Foods that lower cholesterol

Foods that lower cholesterol suggests you consider rolled oats, fibre as in beetroot and 100-percent whole grains; chickpeas, eggplant and apples are excellent too.

A reader writes of his experience with statins.

"I have taken statins to lower my cholesterol. Decreased libido was one of the many side-effects I experienced. As things happen gradually, I had not fully taken note of how my normal nightly erections had virtually ceased."

Statins cause erectile dysfunction.

"I figured my lack of sexual-interest was due to getting older. My wife felt I was not as interested in her anymore. During the first week after I stopped the statin, I had an awakening like I was a teenager again. I did not realise how far I had deteriorated until my libido came roaring back."

This page was last updated by Dr Bernard Preston on 25th September, 2023.

The journal of sexual medicine reports on research confirming that statins reduce testosterone, which is cholesterol-based; and actually contribute to a decrease in the size of the testicles known as hypogonadism.

“How did we come to believe that medication is the only or the most effective way to treat disease?”

Andrew Weil, M.D.

This comes as no surprise as most hormones have a high-cholesterol component, so drugs reducing it are likely to interfere with normal testosterone production.

It remains unexplained but this probably is also the underlying cause of a higher rate of violent death, homicidal tendencies and road-rage in persons taking statins as compared to those using natural methods to lower their cholesterol[1].

Can statins lower your sex drive?

Erectile dysfunction

Statins like lipitor and lovastatin do contribute to sexual difficulties like erectile dysfunction. And research confirms it. Foods that lower cholesterol are an entirely safe way to re-establish normal levels. An article in Drug Safety July 1, 2009, comes to these conclusions.

Despite some limitations in the research methods, this study suggests that statins may induce or increase ED in keeping with other research.

Foods that lower cholesterol

A personal journey of discovery of those foods that lower cholesterol

When you love fatty-meat and butter as much as I do and have an instinctive dislike for hydrogenated foods, especially margarine, you are faced with one of two-options:

  • Give up your love of animal fat.
  • Or accept that foods that lower cholesterol are not an option; they are compulsory.

Taking statins may be the third-option for you but I refuse to start down that road. My sexuality and an aversion to highly irritable people are too important to me.

So too I have no desire for tingling in arms and legs and a host of other detrimental factors.

My mother tried to turn me into a vegetarian but from a very young age my love of red meat was too strong. But our parents are not always totally stupid. Eventually I realised that I would have to balance my fondness of roast-mutton with those foods that lower cholesterol; or perish long before my time.

And so began my personal search for a normal blood cholesterol-profile, without denying my love of food; and not having having to swallow pills to lower cholesterol.

For me it has not been difficult. I continue to pig out on butter and mutton; in the Netherlands, personally I do not like the beef and pork. As someone South African born, I have been spoiled rotten with the choice of free-range meat available but rich Dutch cheeses do tickle my fancy.

Avoid corn-fed beef; it raises the omega 6 to 3 ratio and that means inflammation in your body. That means more work for your DC and cardiologist; and pain for you. Cows are meant to eat grass.

But I have added foods that lower cholesterol to our mutton-stew, so that I can continue to indulge myself. Sheep in Holland do roam the polders. And so my cholesterol is now dangerously low. I am joking of course, but it is well within normal limits; 164 mg per dl or, in standard European units, 4.2 mmol per L. Anything below 200 is good.

Cholesterol Credit incorporates the idea that you can enjoy your red-meat provide you buy into foods that lower the bad fats.

Foods that lower cholesterol

Foods that lower cholesterol questions whether you have been suffering from erectile dysfunction and extreme irritability since taking statins. You are not alone.

"I have now ditched all my medication except Omeprazole and Dispersible Aspirin; so much better not being on statins. Seems like I have been in a sort of prison for two-years and it is good to be out. We like to exercise along the beachfront prom where it is as flat as a pancake. If the weather is good it can be a pleasant pastime."


It is no old wives' tale that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Research confirms that eating 2 - 3 per day (including the skins) reduces the toxic LDL in the blood by 10%. To some extent this is probably true of all fruit.

Eat more fruit; raw or even cooked.


There is now overwhelming evidence that the omega-3 oils in fatty fish, walnuts and freshly-ground flaxseeds have a beneficial effect on your LDL cholesterol (Low Density Lipoprotein), that which has a dangerous effect on blood vessels; whilst not lowering the friendly HDLs.

Walnuts for blood pressure are rich in omega-3.

Mackerel recipes, salmon and herring are all extremely high in antioxidants that prevent malignant tumours; and those for mussels too. Shellfish get some bad press but have less than half the cholesterol of red-meat that has been trimmed of all fat.

We recommend recipes for mussels highly, but do take care; I got a severe three-day diarrhoea after eating them in restaurant in Brugge. Each one must be tested before cooking to make sure it is still alive; any with cracked shells must be discarded.

WAYS TO COOK SALMON perhaps should also come into your planning.

There is a downside to this powerful anti-oxidant, omega 3. It becomes rancid itself very rapidly. That is why fish goes off so quickly.

