Meal delivery services often provide tailored meal options that align with your dietary needs. If you're among the 25 million US adults with cholesterol levels above 240 mg/dL, these kits can make accessing plant-based, nutrient-dense foods easier.
High cholesterol causes plaque buildup in your blood vessels, leading to atherosclerosis. This condition limits blood flow and increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. However, you can prevent these issues with a proper diet and healthy habits.
In this article, I'll show you ten excellent foods to lower cholesterol naturally that boost your wellness and how you can get them directly to your door through a meal delivery service.
» Here's how meal delivery services can help you stick to your diet.
Oats are a prime example of whole grains that can significantly lower your risk of heart disease. This is mostly because they have a special type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan.
Beta-glucan absorbs low-density lipoprotein (LDL)—"bad" cholesterol—and helps remove it from your body. Eating oats instead of refined grains and processed meats can be a game-changer for lowering cholesterol.
For a healthy breakfast, you might like HelloFresh's KIND Protein Maple Almond Oatmeal. It's gluten-free, full of vegan protein, and keeps you satisfied for longer.
Hulled barley is a nutritious whole grain that helps prevent chronic ailments like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Its high fiber content can effectively lower total and LDL cholesterol by 12-15%. The phytonutrients in barley also reduce inflammation, further contributing to cardiovascular well-being and overall health.
Try Home Chef's Cremini Mushroom Barley Bowl. This recipe combines the nutritious goodness of barley with the rich flavors of Cremini mushrooms, creating a dish that's both comforting and good for your heart.
Beans, including chickpeas, kidney beans, pinto beans, and black beans, are nutritional powerhouses. Thanks to their soluble fiber content, they help decrease blood sugar levels and bad cholesterol. They're also excellent sources of plant-based protein—a healthier alternative since animal proteins often contain saturated fats and cholesterol.
Beans are naturally free from fat, sodium, and cholesterol, making them a heart-healthy choice. They're packed with essential vitamins and minerals like potassium, iron, magnesium, and B vitamins, which support ideal blood pressure, energy levels, and overall well-being. Consider adding them to your soups, stews, and salads.
Lentils are low in fat, free of cholesterol, and loaded with protein, starch, minerals, vitamins, and fiber. Their high protein content supports muscle, bone, and skin health and aids in weight management by keeping you full for longer.
Lentils' plant-based compounds—polyphenols—also offer anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and neuroprotective benefits, crucial for heart and brain health. They're instrumental in improving cholesterol in diabetics and have a low glycemic index (GI).
» Try these 10 pre-diabetic foods to boost your health.
Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory polyunsaturated fats found in fish like sardines, salmon (wild and sustainably farmed), mackerel, and albacore tuna. Choosing these heart-healthy fish and avoiding processed meats, like cold cuts or fast food, can significantly improve your diet and heart health.
Similarly, adopting the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes such nutritious choices, can help prevent heart diseases, promote a longer life, and support optimal aging. Factor's Garlic Herb Salmon recipe can be an ideal addition to your diet.
» Are you a pescatarian? You'll love these 10 fat-burning, high-protein meals.
Eating just half an avocado gives you 6.5 grams of oleic acid, a healthy fat also present in olives and olive oil. Additionally, every 100 grams of avocado contains 76 milligrams of beta-sitosterol. Consuming this plant-based nutrient can help keep your cholesterol levels under control.
For a delicious keto-friendly snack, try an avocado egg salad to boost your protein intake and raise your good cholesterol.
7. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate can decrease inflammation, improve blood flow, lower blood pressure, and help manage cholesterol and blood sugar levels. A study found that eating raw almonds, dark chocolate, and cocoa together significantly reduces the number of harmful LDL cholesterol particles in the blood of overweight and obese individuals.
However, avoid versions high in sugar, as they can increase inflammation. For the best health benefits, opt for dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 75–85% or higher.
Fruits, like berries, apples, and strawberries, are rich in antioxidants. They combat oxidative stress and lessen inflammation, helping to prevent chronic conditions like heart disease and cancer. Additionally, they can lower bad LDL cholesterol and help regulate blood sugar levels.
These fruits also support heart health by maintaining ideal blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease. Plus, they're excellent for weight management due to their low calories and high fiber content.
Flaxseeds are a fantastic source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an Omega-3 fatty acid your body can't produce on its own. Research shows that ALA can help prevent cholesterol buildup in your heart's blood vessels and lessen inflammation in your body.
Start your day right by adding ground flaxseed powder to your morning water, smoothie, or yogurt. It's also perfect for mixing into pancake batter, veggie burgers, and overnight oats.
10. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are a nutritional gem, especially beneficial for heart health. They're also rich in soluble fiber and ALA and help manage cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Chia seeds effectively lower bad cholesterol and increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL), while their omega-3 content decreases the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Beyond heart health, chia seeds have therapeutic effects. They can control diabetes, dyslipidemia, and hypertension and provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant advantages. To enjoy the benefits of chia seeds, consider Green Chef's Overnight Coconut Chia Pudding.
Embrace a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle
Adding these 10 foods to your diet is essential for managing cholesterol and enhancing overall health. But remember, you need a well-rounded approach to adequately control cholesterol. Exercising regularly and avoiding foods high in saturated fats, like fried snacks and processed meats, are also important.
To relieve your stress and simplify healthy eating, think about using meal delivery kits. They can make it easier to enjoy foods that improve cholesterol levels, offering convenience and taking the guesswork out of meal planning.