Foods That Fight

Article excerpt

Foods that fight

It's easy to eat your way to an alarmingly high cholesterol level, according to Harvard Medical School.

The reverse is true, too -- changing what you eat can lower your cholesterol and improve the armada of fats floating through your bloodstream. Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and "good fats" are all part of a heart-healthy diet. But some foods are particularly good at helping bring down cholesterol. Here are five of those foods:

Oats. An easy way to start lowering cholesterol is to choose oatmeal or a cold oat-based cereal like Cheerios for breakfast. It gives you 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber.

Beans. Beans are especially rich in soluble fiber. They also take a while for the body to digest, meaning you feel full for longer after a meal.

Nuts. A bushel of studies shows that eating almonds, walnuts, peanuts and other nuts is good for the heart. Eating 2 ounces of nuts a day can slightly lower LDL.

Foods fortified with sterols and stanols. Sterols and stanols extracted from plants gum up the body's ability to absorb cholesterol from food. Companies are adding them to foods ranging from margarine and granola bars to orange juice and chocolate.

Fatty fish. Eating fish two or three times a week can lower LDL in two ways: by replacing meat, which has LDL-boosting saturated fats, and by delivering LDL-lowering omega-3 fats. …