Scientists are discovering that getting high cholesterol levels in check isn't only about the foods you forgo (such as those containing artery-damaging saturated and trans fats). A host of recent research suggests that regularly including some of Mother Earth's most nutritious fare in your meals can be just as effective at lowering total cholesterol levels. Turn the page for five powerful cholesterol-slashing staples; add them to your diet and watch your numbers drop.
Eat more of these:
- Consuming shiitake, maitake, or enoki mushrooms daily can lower blood cholesterol levels by as much as 25% after 4 weeks, reports a study published in Experimental Biology and Medicine.
- "Just 1/2 cup of pinto beans daily for 8 weeks can lower cholesterol 8%," says Carol Johnston, PhD, RD, a professor and chair in the department of nutrition at Arizona State University.
- Their soluble fibers inhibit the absorption of cholesterol.
- Replacing saturated fat with omega-3s found in fish like salmon, herring, and sardines helps lower cholesterol.
- And research from Loma Linda University showed that eating two servings of fatty fish a week for 1 month raises "good" HDL cholesterol by 4%.
- A Columbia University study found that eating two servings of cereal containing oats daily for 6 weeks lowered total and "bad" LDL cholesterol by 4.5% and 5.3%, respectively.
- Beta-glucan in oats absorbs LDL cholesterol, which your body then excretes.
- People who noshed on 1.5 ounces of whole nuts 6 days a week for 1 month lowered their total cholesterol 5.4% and LDL cholesterol 9.3%, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.