Harvard Men's Health Watch

Lowering cholesterol with food

Q. How do "cholesterol-lowering" cereals like oatmeal reduce LDL cholesterol? How much do I need to eat to make a difference?

A. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are part of a heart healthy diet. Part of the benefit of eating these foods is that they crowd out the high fat and processed foods associated with heart disease and some cancers. These healthful foods are also rich in fiber.

Fiber is known to help control LDL (bad) cholesterol. Studies have shown that soluble fiber—found in oat bran, psyllium, and pectin, for example—can independently lower LDL cholesterol in people with a wide range of baseline cholesterol levels.

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