Red Kidney Beans & Rice

The best way to lower high cholesterol is to significantly improve your diet. According to Stacey Pence, R.D. at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, exercise and diet are the two ways people without genetic predispositions can improve their cholesterol levels.

As far as what to eat for high cholesterol, Pence recommends a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and legumes. She also stresses steering clear of trans fats.

Although there is no magical cholesterol diet, studies have shown that certain foods may decrease heart disease risk by lowering LDL cholesterol levels and raising HDL cholesterol.

Men’s Health have rounded up information from Pence, the latest studies, and the authors of The New American Diet, for the best foods to eat for cholesterol.

1. Pasta

The antioxidants in pasta help control inflammation and insulin, which in turn helps reduce levels of harmful LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

When Harvard University researchers analyzed the diets of more than 27,000 people over 8 years, they discovered that those who ate whole grains daily weighed 2.5 pounds less than those who ate refined grains.

It’s easy to to find whole-grain pasta at virtually any supermarket, meaning there’s no reason to bypass the healthier option.

2. Almonds

When researchers at Purdue University had people eat 2 ounces of almonds a day for 23 weeks, they found that not only did they not gain any weight, but they decreased their caloric intake from other unhealthy food sources while improving cardiovascular risk factors like lipid metabolism and cholesterol levels.

3. Dark Chocolate

Research shows that dark chocolate offers major health benefits, and it can help improve heart health, lower high blood pressure, reduce LDL cholesterol, decrease the risk of blood clots, and increase blood flow to the brain.

4. Kidney Beans

In general, beans are a great food for those who are worried about high cholesterol. Kidney beans are particularly rich in soluble fiber, which can help lower LDL cholesterol. You’ll get about three grams of soluble fiber per three-quarter cup of cooked beans, according to Healthline.

The Mayo Clinic advises eating about five to 10 grams of of soluble fiber a day to lower LDL cholesterol.

5. Oatmeal

Of course you know that oatmeal is good for you, but do you know what makes this hot cereal such a smart choice? According to Pence, fiber found in oatmeal actual creates a binding effect in your gastrointestinal tract.