Contrary to popular belief, a low-cholesterol diet can consist of more than grilled chicken and plain brown rice. This could be big news for the flavor of your future dinners.
Somewhere along the line, people got stressed out about the fat and salt content of their foods. Yes, a ton of sodium is bad news for your blood pressure. Yes, a ton of trans fat is going to do some damage. But a little healthy fat and some flavor never killed anyone — and could actually do a whole lot of good.
Eating a diet too low in fats and deficient in sodium is associated with a whole slew of negative health outcomes. If, in pursuit of low cholesterol, you eradicate those nutrients from your diet, you’re bound to have a whole lot more to worry about than your cholesterol as a result.
There are lots of rich, indulgent feeling foods that could actually help your cholesterol count, not hurt it. Some of them are fatty, some of them are salty, and others are just plain delicious. But surprisingly, all of them could improve your cholesterol overall.
We know by now how healthy these fruits are — one of their healthy qualities is their ability to lower cholesterol. It’s all about the healthy fats. They lower the bad cholesterol and raise the good, resulting in a dream team combination for your blood pressure overall. Eat them in guacamole, smeared on toast, or chopped up in a salad.
Who knew they had health benefits?! Based on the way Chipotle talks about them, you wouldn’t think so. But the key ingredients of a hefty burrito are actually really good for you. Guacamole, tomatoes in salsa, brown rice, whole wheat tortillas, and beans can all help to lower your cholesterol count. Go easy on the cheese and sour cream, though — they can hike your cholesterol right back up!
A controversial inclusion, but coconut oil is actually a great choice if you’re watching your cholesterol. It is high in saturated fat — the nutritional quality responsible for the nervousness around its healthfulness. But the fats in coconut oil are the kind that help your cholesterol, not hurt it.
This traditional Indian dish is often made using coconut milk, a creamy, cozy ingredient that (like coconut oil) can decrease your bad cholesterol and increase the good. Between that and the metabolism-boosting spices, we love this healthy meal! The dish is extra good for your cholesterol if it’s made with lentils, which are high in soluble fiber and capable of dropping your cholesterol count significantly.
This rich, indulgent treat has brain-boosting, skin-brightening, and cancer-fighting antioxidants. These compounds can also help to lower your cholesterol. While any dark chocolate will do the trick, the darker the chocolate is, the more effective it will be.
You can never go wrong with an egg! They’ve gotten a terrible rep in the past for their effect on cholesterol. But the protein-packed foods actually aren’t as bad as we thought. The yolks contain lutein, the consumption of which has been linked to lower levels of cholesterol over time. Additionally, the yolk doesn’t contain enough of the cholesterol-raising compounds to make much of a difference. Unless you’re eating more than two eggs per day — which isn’t all that common regardless. It’s time to ditch the egg whites and just go for eating the whole egg.
Of course, this is only if the fries aren’t made using trans fats. So McDonald’s 20-ingredient fries are off the list. But due to the popularity of information condemning the dangerous fat compounds, French fries cooked in trans-fats like hydrogenated oil are increasingly hard to find.
Restaurants especially have cut back on the use of the stuff, swapping it for vegetable, canola, or some other healthy oil. These oils used instead are actually great for decreasing your overall cholesterol count, as are the slow-digesting carbs found in potatoes.
Many of these baked bites are made with flax or chia seeds — both of which have heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. These compounds, along with the fiber found in many whole grain versions, make muffins really good for eradicating the bad cholesterol flowing through your blood. It sounds crazy, but we’ll take it — any excuse to eat more muffins for breakfast sounds good to us.
You might be smart not to skip the bread and olive oil before dinner — whole grain bread and olive oil are both connected to lowered levels of cholesterol. And let’s be honest: They taste so good together. Olive oil, staple of longevity-boosting habits like the Mediterranean diet, is loaded with healthy fats that can help your body moderate its cholesterol count.
Pair your healthy peanut butter with some dark chocolate for a rich, creamy, heavenly treat you won’t believe is actually good for you — but it is. Both peanut butter and dark chocolate lower your cholesterol. If you’re not sure which to buy, don’t worry: We ranked the best brands for you.
But really any type of nut or nut butter will do. They all contain unsaturated fat, which is responsible for keeping the bad cholesterol away and the good cholesterol flowing.
Beans of any kind are rich with soluble fiber, a compound that miraculously rids cholesterol from the body by binding to it and moving it out of your system. While the refried kind are higher in calories, they’re still just as good for your blood pressure as any other. (They also happen to pair excellently with Mexican food.)
Omega-3 fatty acids, present in many species of fatty fish, have been shown to reduce blood pressure and stave off heart attacks. Salmon has a robust and memorable flavor that hardly needs sauces or seasonings — the two servings per week recommended by the American Heart Association can feel like a total treat.
This likely isn’t surprising, but it’s not the creamy part that’s doing the cholesterol lowering — it’s the veggies. Luckily, you can try our guilt-free version.
These two, spinach and artichokes, happen to be incredibly good for your blood pressure. Artichokes have the highest amount of soluble fiber of almost any vegetable, and spinach contains tons of lutein. Both of these compounds have been linked to a decrease in bad cholesterol.
Red wine contains the compound resveratrol, which has a ton of health benefits — one of which is reducing your risk of blood clotting by lowering cholesterol. Just don’t pair it with a cholesterol-killing charcuterie. And don’t overdo it. Too much alcohol is probably a bad call, but we have 20 reasons why one glass every day is a fantastic idea.