Protect your arteries: 7 foods to lower cholesterol

There are foods that limit the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine or that lower its levels in the blood, both naturally and in supplements.

The high cholesterol levels are one of the health issues that most concern us today in Western countries. Faced with a too high result in a clinical analysis, the first measure is usually to remove from the diet foods that we know to increase blood cholesterol levels.


There is another alternative to try to lower cholesterol: include in our menus those foods that, on the contrary, help reduce cholesterol or limit its absorption. In general, they help us:

  • Foods with unsaturated fats. This type of fats, present in foods such as avocado and olive oil, contribute to reducing the levels of cholesterol in the blood. They also reduce the risk of thrombus and clots.
  • Foods rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, a process to blame for much of heart disease. Therefore, the intake of foods rich in antioxidants helps reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Antioxidants are vitamin E (nuts, wheat germ and vegetable oil), vitamin C (pepper, kiwi and tomato) and phenolic compounds (tea, vegetables and fruits).
  • Foods with a lot of fiber. Fiber helps facilitate intestinal transit, an essential process to eliminate cholesterol from the blood through feces. It is present in vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains.


Take note. Here are some of the best foods for lowering cholesterol:

Omega 3 Acids

They are lipids that the body needs but cannot synthesize by itself but must be obtained through the diet.

They are part of the structure of cell membranes, so they intervene in the correct nutritional exchange.

They inhibit the synthesis of cholesterol, exert a vasodilator and anti-inflammatory effect and prevent platelet aggregation.

The nuts and flax seeds are excellent sources of omega-3.

The supplements come in gels, capsules, and liquids. 

The optimal dose in adults ranges between 800-1,200 mg daily.

Nepal (prickly pear leaves)

The opal (Opuntia ficus indica) or prickly pear is native to Central America and Mexico.

Since ancient times, its prickly pears and leaves have been consumed for their excellent nutritional value.

Nopal stalks can be eaten as a vegetable. They prevent the absorption of much of the cholesterol ingested, as well as the conversion of excess sugar in the blood into fat.

There are capsules and preparations based on dehydrated cactus powder. The usual dose is 2 g of concentrate daily. They are taken 30 minutes after the main meals, with a glass of water.

Sugar cane extract

Policosanol is obtained from the wax of the sugar cane, a natural mixture of primary aliphatic alcohols that has been shown to be very effective in reducing cholesterol, as well as being antiplatelet, anti-ischemic and improving physical performance.

The usual dose is 1 to 2 tablets daily, which provides 5 mg of policosanol, after dinner. It takes 6-8 weeks to see results.


The pulp of the apple is rich in pectin, a type of soluble fiber that, as such, retains water. It passes through the stomach without being absorbed and when it reaches the intestine it captures bile salts, one of the raw materials from which the body makes cholesterol.

In addition, the flavonoids it provides inhibit platelet aggregation and act as effective antioxidants on the wall of blood vessels.

Eating two apples a day for several months is effective in controlling cholesterol levels and preventing gallstones.

Soy lecithin

Soy lecithin is a compound made up of essential fatty acids, phosphorus, and two B vitamins: choline and inositol.

It stands out for its ability to reduce high levels of LDL lipoproteins (“bad” cholesterol) and raise HDL (“good” cholesterol), which promotes the elimination of excess cellular cholesterol.

The supplements come in capsule, powder, granule, or liquid form. The powder and granules can be sprinkled on food or added to purees and smoothies.

Dose3 to 5 g per day, which is equivalent to one or two tablespoons.

Red yeast rice

Known in China as Hong qu, red yeast rice (Monascus purpureus) is a favorite natural remedy in the East for treating indigestion, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

Its properties are currently known to reduce both exogenous and endogenous cholesterol and it constitutes one of the most effective dietary supplements to protect cardiovascular health.

It is sold in 600 mg capsules. The dose can range from one to four a day, depending on the cholesterol level. They are taken after meals.


This peculiar flower of the thistle family is rich in sterols, substances of plant origin similar to cholesterol in their chemical structure, which limit the absorption of fats in the intestine.

The cinnarin, pectin, mucilages and trace elements that it also provides help activate various enzymatic functions, eliminate free radicals, better emulsify lipids and detoxify the body.

To control cholesterol, take a 250-350 mg tablet of artichoke extract after meals.

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