Many suffer from hyperlipidemia; high cholesterol levels in blood. However, not all cholesterol is bad; in fact there are two major types: the so called ‘bad’ cholesterol or LDL and the ‘good’ cholesterol or HDL.

High levels of LDL cholesterol are considered a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. LDL irritates the lining of blood vessels while circulating, ending in blood vessels hardening, deposition of cholesterol in these blood vessels and blockage.

High cholesterol is usually treated based on total cholesterol, LDL, and HDL levels in addition to the presence of risk factors for cardiovascular disease:

Diabetes
Smoking
High blood pressure
Personal or family history of cardiovascular disease

There many ways to lower LDL and increase HDL, in this article I want to focus on food that does that and here are the top four foods that lower your cholesterol.

Almonds

Studies have found that eating just a quarter cup of almonds a day can lower your LDL by 4.4 percent, according to dietitian Leslie Bonci, who is also the director of sports nutrition at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “Eating nuts, especially almonds, which are high in good-for-you monounsaturated fat, is better than simply eating a low-fat snack like pretzels,” says Bonci. Of course, they can also be high in calories, so stick with a small serving and choose almonds that are dry roasted without oil.

Oatmeal

You’ve seen the commercials with people proclaiming dramatic drops in their cholesterol numbers thanks to a daily serving of this hot cereal. Those great results are due to the high levels of soluble fiber found in oatmeal. “The soluble fiber binds to the bile acids that are the precursor to the development of cholesterol and help flush it out,” explains Bonci. It doesn’t matter how you get your oats—those instant, just-add-water packets are just as good for you as traditional, slow-cooked versions.

Fish

Fatty fish (tuna, salmon) are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 not only reduces cholesterol andLDL, but also reduces blood pressure and the risk of blood clots. It is recommended to eat two servings of fish a week. If you don’t like fish, you can get omega-3 fatty acids from flaxseed and canola oil.

Eat more beans

Beans contain soluble fibre that helps to optimize digestion and keep weight and cholesterol down. Add them to a salad or enjoy bean veggie patties instead of a regular beef burger.