7 Carbs You Should Be Buying to Lower Cholesterol, According to a Dietitian (2023)

More than one-third of all U.S. adults have high cholesterol. So, if you are one of the nearly 94 million Americans experiencing this condition, know that you are not alone.

For people who want to lower their cholesterol, some good news is that there are several foods that can help with this goal—carbs included! While carbohydrates have been vilified recently thanks to diets like keto, Atkins and the South Beach Diet, there are several healthy carbs that are worth a spot on your plate. Not to mention, including carbs in an overall heart-healthy diet can actually help your body experience lower cholesterol levels naturally.

While it is true that some carbs are not the best choice when trying to support healthy cholesterol levels—think cookies, candies and other sweet treats—there are other carb-rich foods that are packed with important nutrients that may help reduce LDL ("bad") cholesterol, increase HDL ("good") cholesterol and help support overall heart health.

Types of Carbs in Foods

Most carbohydrates fall into two categories: whole-food-based carbs (commonly called "complex carbohydrates") and refined carbs (often referred to as "simple carbohydrates", though not all refined carbs are simple carbs). Whole-food-based carbs are typically free of added sugar, are chock-full of important nutrients and contain more fiber than most simple carbs. Whole grains, many fruits, starchy vegetables and beans/legumes fall into the whole-food-based carb category.

On the other hand, refined carbs are typically more processed and lower in fiber and micronutrients. Examples of refined-carb foods include cookies, candies, pretzels, white bread and drinks with added sugars (like soda or sugar-sweetened tea).

Carbohydrates give your body the fuel it needs to make energy. And while some research suggests that eating a low-carb diet may have cholesterol-lowering benefits (especially when compared with the effects of a low-fat diet), you will be hard-pressed to find science suggesting that people who want to reduce their cholesterol levels should go 100% carb-free.

(Video) #1 Top Remedy to Lower and Regulate Cholesterol

When carbohydrates are included in a cholesterol-lowering diet, the quality of the carbs plays a crucial role. Opting for foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains while limiting or avoiding sugar-sweetened beverages, refined cereals and added sugars appears to result in better outcomes for cholesterol levels.

7 Carbs You Should Be Buying to Lower Cholesterol

If you are one of the many people whose LDL or HDL cholesterol levels are simply not where you want them to be, here are seven carbohydrates you can add to your grocery list that may help naturally maintain healthier cholesterol levels.

1. Prunes

Snacking on prunes can fuel your body with many nutrients that are key for heart health, including antioxidants, fiber, potassium and magnesium. Research published in the Journal of Medicinal Food suggests that, among postmenopausal women, eating approximately five to six prunes each day for six months may offer positive cardiovascular health outcomes, including raising HDL cholesterol and lowering the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL.

Improved antioxidant capacity and reduced inflammation were also seen in subjects who ate five to six prunes every day for six months when compared with those who did not eat prunes daily. Another clinical study found that prune consumption may play a positive role in intestinal microflora regulation and, in turn, may lower total cholesterol levels among people with mildly elevated cholesterol.

Prunes are perfectly portable fruits that don't require refrigeration and are easy to enjoy when on the go. Or, if you are craving more of a meal, you can enjoy prunes in a dish like .

2. Oats

Oats are a whole-grain carbohydrate choice that is a staple breakfast food. And if you are trying to lower your cholesterol, eating oats may be one of the best things you can do, thanks to the unique beta-glucan fiber they contain. This fiber binds LDL cholesterol in the body, helping remove it before it is absorbed. In one meta-analysis evaluating 28 studies, results suggest that adding at least 3 grams of oat beta-glucans per day may reduce LDL cholesterol by 10 mg/dL.

(Video) Foods to lower your cholesterol | Dr Sarah Berry

To get more oats in your diet, you can whip up a classic breakfast oatmeal, make a batch of Cinnamon-Raisin Oatmeal Cookies or enjoy some Cranberry-Oat Energy Balls on busy days.

3. Potatoes

The humble potato is a starchy veggie that is equally delicious as it is good for you. Along with the boost of carbohydrates that potatoes provide, each serving fuels your body with soluble fiber, a nutrient that can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream.

