Good health is an essential aspect of being happy. If you’re getting your annual checkups, you’ll have benchmarks for the various elements in your blood test results. However, if you’re noticing that your cholesterol levels are creeping a little higher each time, you should proactively try to stabilize it. One way to try to lower your cholesterol is by being aware of what you eat. Knowing which foods are a bad influence on cholesterol is a good start, but there are also items you can start including in your diet that helps lower cholesterol.


1. Eggplants and okra are two low-calorie vegetables that are a good source of soluble fiber.


2. Nuts of various kinds are good for the heart. Eating two ounces daily can lower LDL levels slightly. Almonds, walnuts and peanuts are easy to munch on during the day as a snack.


3. Using vegetable oils such as sunflower, canola, and safflower instead of butter, lards, or shortening when cooking helps lower LDL levels.


4. Apples, grapes, strawberries, and citrus fruits are rich in pectin, a type of soluble fiber, which lowers LDL levels.


5. Foods fortified with sterols and stanols help the body’s ability to absorb cholesterol from food. These days more companies are adding them to foods ranging from margarine to granola bars – even orange juices and chocolate. Read your food labels carefully and go with the option that includes this. Getting two grams of plant sterols or stanols daily can lower LDL cholesterol about 10%.


6. Foods made from soybeans like tofu and soymilk is a great way to lower cholesterol. Consuming 25 grams of soy protein a day (or 2.5 cups of soymilk) can lower LDL by 5-6 percent.


7. Fatty fish eaten two to three times a week is great for a couple reasons. First, it replaces meat which actually contains LDL-boosting saturated fats. Second, it delivers LDL-lowering omega-3 fats which lower triglycerides and protect the heart.