5 Surprising Foods That Lower Cholesterol

Look beyond oatmeal and check out these 5 unexpected foods that lower cholesterol.

foods that lower cholesterol

Include fennel or celery, ginger, and at least one cruciferous green veggie, such as kale, in your green juice for even greater cholesterol-lowering juice power.

© Teri Virbickis | Dreamstime

Are you tired of being told to eat oats, nuts, soy, and plant sterols to lower your cholesterol? There have to be other cholesterol-lowering foods, right? The good news is that there are actually many more foods that lower cholesterol.

Researchers tend to get fixated, understandably, on those with the most data behind them—like oats and beans. But research also supports the cholesterol-lowering abilities of a number of other unique and unexpected foods. So consider adding to your diet the five foods listed here and watch your cholesterol drop.

5 Foods That Lower Cholesterol

1. Kiwi: If you need to lower your triglycerides, kiwi is the fruit for you. Just one kiwi a week significantly lowers triglycerides, but more is better. In one study, two or three kiwis a day were proven to dramatically reduce triglycerides by 15 percent in healthy human volunteers.

Very high in vitamin C, vitamin E, and polyphenols, kiwi provides other cardiovascular benefits as well: it significantly increases HDL cholesterol and reduces the tendency for blood to become sticky and clot.[12]

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2. Green juice: If you’ve never tried a fresh juice containing a mix of fruits and green leafy veggies, you must! Fresh green juice tastes delicious, provides an unmistakable surge in energy, and lowers your cholesterol.[1,2] The fresher and greener the juice, the better your results may be.[3] Include fennel or celery, ginger, and at least one cruciferous green veggie, such as kale, in your blend for even greater cholesterol-lowering juice power.[4,5]

3. Kimchi: We’ve been promoting the health benefits of fermented foods on this site for some time now, but did you know they lower cholesterol? The cultured-vegetable side dish known on kimchi, for instance, can lower your total and LDL cholesterol by 8 percent to 10 percent.[6] Not only that, kimchi helps lower body fat, blood sugar, and blood pressure.[7]

This amazing superfood comes in so many varieties, you’re sure to find one you like.

4. Quinoa: Oats aren’t the only cholesterol-fighting whole grain. Quinoa is an ancient, high-protein, gluten-free grain that has recently exploded in popularity.

Preliminary studies show that adding quinoa to your diet significantly lowers cholesterol.[8,9] Overweight women who ate one small serving of quinoa flakes a day not only reduced their total cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides, but also boosted their body’s antioxidant power, likely because quinoa is loaded with free-radical-fighting phytochemicals.[10] Homemade granola made with quinoa flakes and maple syrup is a delicious way to take advantage of this amazing grain.

5. Cumin: Just a half teaspoon a day of this delicious spice can lower your cholesterol. A recent study in 88 overweight or obese women found that 3 grams (about a half teaspoon) of cumin powder daily reduced serum levels of fasting cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL, and increased HDL.[11] Cumin is delicious on roasted vegetables, beans, and meats.

No Need to Forget the Old Standbys

There’s certainly nothing wrong with the “old standby” foods that lower cholesterol—such selections as oats, beans, and nuts are excellent for anyone needing to lower their lipids. Just don’t forget that there are many research-backed foods for reducing cholesterol.


[1] J Agric Food Chem. 2002 May 22;50(11):3346-50.
[2] Rinsho Byori. 2003 Nov;51(11):1073-83.
[3] Lipids Health Dis. 2014 Jun 24;13:102.
[4] ARYA Atheroscler. 2015 Jul; 11(4): 244–251.
[5] Nutr Res Pract. 2015 Feb;9(1):49-56.
[6] J Med Food. 2013 Mar;16(3):223-9.
[7] Nutr Res. 2011 Jun;31(6):436-43.
[8] Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2010 Dec; 65(4): 333–338.
[9] Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2014 May;65(3):380-5.
[10] Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2014 May;65(3):380-5.
[11] Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2014 Nov;20(4):297-301.
[12] Platelets. 2004 Aug;15(5):287-92.


Originally published in 2015, this post is regularly updated. 

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