8 Super-Foods To Reduce Your Cholesterol

What�s the nation�s No. 1 killer of women? Heart disease. It causes one death every 35 seconds. Janet Bond Brill, a registered dietitian and author of Cholesterol Down, says you can reduce the bad stuff, without the help of pills. She shares 8 super-foods to eat. Plus, how much do you know about heart health? Take our quiz to find out... Cholesterol and Heart Disease In the annual physical, your doctor checks your cholesterol levels. But what is it? And what do the numbers say about your health? Cholesterol is a type of lipid or fat. In our bodies, it travels through our blood stream in particles called lipoproteins. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are bad because they can lead to a buildup of plaque in arteries. A mass of plaque can narrow your arteries and restrict blood flow � much like trying to sip juice through a clogged straw. Eventually, the plaque ruptures and a blood clot forms, cutting off the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Hello, heart attack and stroke! High-density lipoproteins (HDL), on the other hand, are good because they pick up the LDL clogging your arteries and take it to the liver, where it�s processed and eventually excreted. A total blood cholesterol level of 200 and above is cause for concern, especially if you have type 2 diabetes, according to the American Heart Association. Chow Down �Lowering your cholesterol reduces your risk of contracting heart disease and dying from a heart attack,� Brill says. What you eat can affect the amounts of HDL and LDL flowing through your bloodstream, and Brill has a cholesterol-lowering eating plan that�s tasty and effective. �My diet is about what you can eat � not what you can�t,� she says. What�s on her list? Try these 8 super-foods to reduce diabetic hyperlipidemia. Aim to eat all eight daily and heed the two bonus tips as well: 1. Oatmeal Oats are rich in beta-glucan, a soluble fiber that acts like a sponge to soak up cholesterol. How to sneak it in: Add cinnamon or dried cranberries to your morning oatmeal for a flavor boost. Oat-bran is a highly concentrated source of beta-glucan and it�s easy to mix into homemade bread, muffin and pancake batter. Brill�s daily Rx: 3 grams of beta-glucan, found in a half cup of dry oatmeal or oat bran. 2. Almonds Almonds contain two powerful antioxidants � vitamin E and flavonoids � which prevent the oxidation of LDL, a precursor to plaque buildup. How to sneak it in: Eat almonds with their skins, which pack a hefty dose of flavonoids. Stir a handful into yogurt or spread two tablespoons of almond butter on whole-wheat bread. Make these Spiced Spanish Almonds for a snack. Brill�s daily Rx: One ounce of dry-roasted, unsalted almonds. 3. Flaxseeds Flaxseeds contain lignan and soluble fiber, which block the production of LDL and increase your body�s ability to get rid of cholesterol. How to sneak it in: Eat ground flaxseeds rather than whole ones, because your body can better absorb its nutrients. Brill likes to sprinkle them into her morning oatmeal. New studies also show that whole flaxseeds are better than flaxseed oil for lowering cholesterol. Use whole flaxseed in these Blueberry-Maple Muffins. Brill�s daily Rx: 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds. 4. Garlic Garlic impedes the liver�s ability to make cholesterol. How to sneak it in: Chop garlic into small pieces to release its flavor. Saut� it with steamed spinach, add it to sauces and soups or pur�e roasted garlic with cooked potatoes and olive oil for a heart-healthy version of everybody�s favorite: mashed potatoes. Or try this Creamy Cauliflower Puree. Brill�s daily Rx: One clove and one Kyolic One Per Day Cardiovascular aged garlic extract supplement. 5. Phytosterol-Containing Foods Phytosterols are a fat found in plant foods such as fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils. They interfere with cholesterol absorption by blocking it from your intestinal cells. How to sneak it in: Even a vegetarian diet provides no more than 300-400 mg of plant sterols a day, well below Brill�s recommendation. So supplement this with foods containing added phytosterols � chocolate bars, margarine, cheese, granola bars and cookies, to name a few � but keep an eye on saturated fat and trans-fat content. Check out this Cranberry-Almond Granola. Brill�s daily Rx: 2-3 grams of phytosterols a day spread over two meals.