Foods that Help Lower Cholesterol

If you have high cholesterol, the bad news is that you’re at greater risk of heart disease. The good news is, there are things you can do to lower your cholesterol and manage that risk. In some people, high cholesterol comes from their genes. Their livers naturally make more cholesterol than those with healthy cholesterol levels. But in many cases, poor eating habits are to blame and following a low cholesterol diet plan can help. Here’s an overview of “good cholesterol” and “bad cholesterol,” and the foods you should be eating—and avoiding—for maximum heart health as part of a low cholesterol diet.

What is the difference between “good” and “bad” cholesterol?

There are two types of cholesterol—high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is the good form. It absorbs cholesterol and carries it to the liver, where it is removed from your blood before it can start to build up on your arteries. 1

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is the bad kind of cholesterol. It goes straight to your arteries. When there is too much LDL cholesterol, it causes plaque buildup, which can lead to a heart attack, stroke, or other form of heart disease. 2

What are the foods that help lower cholesterol?

Just like there are good and bad forms of cholesterol, there are good and bad foods when it comes to cholesterol control. The best foods to choose as part of a low cholesterol diet plan are those that contain soluble fiber, mono and polyunsaturated fats, and sterols and stanols.  3

High-fiber foods:

Soluble fiber reduces LDL cholesterol absorption in your bloodstream. In fact, each 1 gram of soluble fiber you eat can lower your LDL cholesterol by 1 percent. 4

Here are some high fiber foods that help lower cholesterol:

  • Oats and grains: Oatmeal and whole grains, such as quinoa, buckwheat, rye, brown rice, and barley, are all good sources of soluble fiber.
  • Legumes: Most legumes, such as black beans, kidney beans, lentils, and split peas, are also a good soluble fiber source and a valuable part of a low cholesterol diet plan.
  • Fruits and veggies: Some fruits and vegetables contain fiber and are therefore valuable foods to help lower cholesterol. These include blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, apples, bananas, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, carrots, and leafy greens. 5

Monounsaturated & Polyunsaturated Fats.

Unlike saturated fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can help lower bad cholesterol.

Good sources of monounsaturated fats include:

  • Canola, olive, and peanut oils
  • Nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, and pecans
  • Pumpkin and sesame seeds
  • Avocados

Good sources of polyunsaturated fats include:

  • Corn, sunflower, soybean, and flaxseed oils
  • Walnuts
  • Fatty fish
  • Flaxseed 6

Omega-3 fats

Omega-3 fats are a type of polyunsaturated fat that the body cannot make on its own. They appear to help increase levels of good HDL cholesterol. They also lower blood fats called triglycerides, decrease risk of blood clots, and lower inflammation, all of which help prevent heart disease. In order to eat these fats as part of a hearthealthy diet plan, you must get them from food or supplements. The best food source of omega-3 fats is fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna, and trout. You can also get omega-3s from flax seeds, canola oil, soybean oil, and walnuts. 7

Check out the Curves Nutrition and Weight Management Program

If you’ve been wondering how to lower cholesterol levels with food, Curves can help. Our Nutrition and Weight Management Program is designed not only to help you lose weight, but can also help naturally lower cholesterol. The healthy meal plans and educational series you’ll get as part of the program will help you develop healthy habits for life.

For more information about Curves, visit



  1. LDL & HDL: Good & Bad Cholesterol |
  2. What Your Cholesterol Levels Mean | American Heart Association
  3. 8 Cholesterol-Lowering Foods to Try – Cleveland Clinic
  4. 8 Cholesterol-Lowering Foods to Try – Cleveland Clinic
  5. 8 Cholesterol-Lowering Foods to Try – Cleveland Clinic
  6. How to Naturally Lower Your Cholesterol – Cleveland Clinic
  7. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Foods & Benefits (
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