Thanks to Mother Nature and her great abundance, there are literally hundreds of vegetables that can lower cholesterol.
Many vegetables lower cholesterol by means of plant sterols, naturally occurring unsaturated sterols that so closely resemble cholesterol they are absorbed into the body instead of LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol, thus decreasing the incidence of atherosclerosis, heart attack, stroke and other diseases associated with high cholesterol and triglycerides.
Still, other vegetables have particular phytonutrients, which target LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol. These vegetables that can lower cholesterol include:
- Spinach – and many other leafy green vegetables (kale, collard greens, etc. contain a substance called lutein, a carotenoid that helps prevent cholesterol build up in the arteries.)
- Carrots (Sometimes called the poor man’s ginseng because it has over 490 phytochemicals including beta-carotene. There is also recent scientific support proving that carrots, along with selenium, Vitamin C and Vitamin E all help to lower LDL cholesterol, HDL2 specifically.)
- Cauliflower and Cabbage – Cruciferous vegetables have shown to be especially effective in lowering LDL cholesterol. These vegetables (especially the green, red, and Savoy varieties of cabbage) contain high amounts of glucosinolates. These special phytochemicals also act as a cancer preventative.
- Broccoli – also high in phytochemicals; one of the vegetables that can lower cholesterol.
- Bok Choy – another vegetable with special LDL lowering properties. You can eat it in Chinese stir fry or add it to your traditional coleslaw.
- Garlic – Yu Yan Yeh, a doctor at Penn State discovered that garlic lowers LDL cholesterol by up to 10%.
- Green tea leaves – green tea has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol very well.
These are just a handful of the vegetables that directly affect your lipo-levels, or blood fats. Ideally, you want a high level of HDL cholesterol or ‘good cholesterol’ which helps to lower your LDL cholesterol, and you want to eat foods which will help bind with bad or LDL cholesterol so that it is excreted from the body as a waste product.
You can also support healthy cholesterol levels by adding Omega 3s found in fish, nuts and legumes, exercise often and lower your levels of stress by reading a novel or walking in a park – any leisurely activity that allows you to relax. These vegetables that can lower cholesterol are great additions to your diet, but you should include an overall plan that includes a change in your lifestyle choices.