While all potatoes can fit into a cholesterol-lowering diet, purple potatoes may offer an additional cholesterol-lowering benefit thanks to the anthocyanin polyphenols they contain (this is a type of antioxidant that is responsible for giving these potatoes their gorgeous purple hue). Data shows that anthocyanin intake via supplementation offers cholesterol-improving benefits. While we can't definitively say that getting this antioxidant from food will offer the same results, there is little (if any) risk and are several benefits associated with eating these pretty purple taters. Try some German-Style Purple Potato Salad for a fun way to try these unique tubers.

When including potatoes in your diet, choose those that are baked, boiled or air-fried instead of preparations that include deep-frying or ingredients that are rich in saturated fat (like bacon and butter). or are other flavorful ways to enjoy this popular veggie.

4. Apples

There may be some truth to the old saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away"—at least when lowering cholesterol. Apples are a natural source of various polyphenols and fibers, factors that may naturally support heart health. Plus, they are sodium-free and saturated-fat-free, while offering a sweet taste with no added sugars.

Among the nutrients found in apples, one of the heart-health stars is pectin, a type of fiber found in an apple's skin that helps prevent cholesterol from being absorbed into the bloodstream.

(Video) How to Lower Your Cholesterol Levels on Keto

Results of one recent study evaluating people with mildly elevated cholesterol showed that the simple act of eating two apples every day resulted in reduced serum total and LDL cholesterol compared with people who didn't eat a regular dose of this crunchy fruit.

5. Beans

Beans not only provide energy-sustaining carbohydrates, but they also provide fiber, plant-based proteins, antioxidants and a slew of other nutrients that support heart health.

Thanks to their convenience and cost-effectiveness, using canned beans can be a simple part of following a cholesterol-lowering diet. In fact, a 2021 study in the Journal of Nutrition concluded that eating 1 cup of canned beans every day for four weeks may decrease total and LDL cholesterol in adults with elevated LDL cholesterol.

Eating a yummy Bean Bolognese or some is a simple way to include more canned beans in your diet.

6. Berries

Berries are packed with fiber, vitamins, antioxidants and other nutrients, making them one of the best foods for overall health. No matter whether you are reaching for juicy red raspberries, gorgeous blue blueberries or any other variety of berries, including these fruits in your diet may be a big help in managing your cholesterol levels. In fact, many studies have shown that eating berries is consistently linked to a decrease in total and LDL and an increase HDL cholesterol.

A refreshing Strawberry-Blueberry-Banana Smoothie or a portion of Raspberry-Lemon Greek Frozen Yogurt Bark can help you include nutrient-packed berries in your diet.

(Video) Foods That Lower Cholesterol Naturally | Dr. Neal Barnard Live Q&A

7. 100% Orange Juice

Beverage choices matter just as much as food choices when aiming to achieve healthy cholesterol levels. If you want to drink something other than water, an occasional glass of 100% orange juice is a viable option to support your health goals, especially compared to sugar-sweetened beverages.

According to research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, drinking any carbonated beverage with added sugar, as well as punch, lemonade or other noncarbonated fruit
"drinks" was linked to lower HDL cholesterol. However, the lipid profiles were not significantly affected by fruit juice consumption.

Past observational data shows that adults who drank orange juice had significantly lower total and LDL cholesterol levels, with males having a 23% reduced risk for low HDL levels compared to non-OJ drinkers. Other more recent research supports that long-term orange juice drinkers tend to have lower levels of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol compared to non-OJ drinkers.

Of course, you can sip on some good old-fashioned OJ to potentially reap these health benefits. But if you want to include it in your dishes, recipes like Orange Ginger Chicken Bowls and are nice options to explore.

While food and lifestyle play an important role in both prevention and treatment, if you have high cholesterol, medical treatment may be necessary. Work closely with your health care team to create a medical plan that is best for you.


7 Carbs You Should Be Buying to Lower Cholesterol, According to a Dietitian? ›

Oats are a whole-grain carbohydrate choice that is a staple breakfast food. And if you are trying to lower your cholesterol, eating oats may be one of the best things you can do, thanks to the unique beta-glucan fiber they contain. This fiber binds LDL cholesterol in the body, helping remove it before it is absorbed.

Which carbohydrate helps to lower cholesterol? ›

Oats are a whole-grain carbohydrate choice that is a staple breakfast food. And if you are trying to lower your cholesterol, eating oats may be one of the best things you can do, thanks to the unique beta-glucan fiber they contain. This fiber binds LDL cholesterol in the body, helping remove it before it is absorbed.

