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7 Foods That Lower Cholesterol
April 01, 2011
Marilyn and I hope you're well and benefiting from adding Nature's Health Foods to your diet!



Today we thought we'd share with you 7 foods that lower cholesterol.



1. "Good" Fats and Oils

Got "good" fats?

Monounsaturated fats in particular can help reduce "bad" LDL cholesterol levels when you eat them in place of unhealthy saturated or trans fats.

You'll find these heart-healthy fats in foods such as avocados, peanut butter and nuts like hazelnuts, almonds and pecans.

Vegetable oils such as olive, canola and peanut are also rich in monounsaturates.

Don't go overboard, though;all fats, even healthy ones, are high in calories.

A handful of nuts or 2 Tbs. of olive oil, for instance, is all you need to help your heart.

2. Fish and Omega-3s

Omega-3s are a superstar fat that can protect your heart and may improve your blood cholesterol profile.

The best place to find omega-3s are in fish and fish oil.

Go for fatty fish, such as mackerel, herring, sardines and salmon, because they have a high concentration of omega-3s. (Just be sure to bake or grill the fish, not fry it).

The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (especially the fatty kind) at least two times a week.

Not a seafood fan?

Soy foods (including tofu), walnuts and flaxseeds contain a plant form of omega-3s.

3. Grains and Oats

Whatís the best way to start your day?

Fill up on oatmeal, rolled oats or oat bran.

These foods contain soluble fiber, which has been shown to lower "bad" LDL cholesterol, by preventing cholesterol from being absorbed into the bloodstream.

You need at least 3 g. of soluble fiber a day to reduce your heart disease risk, and 1 1/2 c. of cooked oatmeal will give you up to 6 g.

If oats arenít your thing, grains such as barley, psyllium and rice bran are also rich in cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber.

4. Beans and Lentils

Oats aren't the only food bursting with soluble fiberóbeans, lentils and peas are also a good source.

One study found that eating half a cup of cooked dry pinto beans daily for 12 weeks lowered total cholesterol by about 8 percent.

Other studies have linked beans with decreased levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol.

The beautiful part: Bean-based meals are a protein-rich great substitute for high-saturated fat, cholesterol-heavy meats.

Go veggie chili!

5. Alcohol

A glass of beer or wine with dinner may improve your cholesterol profile, and help protect your heart in other ways.

Moderate drinking has been linked with higher levels of "good" HDL cholesterol, though whether certain beverages, like antioxidant-rich red wine, have additional heart benefits hasnít been established.

Any alcoholic beverage will workóbut these benefits are not a green light for binge drinking, which can lead to serious health problems.

If you canít drink in moderation, donít start.

And if you do drink, limit your alcohol intake to one drink a day if you're a woman and two a day if you're male.

6. Plant Sterols and Stanols

More and more foods are being fortified these days with plant sterols and stanols, substances naturally found in many plant foods.

Why?

These compounds help block the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream.

Foods such as margarine, orange juice and yogurt drinks are often fortified with sterols and stanols.

To see your LDL (bad) cholesterol drop by about 5 to 15 percent, though, you need to eat at least 2 g. of these substances a day.

You can get this amount of sterols and stanols by drinking two 8 oz. glasses of fortified orange juice a day.

7. Fruit

An apple a day might really keep the cardiologist away.

Fruits such as apples, pears, oranges and grapefruit contain soluble fiber, which has been shown to lower cholesterol.

Other fruits, such as blueberries, cranberries and grapes, may also reduce cholesterol, perhaps because they're high in heart-healthy antioxidants.

So stock up on fruits and make them a regular part of your diet.

And, here's an awesome recipe that you'll want to print!

Blueberry Ketchup



Here's an exceptionally easy condiment, a perfect change, anytime.

Not only great on burgers, it's terrific as a glaze on grilled salmon or served alongside barbecued chicken.

Makes 3 c.

Active Time: 15 min.

Total Time: 4 3/4 hours (including 4 hours chilling time)

Ingredients:

* 2 1/2 c. fresh blueberries

* 1 med. shallot, minced (about 2 Tbs.)

* 1 1/4 c. sugar

* 1/2 c. red-wine vinegar

* 2 Tbs. minced fresh ginger

* 1 Tbs. lime juice

* 1/4 tsp. Sea salt

* 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Preparation;

1. Place blueberries, sugar, vinegar, ginger, lime juice, salt and pepper in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.

Stir until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.

Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the blueberries have mostly broken down and the sauce has thickened, 20 to 30 minutes.

Spoon into glass jars or a large bowl and refrigerate until chilled and thickened, about 4 hours.

Tips & Notes:

* Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 1 month.

* To oil a grill rack, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.)

Nutrition:

Per 1 Tbs:

25 Calories;

0 g. Fat ( 0 g. Saturated , 0 g. Monounsaturated );

0 mg. Cholesterol;

6 g. Carbohydrates;

0 g. Protein;

0 g. Fiber;

13 mg. Sodium;

9 mg. Potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Blueberries are a good source of the phytochemicals anthocyanidins and ellagic acid.

Sadly, that's all the time we have for today.

We hope the above tips come in handy, and we hope you found some value in this Edition!

Until next time, we want you to,

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If you havenít been to our website,

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in a while, youíll want to check out some of our new and informative articles!


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