10. Stick to Black Coffee and Avoid Coffee Creamers
Coffee is basically a cornerstone of American living, and the health benefits of moderate coffee consumption are well documented (34). If you can drink your coffee black, continue on! This section is for the rest of us. Adding a little bit of actual cream or sugar to your coffee (assuming you only drink one or two cups per day) isn’t all that bad.
Coffee creamers are the easiest way to make your healthy cup of joe an unhealthy, cholesterol-laden fat bomb (35). Synthetic sweeteners, artificial flavorings, and dairy-free additives make up the majority of coffee creamers today. Non-dairy creamers are the worst offenders, as they are notoriously high in saturated fats and sugar (36). In most cases, saturated fats make up around 50% of the total calories in coffee creamers. Three cups of coffee with a hefty serving of creamer can easily take up more than half your recommended daily fat intake.
If you can’t make the leap to black coffee, try some other options like coconut milk creamer. Try using real cream and natural sweetener, or switch to tea after your first cup. If you’d like to make your own, Pinterest is a great source for homemade healthy coffee creamer recipes (37).
11. Lower Your Homocysteine Levels
Homocysteine is a naturally occurring amino acid that, in low levels, does not have any ill health effects. Elevated homocysteine levels are associated with a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease (38). Clinical research shows that homocysteine indirectly increases cholesterol levels and atherosclerosis (39).
Homocysteine is now recognized as an independent marker to evaluate the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The most proven way to reduce or prevent elevated homocysteine levels is to increase your folic acid, B-6, and B-12 intake (40). The fact that most B-vitamin sources are also high on the list of low cholesterol foods is a win-win (41). Dark, leafy greens, whole grains, dark fruits, fish, and poultry are all great B-vitamin-rich foods.
12. Switch To An Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Good news: the best foods to lower cholesterol are all part of an anti-inflammatory diet! Most people who follow an anti-inflammatory diet are fighting inflammatory pain conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, but the benefits are universal (42). Cholesterol is just one aspect of cardiovascular disease – inflammation is just as much of a contributory factor (43).
Some doctors and scientists even assert that an anti-inflammatory diet is better than a low-cholesterol diet for lowering cholesterol naturally (44). Inflammation encourages the absorption of LDL cholesterol, which in turn increases inflammation, and continues in a vicious circle (45). Incorporate items high in Omega-3s, vitamin E, avoid char-grilled meats, reduce intake of nightshade vegetables, and increase your intake of dark berries and leafy green veggies to start (46).