9 Foods That Lower Cholesterol Naturally

High cholesterol numbers got you down? Try changing your diet to include more everyday foods that lower cholesterol naturally.

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Here’s Where to Start

When you’re looking to change your cholesterol stats, foods that lower cholesterol can play a vital role. To start, add foods that are known to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol or increase HDL (good) cholesterol. Focus on eating high-fiber, plant-based foods, too. The extra fiber will help your body flush out excess cholesterol instead of holding onto it.

Try these foods to help reduce your cholesterol naturally.

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Bananas Foster Oatmeal
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Oats

A bowl of oatmeal contains 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber. This type of fiber binds to cholesterol and helps your body flush it out. Not a fan of hot cereal in the morning? Make a batch of banana oat pancakes for a fresh take on the classic breakfast.

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Chickpea & Potato Curry
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Beans

Like oatmeal, beans are rich in soluble fiber; they flush out unwanted cholesterol with each bite. They’re also high in protein, so they’ll keep you full hours after your meal. Just add 1/2 cup to your daily lunch salad or whip up a delicious garbanzo bean recipe for dinner.

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Loaf of wholegrain bread and slices on wooden cutting board.
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Whole grains

Whole grains like barley and brown rice are loaded with vitamins and minerals. They’re also rich in soluble fiber, keeping your LDL cholesterol low. Make sure to read your labels, though. You need to know the difference between whole grains and whole wheat to make the right choice.

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Nuts

Nuts may be the easiest heart-healthy snack out there! Whether you enjoy a handful of walnuts or almonds on their own or whip up a custom trail mix, a serving of nuts is high in healthy fats proven to promote heart health. They also contain plant compounds that block cholesterol from absorbing into your gut.

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Apple Slices in Apple Shaped Bowl
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Apples

An apple a day keeps the cardiologist away! Just make sure you’re not peeling your apples before eating them. Apple skins contain pectin, a plant-based type of soluble fiber. That means your snack will satisfy your cravings while helping you eliminate that LDL cholesterol.

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Fresh avocado on a wooden table
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Avocados

Avocados may just be the perfect food! They’re creamy, delicious and keep your heart healthy. Whether enjoyed as guacamole with fresh vegetables or smeared on whole grain bread for avocado toast, avocados provide vital nutrients. The fatty acids in this fruit lower cholesterol and are an important part of the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet.

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Berries on Wooden Background.
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Berries

Berries are loaded with antioxidants to help you prevent chronic disease, get glowing skin and lower cholesterol, too. Berries contain a plant compound that not only lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol but also raises your HDL (good) cholesterol. Mix a handful into your morning oatmeal or get fancy with berry parfaits.

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dark chocolate over wooden background
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Dark chocolate

Chocoholics rejoice—you can now enjoy your favorite sweet treat guilt-free! Research has found that eating dark chocolate can lower LDL cholesterol, lower blood pressure and increase HDL cholesterol. Just be sure to opt for treats with dark chocolate, as most chocolate candy is high in sugar.

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Garlic Cloves and Bulb in vintage wooden bowl.
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Garlic

Cooking with garlic won’t just make your house smell like an Italian restaurant; it could keep your heart healthy, too. Garlic contains plant compounds that have been shown to lower total cholesterol. Garlic supplements have the most benefit, but we certainly wouldn’t say no to trying a garlic-heavy recipe for dinner.

Carrie Madormo, RN
Carrie is a health writer and nurse who specializes in healthy eating and wellness through food. With a master’s degree in public health from the Medical College of Wisconsin, she strives to translate the latest health and nutrition research into interesting, actionable articles. During her six years at Taste of Home, Carrie has answered hundreds of reader questions about health and nutrition, such as if pomegranate seeds are safe to eat, why pregnant women crave pickles and how much caffeine is in a shot of espresso. Carrie is also a former health coach and food blogger.