3 Things to Add to Your Diet for Lower Cholesterol

Nearly one in eight American adults have high levels of total cholesterol, reports the CDC. “We tend to see it a lot more in the young-adult population than you’d expect,” Gina Curry MD, of Group Health, says.

While you may be tempted to ask your doctor for a cholesterol-lowering prescription, she suggests making a few dietary changes, first.

First Things First – What You Need to Know About Cholesterol:

A person's total cholesterol level includes measurements of:  

  • HDL, or "good" cholesterol
  • LDL, or "bad" cholesterol
  • Triglycerides

Cholesterol levels vary slightly based on your age and gender. Learn more about cholesterol levels and testing.

1. High-Fiber Foods

High-fiber foods, including oat bran, oatmeal and brown breads, can counteract the elevation in cholesterol. “It makes cholesterol more soluble and allows your body to clear it on its own,” Dr. Curry explains.

2. Fish

Not all seafood is created equally, however. The best in terms of lowering cholesterol are tuna, salmon, and swordfish. Sardines and halibut are good options, too.

Dr. Curry says, if you don’t like to eat fish, consider taking omega-3 supplements. But, talk to your doctor before taking over-the-counter supplements.

3. Monounsaturated Fat

Monounsaturated fat is found in olive oil and avocado. “Guacamole is probably OK, but if you’re eating it with fried chips, you’re not really doing yourself a big favor. Plain avocado on salads and such is helpful,” Dr. Curry points out.

Additionally, always opt to cook or bake – not fry – with olive oil, when possible; avoid cooking with butter and shortening.

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