There is a common misconception that if you want to lower your cholesterol, you just have to eat foods that are low in cholesterol. This isn’t necessarily the case! Lowering your cholesterol can actually be achieved by a bunch of other small diet changes. This can include lowering your saturated fat intake, introducing more healthy fats, or eating more fiber. Read on to learn how soluble fiber in particular can contribute to lower cholesterol.
How it Works
Soluble fiber has been found to lower your LDL cholesterol, aka the “bad” kind. This is because soluble fiber binds to cholesterol in your intestine and removes it from the body instead of allowing it to enter your bloodstream. Consumption of soluble fiber on a regular basis has been associated with a 5-10% decrease in LDL cholesterol levels.
Where to Get it
Soluble fiber is found in oats, nuts, seeds, beans, fruits and vegetables. Try eating fiber with every meal to not only lower cholesterol levels, but also to keep you satisfied, improve digestion and regulate blood sugar levels! Make sure to drink plenty of water when increasing soluble fiber in your diet. Unlike insoluble fiber, soluble fiber is water soluble meaning it absorbs water and relies on water to do its job properly. Aim for 25-30 grams of total fiber per day with 6-10 grams coming from soluble fiber to aid in reducing cholesterol levels. Black beans, brussel sprouts, broccoli, sweet potatoes, carrots and apples are all foods high in soluble fiber to try incorporating on a day to day basis.
Other Ways to Lower Cholesterol Levels
Increasing your healthy fat intake and decreasing your saturated fat intake can also contribute to lower cholesterol levels. See The Difference Between Fat Types to learn more about which fats in particular can raise cholesterol levels. Regular exercise can also contribute to lower cholesterol levels! 30 minutes a day five times a week is a great place to start with this. Limiting red meat and alcohol consumption plus avoiding smoking also can help.
Having healthy cholesterol levels is important for a healthy heart and for improved long term health! If you are worried about lowering your cholesterol, learn more about heart health and how to prevent heart disease through diet in our Heart Health Nourished Guide. This guide includes action steps to take to prevent heart disease, easy recipes to utilize in your everyday cooking, and much more!
This article was written by Lindsey Moser, nutrition intern. Fact checked by Allison Tallman RD.