reducer. However, avocados are a bit high in calories, so don't go overboard when eating them.

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Beans

Beans, like kidney and garbanzo varieties, are amazing sources of soluble fiber, which can help reduce bad cholesterol levels by up to 8 percent. Add half a cup of beans to any soup to see your bad cholesterol levels drop over time. The abundance of fiber in beans makes them a great addition to any healthy diet. The biggest benefit of consuming beans is that your stomach will feel full without adding excessive calories to your diet. Add beans to chili, hummus, and other foods to see this incredible legume do wonders for your cholesterol levels.

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Garlic

Don't underestimate the benefits garlic, for the bulb's nutritional value is unmatched. It is known not just for its mythical powers to repel evil, but also for the pungent flavor that it adds to curries and other dishes. Not only that, but garlic also lowers cholesterol and protects you from infections. Additionally, it prevents blood clotting and stops artery-clogging plaque from forming. Use freshly peeled garlic cloves to steer clear of bad cholesterol.

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Olive Oil

Substitute the use of other oils in your kitchen with olive oil right away. As olive oil contains monounsaturated fats, as opposed to saturated fats, it is a much better option for your heart than other fat sources. Olive oil also contains antioxidants, which are known to reduce inflammation of the blood vessels and lower bad cholesterol. Marinate chicken or roasted vegetables using this oil to see the difference in both flavor and nutrition.

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Spinach

No wonder Popeye loved this leafy green so much! Spinach is a healthy green giant that offers some impressive health benefits. It contains lutein, a yellow pigment that prevents the clogging of your arteries by keeping cholesterol out of your bloodstream.

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Red Wine

Made from high-fiber red grapes, red wine is good for your health and can help lower cholesterol levels. The key, nonetheless, is never to overindulge. Studies have shown that overindulgence in red wine can actually have a negative impact on your cholesterol levels, so imbibe in moderation.

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Nuts

Nuts are a hearty snack that makes a great addition to salads and other meals. They are high in monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, potassium, and copper. People who consume nuts on a daily basis report less heart disease, as compared to those who don't eat nuts. Any variety of nuts, including walnuts, almonds, and cashews, can help to lower your overall cholesterol levels. Eat an ounce of nuts each day for the greatest effect.

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Tea

Tea, both green and black, is an amazing source of antioxidants and can have a positive impact on cholesterol levels. Drinking tea can help lower your bad cholesterol levels by up to 11 percent. To keep it healthy, it is best to drink your tea with skim milk and no sugar.

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Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.