The good news is that “bad” cholesterol (LDL) is sensitive to diet. True, it is not as sensitive as your triglycerides and your “good” cholesterol (HDL), but fortunately, the same foods that help lower your LDL also improve HDL and triglycerides. So toss out the chips and cookies and grab some of the options mentioned below!
Nuts and seeds.Sunflower seeds, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, pine nuts, flaxseeds (must be ground for your body to digest them), and almonds are extremely high in plant sterols, which help reduce LDL. Keep in mind that it can be easy to overdo it on nuts and seeds (and they are very calorie dense), so limit your total intake to about one ounce, or 1/4 cup, a day if you are also trying to lose weight.
Apples. Research has shown that eating just two apples a day can slow down the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and prevent plaque buildup. much to some people’s dismay, the protective antioxidants are in the apples’ skin, so don’t peel them.
Oat bran. Oats have long been recognized as a cholesterol-lowering dietary superfood. The soluble fiber contained in oat bran binds with bile acids in your intestine which blocks the absorption of cholesterol by your body. Antioxidant compounds found in oat bran called avenanthramides prevent white blood cells from sticking to your artery walls, which is an important step in preventing plaque formation.
Grapefruit.This is one of my favorites! Studies have shown that the phytochemicals called liminoids in pink and red grapefruit make them super-powerful LDL busters! Grapefruit is not for everyone, I have 3 kiddos that will chow down a grapefruit like it is candy and 2 that would rather be dead. It is important to note that grapefruit can interfere with the breakdown of certain medications, including statins and calcium channel blockers, so if your doctor has you on these prescriptions, don’t eat a lot of grapefruit or drink the juice.