Have a salmon fish dinner. Snack on a handful of nuts. Pour a dash of olive oil in your salad. And bite into that sinister chocolate.

Now you can do all this guilt-free! All these foods help in fighting bad cholesterol. According to the American Heart Association, ‘You can reduce cholesterol in your blood by eating healthy foods’.

So, here we are today with our list of top 10 cholesterol fighting foods.

Oats: If you change your morning meal to oats then you can do your cholesterol level a whole lot of good. Do note that two servings of oats can lower LDL cholesterol by 5.3% in only 6 weeks. Essentially, oats contain a substance called beta-glucan which absorbs bad cholesterol.

Red Wine: Here’s yet another reason to toast to your health. The red grapes used in the manufacturing of red wine have an important effect on cholesterol levels. Two glasses of red wine in a week can do you a whole lot of good.

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Salmon and fatty Fish: Full of Omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is a natural health wonder, which helps in keeping heart conditions such as heart attacks, stroke and high cholesterol levels at bay. Fishes such as salmon, sardines and herring help in raising good cholesterol levels by 4%.

Nuts: Mono-unsaturated fats (found in nuts, seeds etc.) have the lowest fatty acid molecules and are the best of the three fats, namely poly-saturated fats, saturated fats and monounsaturated fats. Nuts are the best way to get those required healthy fats into your body without feeling guilty. Since the fats that come from nuts are natural and are not chemically processed, this makes them heart healthy, filling, and nutritious options.

Beans: Excellent for the heart, ½ a cup of beans added in our diet (in the form of any dish or soup), helps in lowering cholesterol levels by 8%. You should try black, kidney, or pinto beans; each one of them supplies about one-third of your day’s fiber needs.

Tea: Tea has antioxidants and less amounts of caffeine than coffee. An eight-ounce cup of coffee contains around 135 mg caffeine; tea contains only 30 to 40 mg per cup. Tea helps in protecting your bones because of the presence of phytochemicals in them. It is also a great defense against LDL cholesterol levels.

Chocolate: Chocoholics can celebrate with a healthy dose of dark chocolate as it is full of antioxidants and cholesterolreducing properties. According to a Spanish study published in 2010 in the “Journal of Hepatology,”, “the antioxidants in dark chocolate reduce the damage that can occur to blood vessels, which can further threaten the health of people with cirrhosis.

The dark chocolate can help prevent the blood vessels in the liver from rupturing”. Medical experts suggest that munching on 100 grams of chocolate every day helps in reducing the occurrence of cardiovascular mishaps by 21 percent.

Spinach. Popeye the sailor was quite right when crediting his muscle power to this green leafy vegetable. It is believed that spinach contains around 13 flavonoid compounds which keep us away from cancer, heart diseases and osteoporosis. 1/2 a cup of this lutein-rich food, daily, guards us against heart attacks.

Olive oil: This oil has many health benefits. It contains mono-unsaturated fatty acids which lower bad cholesterol and triglycerides, without lowering good cholesterol levels. Different stages of pressing and processing yield different varieties of olive oil.

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