Cholesterol-Lowering Foods

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By R. Morgan Griffin
WebMD Feature

Do you want a diet to lower cholesterol? We all know that butter, ice cream, and fatty meats raise cholesterol, but do you know which foods make up a low-cholesterol diet? Find out here.

Here's some good news. To lower your cholesterol, you can actually eat more of certain foods. A handful of some "functional foods" have been shown to make a big impact on your cholesterol levels. They're also much tastier than a pill chased with a glass of water.

"These foods may not be magic, but they're close to it," says Ruth Frechman, RD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

Researchers have found that some foods -- such as fatty fish, walnuts, oatmeal, and oat bran, and foods fortified with plant sterols or stanols -- can help control your cholesterol. Some studies have shown that a diet combining these "superfoods" may work as well as some cholesterol-lowering medicines to reduce your "bad" LDL cholesterol levels.

How strong is the evidence? The FDA has reviewed the research on each of these foods, and given them the status of a "health claim" for managing cholesterol.

This is great news for the 105 million adults in the U.S. with high cholesterol. Making good food choices is an easy way of improving your health. It also puts less strain on your pocketbook. A trip to the grocery store is bound to be cheaper than a trip to the pharmacy. Also, many people can't handle the side effects from cholesterol drugs. Focusing on diet gives us all a new option.

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