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Six Foods To Help Lower Cholesterol Levels

Oats are high in soluble fiber that helps clear cholesterol from the body.

High cholesterol is one of the leading risk factors contributing to heart disease, heart attack or stroke, but your diet can help prevent that.

In this edition of KERA’s consumer health series, Vital Signs, Kelley Wissinger, Assistant Operations Manager of Patient Food Services at Parkland Hospital System, talks about six foods help keep cholesterol levels in check – beginning with unsaturated fats.

Kelley Wissinger's six food choices to fight cholesterol…

Unsaturated fats:  "It’s a type of healthier fat as oppose to saturated fats that come from animals like milk, cheese, red meat, and eggs. When you replace foods that are high in saturated fats with healthier fats from plants and fish that can help reduce your bad cholesterol or your LDL cholesterol."

Oats and oat brans: "Oats are high in soluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps clear cholesterol from our bodies, preventing its absorption into the bloodstream."

Wheat bran and fiber: "Wheat bran is high in insoluble fiber, which helps with our bowel health and regularity. But it’s been shown eating food high in fiber helps us eat less of those unhealthy foods that help increase our LDL cholesterol."

Fruit (Pectin): "Pectin is found in apples and other citrus fruits. It’s another form of soluble fiber that helps reduce our cholesterol."

Nuts: "Be careful how much you eat, nuts are high in fat. But nuts are a source of healthy fats. Also, nuts – especially walnuts - are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids, which can boost your HDL (good) cholesterol."

Sterols and Stanols: "This is a compound found in fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds. These help block our ability to absorb cholesterol. And a lot of companies enrich foods with plant sterols and plant stanols like margarine and orange juice."

For more information:

Cholesterol - American Heart Association 

Guide To Lowering Cholesterol With Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes 

U.S. Government Poised To Withdrawal Longstanding Warnings About Cholesterol

Sam Baker is KERA's senior editor and local host for Morning Edition. The native of Beaumont, Texas, also edits and produces radio commentaries and Vital Signs, a series that's part of the station's Breakthroughs initiative. He also was the longtime host of KERA 13’s Emmy Award-winning public affairs program On the Record. He also won an Emmy in 2008 for KERA’s Sharing the Power: A Voter’s Voice Special, and has earned honors from the Associated Press and the Public Radio News Directors Inc.