The Best Carbs to Lower Cholesterol, Say Dietitians
High cholesterol can be tricky, and you want to make sure you lower it to maintain a healthy lifestyle. According to the Mayo Clinic, you can develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels, which eventually grow, making it difficult for enough blood to flow through your arteries. Sometimes, those deposits can break suddenly and form a clot that causes a heart attack or stroke.
Although it can be inherited, high cholesterol usually occurs due to your eating habits. Luckily this can be preventable with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and sometimes supplements. A stable diet also includes carbohydrates, so don't be afraid to enjoy them while you're focusing on your health!
We asked the professionals on our medical expert board, Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LDN, CLEC, CPT, Amy Shapiro MS, RD, and Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN for their recommendations on the best carbs to lower cholesterol. If you're looking for more tips, check out these 5 Effortless Ways to Lower Cholesterol, Say Dietitians.
Oats are a classic choice, and there are so many ways to play it up in order for you to enjoy it. You can turn them into overnight oats, oatmeal, or as Shapiro suggests, bake them into healthy oatmeal raisin cookies, or even blend oats into your smoothies. With all the benefits of oats, it's also no surprise they can help lower cholesterol.
"There is evidence that oats help decrease the risk of cholesterol," says Amidor. "A study published in the BMJ found that eating oats was associated with a reduced risk of LDL ('bad' cholesterol) and a reduction in the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL ('good' cholesterol)."
Amidor also says there was a reduction in inflammatory markers in those eating oats, suggesting that eating oats may help lower cholesterol and lower inflammation associated with cardiovascular disease.
Manaker and Shapiro also include that oats contain a fiber called beta-glucans, which bind LDL cholesterol in the body, helping remove it before it is absorbed.
Figs are not only really good for improving your bone health, but both fresh and dried figs are also packed with vitamins and minerals and contain fiber.
"Three to five dried figs (40 grams) provide 100 calories and 4 grams of fiber, including soluble fiber along with calcium, potassium, and magnesium," says Amidor.
Research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has linked soluble fiber with helping to lower both total and LDL cholesterol.
"The magical fruit," as some may call them, beans are known to provide many benefits to the human body, such as improving cholesterol and reducing the risk of heart disease.
"Beans provide carbs along with plant-based protein and fiber, making them a superstar in the nutrition department," says Manaker.
The Journal of Nutrition states that eating one cup of canned beans every day for four weeks may decrease total and LDL cholesterol in adults with elevated LDL cholesterol.
You've heard the phrase, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away," and that's because this fruit has so much to offer. Apples are rich in antioxidants and fiber, and provide great benefits such as improving gut bacteria and dental health, and even giving you better breath!
"The pectin found in apple skins helps to reduce cholesterol levels and to promote heart health," says Shapiro.
Shapiro even emphasizes that you choose from any of your favorite apples, as any colored one of these fruits will do the trick.