Which Nuts Are Best to Lower Cholesterol?

Medically Reviewed on 5/10/2022
Which nuts are best for lowering cholesterol?
Nuts can decrease cholesterol when eaten in moderation.

Some nuts are high in beneficial fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids. Researchers discovered that consuming roughly half a cup of walnuts per day (especially in the morning) can somewhat lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels in healthy people. 

Nonetheless, studies have indicated that nuts can decrease cholesterol only when taken in moderation. Do not eat too many at once, and do not pick the salted kind.

Dieticians advocate topping morning meals with a nice quantity of nuts of your choice to avoid exceeding your daily nut intake.

9 nuts that may help lower cholesterol levels

  1. Walnuts: Contain a high amount of heart-protecting omega-3 fatty acids that can effectively decrease low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels.
  2. Pistachios:
    • Fiber
    • Nutrients
    • Potassium
    • Antioxidants
  3. Almonds: They can lower blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol in the body. 
  4. Hazelnuts: Lower blood pressure and cholesterol and contain a high concentration of
    • Antioxidants
    • Healthy fats
  5. Macadamia:
    • These nuts help lose weight
    • They contain more monounsaturated fats, which control cholesterol
  6. Brazil nuts:
    • A high percentage of monounsaturated fats
    • Magnesium
    • Zinc
    • Calcium
    • Vitamin E
  7. Cashew nuts:
    • High in fiber
    • Healthy fats
    • Arginine (an amino acid that can help relax your blood vessels)
  8. Peanut:
    • Healthy oils
    • Protein
    • Fiber
    • Rich source of monounsaturated fat
  9. Pecans:

Consume no more than half a cup or a handful of nuts every day because they are high in calories. Nuts are high in omega-3 polyunsaturated oil, fiber, plant sterols, and flavonoids. They are most effective when consumed instead of saturated fats found in meats, dairy, and some vegetable oils.


How to Lower Your Cholesterol & Save Your Heart See Slideshow

3 types of cholesterol

Cholesterol is a chemical that the body needs to develop cell structures, various hormones, and chemical messengers. In excess quantities, however, cholesterol can deposit inside the blood vessels and compromise the blood flow to various organs.

  1. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL, bad) cholesterol:
    • Responsible for transporting cholesterol particles throughout the body.
    • LDL cholesterol accumulates in the artery walls, hardening and narrowing them.
  2. High-density lipoprotein (HDL, good) cholesterol: It collects extra cholesterol and transports it to the liver.
  3. Triglycerides: Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood that might increase the risk of heart disease, particularly in women.

Too much bad cholesterol or not enough healthy cholesterol raises the risk of cholesterol gradually accumulating in the inner walls of the arteries that supply the heart and brain.

Healthy cholesterol chart

Table. Healthy cholesterol values
Age and gender Total cholesterol LDL HDL
Younger than 19 years Less than 170 mg/dL Less than 100 mg/dL Greater than 45 mg/dL
Adult male (20 years and older) Between 125 to 200 mg/dL Less than 100 mg/dL Greater than 40 mg/dL
Adult female (20 years and older) Between 125 to 200 mg/dL Less than 100 mg/dL Greater than 100 mg/dL

When it comes to cholesterol management, your food may be a great tool to keep “bad” LDL cholesterol levels low and “good” HDL cholesterol levels high.

  • The objective is to reduce your intake of high-fat, artery-clogging foods (such as cookies, crackers, and ice cream) while increasing your intake of heart-healthy meals.
  • Replacing cholesterol with fiber-rich and nutrient-dense meals will not only decrease your cholesterol (and likely the number on the scale), but it will improve your general health and vitality.

6 reasons for high cholesterol levels in the body

To lower cholesterol levels, you should understand why you have high cholesterol levels in your blood.

  1. Genetics
  2. Underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease
  3. Unhealthy lifestyle
  4. Unhealthy diet
  5. Excess body fat percentage
  6. Several inherited disorders can lead to elevated cholesterol, including familial hypercholesterolemia

If you have high cholesterol levels, you can talk to your doctor for choosing the best treatment options.

