We are aware of how an excess of anything can cause a problem for us. Cholesterol is essential for the proper functioning of our system, but like everything else, excessive deposition of cholesterol causes problems for the heart in the long run. However, sticking to a healthy diet that includes cholesterol-lowering foods can rid the heart of “bad” cholesterol. Here’s a list of foods that help reduce LDL levels and maintain a healthy level of HDL.

Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are a great source of monounsaturated fatty acids. These are referred to as “good” fats for the heart. These are high in calories and are functional as cholesterol-lowering foods as they clear our blood of unwanted and unhealthy fats. Munching on a handful of nuts in between meals or adding some chopped nuts and seeds to your bowl of salad can work wonders for your health.

Dark chocolate
Being told that you can no longer relish the deliciousness that is chocolates is possibly one of the hardest things to come to terms with. However, rest assured that we aren’t here to ask you to give up your favorite bar of chocolate. No, we are here to tell you that the bar is, in fact, good for you. Although, that’s true as long as the bar in your hand is at least 75% dark. Dark chocolate is a rich source of antioxidants and flavonoids, both of which are good for the heart. The flavonoid content of these chocolates makes them one of the effective cholesterol-lowering foods.

When it comes to heart-healthy foods, you’ve probably come across the term MUFA all too often. MUFA stands for monounsaturated fatty acids. These are the kind of fats your body and your heart will be thanking you for. Some foods are naturally rich in these fatty acids that are considered to be “good.” Needless to say, avocados, one of the healthiest foods, fits in the bill. Additionally, MUFA-rich foods act as excellent cholesterol-lowering foods making your bowlful of guac a hearty meal.

Fatty fish
Almost every healthy diet has a spot for fish. More specifically, fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna, or trout. These fatty fish are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce the triglyceride levels in the blood and also help decrease the risk of high blood pressure. Consumption of fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids is known to be highly efficient cholesterol-lowering foods.

Whole grains
Foods made out of whole grains like barley and oats contain beta-glucans that are effective in lowering the low-density lipoprotein or the “bad” cholesterol levels. Whole-grain foods also have a substantial amount of vitamins and minerals that make them healthy heart food. Apart from being effective as cholesterol-lowering foods, whole grain products are also good for your gut, thanks to their high fiber content. Next time you are running late, skip something else instead of letting go of your morning bowl of health.

It is important to remember that these foods alone, however, won’t help treat the condition. Chronic or severe heart conditions can be treated with the help of combined efforts of medical guidance, diet, exercise, and a healthier lifestyle.