The doctor always checks it; your nutritionist asks you about it; even the personal trainer at the gym may have a thing or two to say about it — we’re talking about cholesterol.
This hotly debated and controversial topic has been going through changes lately in the health world. It’s all about the numbers. Many health professionals are questioning the scale that we rank cholesterol as good, moderate, or bad. Some are saying that the numbers are outdated, while others stick hard and fast to the old school ruling.
Cholesterol, is a waxy substance that is an essential part of your body that is used to build cells. It comes from two places: your liver makes cholesterol and you also get it from animal-based foods such as meat, poultry, and full-fat dairy. The problem arises when you consume too much animal-based cholesterol, which is generally also rich in high saturated and trans fats. These unhealthy fats “cause your liver to make more cholesterol than it otherwise would,” causing your cholesterol levels to rise to an unhealthy level. While most plant-based foods are free of cholesterol, there are certain plant-based derived products that can trigger the liver to create more cholesterol such as “palm oil, palm kernel oil, and coconut oil.”
In order to maintain a healthy cholesterol level or lower a currently high number, look to incorporating low or zero cholesterol foods that are also nutrient-dense. Some great plant-based foods that are super healthy for cholesterol include lutein-rich spinach known to help avoid clogged arteries, beta-glucan fiber-rich oats to cleanse toxins, omega-3-rich inflammation-fighting walnuts, nutrient-dense and fiber-filled beans, LDL reducing beta-sitosterols filled avocado, healthy fat-filled seeds, antioxidant-packed berries, sulfur-rich raw cacao, and blood clot preventing garlic.
We put together 15 recipes from the Food Monster App that can be helpful in reducing cholesterol!
Source: Superpower Smoothie Bowl
This Superpower Smoothie Bowl by Amy Height packs a triple punch with cholesterol-friendly spinach, antioxidant-rich and adaptogenic goji berries, and a combo of inflammation-fighting raw cacao nibs and turmeric powder for garnish.
Source: Peanut Butter Overnight Oats
Overnight oats are one of the easiest and tastiest recipes to follow. Plus, you can get as creative as you like with flavors and ingredients! This Peanut Butter Overnight Oats by Hayley Canning offers a helping of cholesterol-reducing oats, along with with healthy fat-filled peanut butter, protein-rich almond milk, potassium and magnesium filled banana, and an optional splash of maple syrup to flavor!
Source: Walnut Taco Meat
This Walnut Taco Meat by Christa Clark is a staple in any vegan kitchen! Create your favorite tacos, burritos, or meatless patties with this cholesterol-fighting walnut crumble packed with rich olive oil, cholesterol-friendly tamari or soy sauce, and a broad palate of spices such as cayenne, salt, chili powder, cumin, and oregano.
Source: ‘Lamb’ Burger
While beans make the cholesterol-friendly ingredient list, not far behind are lentils. These fiber-rich legumes are not only diverse but provide a cholesterol-free dose of stomach filling nutrients. This ‘Lamb’ Burger by Molly Patrick offers a double whammy with both lentils and oats!
Source: Guacamole With Sprouts
Avocado, avocado, avocado! These wonderful plant-based staples are great for so many recipes, such as this traditional Guacamole With Sprouts by Simona Malerba. Along with powerful cholesterol-fighting properties of avocado, this recipe also uses broccoli sprouts that are rich in sulforaphane, which can prevent and protect cells from damage leading to healthier aging, better cardiovascular health, improved gut health, and they have even been found to fight cancer!
Source: Vanilla Bean Chia Pudding
Second to overnight oats, chia pudding is a super easy, nutritious, and tasty on-the-go breakfast alternative! This Vanilla Bean Chia Pudding by Natalie Yonan offers a helping of cholesterol-lowering chia seeds, along with healthy fat-filled pistachios that also happen to be a natural estrogen-booster.
This Immune Boosting Orange Raspberry Smoothie by Kat Condon not only works to strengthen your immune system with natural agents such as turmeric, ginger, and antioxidant-rich bell pepper, but this smoothie also happens to incorporate many cholesterol-reducing agents such as raspberries, hemp seeds, and almond milk.
Eating your cruciferous greens is an important part of a healthy diet, including gut health-boosting cabbage! This Cacao-Rubbed Cabbage with Citrus Salsa by Quelcy Kogel will provide your daily dose of cabbage, along with cholesterol-friendly raw cacao, avocado oil, and extra-virgin olive oil.
Source: Raw Garlic Butter
Looking for a butter substitute with a little something special? This Raw Garlic Butter by Nikki Stokes is definitely worth a try! It’s rich in cholesterol-reducing garlic, along with fresh avocado and metabolism friendly coconut oil.
Source: Almond Cocotella
This Almond Cocotella by Judy Moosmueller is super simple with only five easy to source ingredients including cholesterol-friendly almonds and raw cacao and healthy fat-filled coconut oil. Top it off with a pinch of salt and a splash of maple syrup!
Source: Oat and Seed Bread
If overnight oats and chia pudding don’t quite cut it for you in the morning, try adding a bit of healthy, nutrient-dense, cholesterol-fighting bread to the mix! This Oat and Seed Bread by Ella Suihko is incredibly fiber-rich with oats, flaxseed, and chia seed, plus it packs a powerful healthy fat-punch with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, psyllium husks, and extra-virgin olive oil.
Source: Whole Grain Blueberry Pancakes
This Whole Grain Blueberry Pancakes recipe by Christina Bedetta not only includes a helping of blueberries — the champion antioxidant powerhouse berry — but Bedetta also uses heart-healthy buckwheat flour and gluten-free oat flour for the pancakes, with cholesterol-fighting flaxseed and healthy fat-filled coconut oil
Source: Chocolate Pretzel Quinoa Bars
These Chocolate Pretzel Quinoa Bars by Caroline Doucet are the perfect on-the-go snack to keep in your backpack or at your work desk. They incorporate a handful of plant-based ingredients that are also choelsterol-friendly including raw cacao, quinoa, oats, and sunflower seed butter.
Source: Raspberry Chia Jam
While most jam recipes call for copious amounts of sugar, this Raspberry Chia Jam by Fabio Gallo relies on the natural sweetness of lemon, raspberries, and a splash of maple syrup, making this not only a cholesterol-friendly jam option — with raspberries and chia seeds — but also a lower sugar alternative.
Source: Avocado Tofu Chocolate Mousse
Avocado isn’t just great on toast or in guacamole, but it’s also a wonderful ingredient to use in plant-based, low-sugar desserts! This Avocado Tofu Chocolate Mousse recipe by Diane Smith not only harnesses the cholesterol-reducing powers of avocado, raspberries, and raw cacao, but it’s also protein-rich with tofu and almond milk.
We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 15,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!
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