Salmon dinner

Some Tasty Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol

By R. Alan Clanton | published Tuesday, May 14, 2013 |
Thursday Review Editor

Save for a few truly dedicated vegetarians--and more power to you if you can stick to an all veggie diet--almost everyone loves a good burger from time to time. Best cooked homemade on the grill, hamburgers neverthe-less remain the great American fast food staple.

The list of downsides of frequent burgers is a long one, and includes, among other things, a profound risk for obesity, elevated blood sugar levels, and increased risk of colon or stomach cancer. Then there is the cholesterol issue--which has a direct link to increased risk of heart attack or stroke. But are there foods that actually lower cholesterol? Absolutely, and according to WebMD, there are plenty of tasty options out there.

Fish is a great way to lower your “bad” cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and fatty fish foods (especially tuna, salmon, trout and herring) have proven to be parti-cularly effective in lowering LDL levels. These fish products also have the unusual quality of supplementing “good” cholesterol, and there has been strong evidence for decades that people with diets which include the fatty fishes are at lower risk for heart disease and stroke.

Oatmeal and similar high fiber grains also have a proven track record of lowering cholesterol. Though all grain products have the ability to lower bad cholesterol, oats and oat bran have the strongest cholesterol-lowering characteristics. But there’s a flip side: if you add whole milk or cream, you may be negating the positive effects of the oatmeal.

There is also evidence that several types of nuts lower cholesterol. Already a source of fiber, these include almonds, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts and pecans. “Like fatty fish,” says WebMD, “they contain they contain substances that are con-verted to the omega-3 fatty acids known as EPA and DHA.” But, like oatmeal, be careful: eat them only by the handful--too many can add calories, and if they’re heavily salted, you raise your risk for high blood pressure.

Olive oil is another natural and tasty way to lower cholesterol. Try trading your blue cheese dressing, your thousand island or your creamy ranch for olive oil instead. Not only will this add a new flavor to your salads and veggies, but you’re sure to eliminate LDL. And an additional benefit is that olive oil is a natural antioxidant. Again, be cautious and don’t overuse olive oil, for it too can add calories.