Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Fit Foods


While most of us know which foods we shouldn't eat to keep our cholesterol in check, we don't always know which foods will help us lower our cholesterol.

The following is a list of foods that are good choices when trying to lower or maintain your cholesterol.

Red Yeast Rice: Chinese Secret for Lower Cholesterol

If your cholesterol levels are high, your doctor can prescribe statin drugs, like Lipitor and Zocor, which inhibit cholesterol production, but these drugs pose risks to the liver and muscles.

Dr. David Heber, Director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, may have found a safer, natural alternative in Chinese Red Yeast Rice. Learn more about the benefits of Red Yeast Rice Extract.

Butter Versus Margarine

By Susan Harrow Rago, RD, MS

Another alternative to butter is spreads enriched with plant sterols or stanols. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, also called NHLBI, recommends consumption of 2 grams of plant sterols or stanols a day. Eating these may reduce the risk of heart disease when used as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol. They work by helping to block absorption of cholesterol from the digestive tract. Sterols or stanols are found in enriched food products, such as cholesterol-lowering regular and light spreads. Regular vegetable oil spreads containing plant stanol esters can be used in cooking and baking as a one-for-one substitution for other cooking fats and oils. Light spreads containing this ingredient are designed for spreading only.

The Benefits of Soy

By Susan Calvert Finn, PhD

Heart Health. Research demonstrates that soy protein decreases LDL cholesterol, soy's most well-documented effect, and tends to increase HDL cholesterol. Soy isoflavones also have antioxidant properties that protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation. The soy isoflavone genistein also may increase the flexibility of blood vessels. Learn more about the benefits of soy.


More to Explore