How many carbs should I eat a day to lower my cholesterol? ›

If a more moderate or liberal low-carb diet (e.g. 50–100 grams of carbs per day) can still work for you, it may also lower your cholesterol.

What does a dietitian do for high cholesterol? ›

Registered dietitians are experts in diet and nutrition, particularly for promoting general health and treating conditions, such as high cholesterol. A dietitian can evaluate your diet and create a plan and detailed menu to work with your lifestyle and daily routine. A dietitian will ask about your eating habits.

What are the 15 foods that lower cholesterol? ›

15 foods that lower cholesterol
  • Eggplant.
  • Okra.
  • Apples.
  • Avocado.
  • Fish.
  • Oats.
  • Barley.
  • Nuts.
Mar 16, 2021

How can I lower my cholesterol in 7 days naturally? ›

Start a healthy plan and make a delicious recipe
  1. Week 1: Opt for oats for breakfast. ...
  2. Week 2: Add an apple a day. ...
  3. Week 3: Bet on beans for lunch. ...
  4. Week 4: Have a handful of nuts. ...
  5. Week 5: Savor salmon for dinner. ...
  6. Week 6: Raise the volume on veggies. ...
  7. Week 7: Favor heart-healthy fats. ...
  8. Recipe: Breakfast in 2 minutes.
Jun 8, 2017

Is peanut butter good or bad for cholesterol? ›

Due to its high amount of unsaturated fats, peanut butter may help reduce a person's LDL cholesterol levels. Having optimal LDL levels is linked with a lower risk of heart disease. A 2015 study found that people who had a high intake of nuts may have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease mortality.

Are potatoes bad for cholesterol? ›

Potatoes are cholesterol-free and have zero saturated fat

Consuming foods that are low in cholesterol and saturated fat help reduce risk of suffering from heart diseases to some extent. So if you have a heart problem, adding some slices of boiled potatoes as a side can help in giving your heart the much needed TLC.

Are potatoes high in cholesterol? ›

They are cholesterol-free and sodium-free, with only 110 calories per 5.3oz serving. Based on the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs), potatoes can help Americans of all ages follow a healthy eating pattern.

What is the #1 snack to help lower cholesterol according to a dietitian? ›

One reason oats are the best cholesterol-lowering food is because they are high in soluble fiber. This type of fiber creates a coating in your small intestine that prevents cholesterol from entering the bloodstream, which can be very effective at lowering LDL cholesterol levels.

What is the biggest culprit for high cholesterol? ›

The biggest influence on blood cholesterol level is the mix of fats and carbohydrates in your diet—not the amount of cholesterol you eat from food.

How can I lower my cholesterol in 30 days? ›

5 Easy Steps to Reduce Cholesterol in 30 Days
  1. Switch to a Mediterranean Diet. ...
  2. Increase Exercise. ...
  3. Supplement Fiber. ...
  4. Lose Weight. ...
  5. Drink Alcohol in Moderation.

Can high cholesterol be reversed with diet? ›

People can naturally lower their cholesterol levels by adopting dietary and lifestyle changes. This can include changing the types of fats they eat, consuming soluble fiber, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, maintaining healthy body weight, limiting alcohol intake, and getting enough good-quality sleep.

Can weight loss reverse high cholesterol? ›

Losing as little as 10 pounds can be enough to improve your cholesterol levels. In one study, people who lost at least 5% of their weight significantly reduced their levels of LDL, total cholesterol, and triglycerides.

What is the best drink to lower cholesterol? ›

The best drinks to improve cholesterol
  • Green tea. Green tea has been shown to have cholesterol-improving benefits for healthy people and those with obesity. ...
  • Soy milk. ...
  • Oat drinks. ...
  • Tomato juice. ...
  • Berry smoothies. ...
  • Drinks containing sterols and stanols.
Oct 21, 2022

Are bananas good for cholesterol? ›

The fiber and potassium in bananas can reduce the level of cholesterol and blood pressure. Banana is especially known as a good source of soluble fibre which will gives one a healthy body and good immune system.

Does coffee affect your cholesterol? ›

While coffee does not contain cholesterol, it can affect cholesterol levels. The diterpenes in coffee suppress the body's production of substances involved in cholesterol breakdown, causing cholesterol to increase. Specifically, coffee diterpenes may cause an increase in total cholesterol and LDL levels.

