The safest and healthiest strategy for reducing cholesterol and preventing future heart attacks and strokes starts with eating a high nutrient, vegetable-based diet with plenty of raw and cooked vegetables. In particular, follow these 8 simple rules to maintain healthy cholesterol levels and to protect against heart disease:
8 Simple Rules to Lower Your Cholesterol
1.Eat at least one cup of beans
Beans are packed with resistant starch, soluble fiber, and phytochemicals, which help to lower cholesterol – a pooled analysis of 10 trials found that consuming beans regularly significantly reduced total and LDL cholesterol.11 Plus, a 19-year study found that people who eat beans at least four times a week have a 22% lower risk of heart disease than those who eat beans less than once a week.
2.Eat at least one ounce of raw nuts and seeds daily.
When eaten regularly, nuts not only reduce total and LDL cholesterol, but also aid in weight control, reduce the glycemic load of the diet, and reduce heart disease risk by 35%. Nuts and seeds have a variety of heart healthy nutrients, including plant sterols, antioxidants, minerals, and arginine.13-16 Include walnuts in your diet for their omega-3 and other heart protective benefits.
3.Eat one large green salad each day, and include raw onion.
Higher leafy green and cruciferous vegetable intake is linked to lower risk of heart disease.
4.Eat steamed green vegetables with every lunch and dinner.
Recent research suggests that phytochemicals from green vegetables can turn on the body’s natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection mechanisms.
5.Include tomatoes/tomato sauce, berries and/or pomegranate in your diet daily.
The antioxidants in berries and pomegranates, such as anthocyanins and punicalagin, are especially effective in improving both LDL and HDL cholesterol.19, 20 Many observational studies have made a connection between higher blood lycopene (the signature carotenoid of the tomato) and lower risk of heart attack.
6.Have 1 Tbsp. of ground flax or chia seeds plus a DHA supplement each day.
Flaxseeds contain the beneficial omega-3 ALA, lignans, flavonoids, sterols, and fiber. Clinical trials show that daily flaxseed consumption reduces total cholesterol by 6-11%.24 Chia seeds are also rich in ALA and fiber, and taking a DHA supplement ensures adequacy of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, because conversion of ALA to DHA and EPA varies greatly among individuals.
7.Avoid refined carbohydrates and added oils.
Processed foods are full of these calorie-dense, nutrient-poor ingredients that promote weight gain and increase heart disease risk .
8.Minimize animal products to less than 5 percent of total calories per week.
If you have heart disease or significantly high cholesterol, avoid animal products altogether. Higher animal product consumption is linked to increased heart disease risk
Scientific research is quoted in this link.