5 ways to lower cholesterol levels

1. Eat wisely

You might want to talk to a dietitian or nutritionist about building a strategy to reach your cholesterol goal. Some important measures you may take are:

  • Eat less saturated fat and avoid cholesterol-containing foods: One of the most effective strategies to lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is to reduce the quantity of saturated fat in your diet. Saturated fats can be found in:
    • Fatty meats
    • Skin-on chicken or turkey
    • Butter
    • Whole or two percent milk
    • Cream
    • Cheese
    • Lard
    • Certain cooking oils (such as palm and coconut)
    • Baked goods
  • Good food options to lower cholesterol levels:
    • Low-fat (one percent) or nonfat dairy products (low-fat cheese, sour cream, yogurt, and milk)
    • Olive, canola, maize, sunflower and safflower oil, and cholesterol-lowering margarine
    • Eat fish two or three times a week; choose salmon, sardines, herring, albacore tuna, rainbow trout, and other types that are high in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids

Saturated fats are the worst for the heart and blood vessels, but cholesterol-containing meals lead to higher-than-normal cholesterol levels. Because saturated fats and cholesterol are both present in many of the same meals, avoiding foods high in saturated fats helps you reduce your intake of cholesterol-rich foods. High-fat meat, including chicken and turkey with the skin, high-fat dairy products, and liver and other organ meats are examples of foods that contain both unsaturated fat and cholesterol.

2. Eat more fiber

Dietary fiber refers to plant elements that the body is unable to digest. There are two kinds of fiber: soluble and insoluble fiber. Both are essential for good health. Foods high in soluble fiber, however, have been demonstrated to help decrease cholesterol when consumed regularly as part of a low-saturated-fat and low-cholesterol diet.

9 best fiber-rich foods to lower cholesterol levels:

  1. Vegetables
  2. Fruits
  3. Dry beans
  4. Peas
  5. Oatmeal
  6. Wholegrain bread
  7. Cereals
  8. Legumes
  9. Pasta

3. Be active

Doing physical activity regularly can help you regulate your cholesterol.

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Walk around while you are on the phone
  • Clean your house or wash your clothes
  • Work up to 30 minutes of brisk exercise a day, five times a week
  • Consider swimming, cycling, dancing, and other activities that get your heart pumping
  • Lift moderate weights two or three times a week
  • Stretch to increase your flexibility and reduce stress

4. Manage your weight

  • Losing weight might help decrease your cholesterol if you are overweight
  • Eating less and moving more to lose or maintain weight
  • Avoiding high-calorie meals, consuming smaller quantities, and staying active all day can help

5. Take cholesterol-lowering medications as prescribed by your doctor

Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may prescribe one or more types of cholesterol-lowering drugs, which address cholesterol levels in your blood differently.

The following are the most common forms of cholesterol-lowering medications:

  • Statins:
    • Prevent inflammation
    • Prevent clot formation in arteries where plaque has built up
  • Fibric acid derivatives: They lower triglyceride levels.
  • Niacin: They raise your high-density lipoprotein or “good cholesterol” level.
  • Cholesterol absorption inhibitors: Reduce the amount of cholesterol the body absorbs.
  • Bile acid sequestrants:
    • These drugs aid in the removal of bile acids from the body
    • This leads the liver to restore the missing bile acids by turning more cholesterol into bile acids, lowering blood cholesterol levels

Possible side effects of cholesterol-lowering medications include:

Ask your doctor what the medications are for and how and when you should take them. Inform your doctor if you have any negative effects.

High cholesterol puts you at risk for heart attacks, strokes, and other potentially fatal cardiovascular events. Fortunately, you may lower your cholesterol reasonably fast by adopting a healthy lifestyle and consulting your doctor about the need for any drugs.


What is cholesterol? See Answer

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Medically Reviewed on 5/10/2022
Image Source: iStock Image

Griffin RM. The New Low-Cholesterol Diet: Nuts. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/features/nuts-help-lower-bad-cholesterol

International Nut and Dried Fruit Council. Nuts to lower cholesterol. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/nuts-to-lower-cholesterol

Healthdirect. How to lower your cholesterol. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/how-to-lower-cholesterol