How can I flush my cholesterol fast? ›

Fill Up on Fiber

Foods like oatmeal, apples, prunes, and beans are high in soluble fiber, which keeps your body from absorbing cholesterol. Research shows that people who ate 5 to 10 more grams of it each day saw a drop in their LDL.

Does drinking apple cider vinegar lower cholesterol? ›

As for apple cider vinegar helping with cholesterol – drinking apple cider vinegar before a meal lowers cholesterol. Basically, studies have shown that apple cider vinegar reduces LDL (bad cholesterol) and increases HDL (good cholesterol) due to its natural antioxidants.

What vitamins lower cholesterol? ›

Vitamins C, D, and B3 (niacin) may help lower cholesterol as well. And probiotics, berberine, and red yeast rice are other potentially effective supplements.

What 3 foods cardiologists say to avoid? ›

Top Foods Cardiologists Want You to Avoid for a Healthy Heart
  • Red meat (including “the other white meat”) ...
  • Bacon, hot dogs, and other processed meats. ...
  • French fries and other fried foods. ...
  • Sugary drinks and cereals. ...
  • Potato chips and snack foods. ...
  • Full-fat dairy products. ...
  • Baked goods, cookies, and pastries.
Feb 1, 2023

What cheese is best to eat if you have high cholesterol? ›

Keep cheese portions small and weigh them to reduce temptation. Using lower-fat cheeses – such as mozzarella, feta, cottage cheese or reduced-fat cheeses – will provide less saturated fat.

Is Yogurt bad for your cholesterol? ›

Heart Health

Greek yogurt has been connected to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which can reduce your risk of heart disease. Cholesterol and triglycerides can harden or block your arteries over time, leading to heart disease or atherosclerosis.

Is Sweet Potato good for cholesterol? ›

Research shows that sweet potatoes can lower your LDL "bad" cholesterol, which may lower your odds of heart problems.

Is pizza bad for your cholesterol? ›

Many people think that the high-fat content in different blends of cheese is harmful to managing cholesterol levels. However, it's not true. A cheese pizza has almost no contribution to your cholesterol level. You can have a slice of a cheese pizza and still be free of worry!

What kind of bread can I eat with high cholesterol? ›

There is no reason to throw carbs out of the window if you have high cholesterol; just be mindful of what you're eating. Whole wheat or whole grain bread is your best bet due to the high amounts of fiber compared with other bread.

Can you eat pasta with high cholesterol? ›

You don't have to give up your favorite pasta dish if you have high cholesterol levels. With some simple adaptations, you can make pasta a heart-healthy choice. Avoid adding high-fat cheese, sauce, and meat to your meal.

Is pasta bad for high cholesterol? ›

Research has shown that refined carbohydrates, like white bread and white pasta, can increase LDL cholesterol. If you can't live without your mac and cheese, opt for a homemade version with whole-wheat pasta and low-fat milk and cheese.

Is rice bad for your cholesterol? ›

One study showed that regularly eating brown rice can help lower LDL cholesterol. 5 High levels of LDL cholesterol increase the risk of multiple health conditions, including heart attack and stroke. If you are seeking to maintain a reduced-cholesterol diet, try replacing white rice with brown rice.

Is popcorn bad for your cholesterol? ›

Popcorn without added sugar or salt may have low levels of cholesterol. However, popcorn can have high levels of cholesterol if people prepare it with butter or a sugary coating, such as caramel.

Does tuna reduce cholesterol? ›

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.

Is mayonnaise bad for your cholesterol? ›

Consuming mayonnaise in excess can increase the risk of heart disease. About 1.6 grams of saturated fat is found in one tablespoon of mayonnaise. In this case, if you eat more mayonnaise, it can increase cholesterol. High cholesterol in the body increases the risk of heart disease.

What destroys high cholesterol? ›

Even 30 minutes of moderate exercise — like walking — most days of the week can make a significant difference. If you have heart disease or are at risk for it, your doctor may recommend more strenuous exercise. Losing weight can also help lower your LDL cholesterol and raise your HDL cholesterol.

Will blueberries lower cholesterol? ›

Blueberries Contain Cholesterol-Lowering Chemicals

Anthocyanin, an antioxidant chemical responsible for the deep, bluish-purple coloring of blueberries and other fruits, has been shown to lower the oxidation of LDL. Fiber, also contained in other fruits and veggies, can also help lower LDL cholesterol.

What organ is most affected by high cholesterol? ›

Your body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells, but high levels of cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease. With high cholesterol, you can develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels. Eventually, these deposits grow, making it difficult for enough blood to flow through your arteries.

What foods destroy bad cholesterol? ›

Oatmeal, oat bran and high-fiber foods

Oatmeal contains soluble fiber, which reduces your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the "bad" cholesterol. Soluble fiber is also found in such foods as kidney beans, Brussels sprouts, apples and pears.

What meat is low in cholesterol? ›

Skinless, lean, and ground chicken or turkey breast are good low-cholesterol choices.

Can drinking lots of water lower cholesterol? ›

The bad cholesterol is called LDL and the good cholesterol is called HDL. When people have high cholesterol their LDL (bad) is high and their HDL (good) is low. Eating healthy, regular exercise and drinking plenty of water will help to bring down cholesterol levels within 2-3 weeks.

How long does it take for oatmeal to lower cholesterol? ›

How quickly does oatmeal lower cholesterol? Current evidence suggests daily oatmeal intake can lower cholesterol in five to six weeks. [10] However, some studies report significant declines in total and LDL cholesterol in as short as four weeks.

What vegetables are good for cholesterol? ›


Studies have demonstrated a connection between consuming vegetables and reducing the risk of heart disease. Broccoli in particular is plentiful in soluble fiber, which does wonders for high cholesterol. Other cholesterol-busting vegetables to consider include spinach, Brussels sprouts and collard greens.

What is a natural statin? ›

Natural statins are dietary supplements that are considered helpful in lowering your cholesterol. There's some evidence that the following are effective when it comes to reducing cholesterol levels.

Does lemon water lower cholesterol? ›

Thanks to their naturally high vitamin C levels, lemons are also beneficial in helping to lower blood cholesterol levels. Mixing the juice of two to three lemons in water each day can be enough to lower your low-density lipoprotein (also known as 'bad' cholesterol) and lower the risk of heart disease.

How long does it take to flush out cholesterol? ›

It is possible for lifestyle changes to change cholesterol levels within weeks. However, it may take longer, usually about 3 months — sometimes more. Some doctors recommend adding a cholesterol-lowering drug if a person has not lowered their LDL cholesterol after about 12 weeks of lifestyle changes.

What is the best starch to lower cholesterol? ›


The humble potato is a starchy veggie that is equally delicious as it is good for you. Along with the boost of carbohydrates that potatoes provide, each serving fuels your body with soluble fiber, a nutrient that can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream.

What starch is good for cholesterol? ›

Starches, grains (breads) and legumes

Choose low-fat baked goods (angel food cake), brown rice, whole-grain pasta, corn, baked potatoes, dried peas and beans, whole-grain breads and cereals.

Will lowering carbs lower cholesterol? ›

Compared to low-fat diets, a low-carb diet often offers minimal or no reduction of LDL and total cholesterol levels. 3 Any benefits of increased fat metabolism appear to be offset by the increased intake of dietary fat and cholesterol.

What breaks down cholesterol? ›

The liver processes the excess cholesterol for elimination via bile. Transport of cholesterol to the liver for biliary elimination is essential for maintaining cholesterol balance and is sometimes referred to as reverse cholesterol transport.


1. The BEST Cholesterol Lowering Foods At The Grocery Store ...And What To Avoid!
(FlavCity with Bobby Parrish)
2. How to Lower Your Cholesterol | Leslie Cho, MD
(Cleveland Clinic)
3. High Cholesterol is Healthy! [with David Diamond, PhD]
4. You'll Never Get High Cholesterol If You Eat These Foods That Lower Cholesterol
5. Your Doctor Is Wrong About Cholesterol
(Dr. Sten Ekberg)
6. You’ll Never Worry About Cholesterol After This
(Dr. Sten Ekberg)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Roderick King

Last Updated: 09/05/2023

Views: 6217

Rating: 4 / 5 (71 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Roderick King

Birthday: 1997-10-09

Address: 3782 Madge Knoll, East Dudley, MA 63913

Phone: +2521695290067

Job: Customer Sales Coordinator

Hobby: Gunsmithing, Embroidery, Parkour, Kitesurfing, Rock climbing, Sand art, Beekeeping

Introduction: My name is Roderick King, I am a cute, splendid, excited, perfect, gentle, funny, vivacious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.