The omega-3 fat deteriorates very rapidly once exposed to air. The same happens in flax seeds. Eat them fresh and do not take the oil except perhaps in soft gels; even then you lose out on the lignans.

Better still eat fatty fish and grind your own seeds daily; three tablespoons (20g) of freshly-ground flax is more effective that statins in keeping your cholesterol down.

Read more for "flax seeds nutrition information" using the Site Search tab in the main menu above.

Flax seeds are a rich source of omega-3 and lignans.

Interesting research reveals that you can by choice of foods and some lifestyle changes achieve even better results than with a commonly prescribed statin. Read about it at red yeast rice if you are interested.

"Nature is relentless and unchangeable, and it is indifferent as to whether its hidden reasons and actions are understandable to man or not."

Galileo (16th century)

What does the research have to say?

Ann Intern Med (August 3, 2010).

Researchers divided 300 morbidly obese people with an average BMI of 36 into two-groups who followed two quite different food plans:

  1. Low-fat.
  2. Low-carb.

Both groups lost a similar amount of weight; 18kg over two years. But in every other respect the low-carb group did better; they experienced better blood pressure, diminished LDL cholesterol and triglycerides levels and, most important a raised beneficial HDL, astonishingly 23% higher.

Controversial banting, not dissimilar to Paleo meals, is based on very low carbohydrate and higher fat, but because bread is banned for ever it is often not sustainable.

Our modified banting favours rather cutting out all refined-carbohydrate, so bread made with 100% flour, and starches like butternut and new potatoes are allowed.

For the truly obese, strictly limiting even the good-carbs to under 50 grams per day for a season will be necessary.

Eggplant recipes

Formerly, the consequences of raised cholesterol were not understood but now the hidden benefits and actions of many foods are well understood, and behooves us to take note, or else nature is unforgiving. This very simple recipe, how to cook eggplant, is one of my favourites.

The eggplant / aubergine / brinjal fruit has a dramatic effect on the blood fats profile. Researchers in Brazil are trying to develop an extract to make into a drug, but isn't it more sensible to indulge in delicious foods that lower cholesterol naturally?

BABA GHANOUSH ... my favourite eggplant recipe; make it in ten minutes.

Copy and paste into Site Search above for more information.

Cholesterol and alcohol

The good news is that a glass of red wine a day reduces blood cholesterol. However, if you're a non-drinker, I wouldn't start with red wine. There are dangers associated with alcohol, just as there are with raised blood fats.

But if you do enjoy a sundowner then a little booze is part of the foods that lower cholesterol solution.

Remember though that there is strong research confirming that three or more drinks per day is a major cause of malignant stomach disease.

Statins in high risk prevention

Statins have been proven to reduce the risk of mortality among patients with a known history of cardiovascular illness.

However, there is no proven certainty that cholesterol lowering medication has a similar benefit in those high risk patients who are obese and smoke for example, or those who have no history of coronary heart disease.

Sound clinical trials were identified yielding data amongst sixty-five thousand patients during which time two thousand eight hundred deaths occurred.


This meta analysis of the available literature did not find any evidence concerning  the benefit of statin therapy on mortality in persons with no  prior history of coronary heart disease.

Archives of Internal Medicine, September 2010.

In short, there is no proven benefit of taking statins if you have no history of cardiovascular disease, even if your cholesterol is raised. That does not mean there is no necessity to get your levels within given norms, just that medication will not help prevent sudden death.

Exercise and cholesterol

And cholesterol is of course also reduced by exercise. Considering walking benefits is surely a better option than risking Erectile Dysfunction and tingling in arms and hands and legs, the other common side effect of statins.

Walking has 10 000 benefits. For women in fear of osteoporosis only? But which of us thought it would save men from the most awful of afflictions, loss of libido. A bicycle, the swimming pool but do choose something. It will help your back too, reduce the chance of causes of osteoporosis, less depression; there are incredible proven benefits of exercise in general, and  WALKING BENEFITS in particular.

  • Exercise and cholesterol ...

Oats every day

Unrefined oats is listed high up there amongst those foods that lower cholesterol; it is proven. If you love butter like I do, then you really have no option. Oats, I have it every day, like my back exercises, I NEVER miss. Just a cheap muesli will do; one without sugar. Of course add fruit in season and nuts. Add some boiling water and allow it to stand for five minutes.

If you are on a low carbohydrate diet, then just one or two tablespoons of oats is adequate. Honey interestingly does not cause an insulin rush; it is not fattening, but in moderation of course. Just one teaspoon. Raw honey if you can find it.

Taking a short ten minute walk after a starchy meal will prevent your blood glucose going into orbit.

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A healthy breakfast menu should include a whole grain like oats for example, and fruit and nuts.


Hummus is relatively high in nutritious fat because of the olive oil and sesame paste but, because of its high soluble fibre and sterols content, it is listed up there with the other super foods that lower cholesterol.

In any case, it is refined starches that raise cholesterol, not fat.

There is really no need to worry about the calories in hummus, and if you do, then make it yourself, but use less olive oil and a little water so it is not too stodgy. It only takes 4 minutes to make; of course, preparing the garbanzo beans or chickpeas takes a little longer.

Well, to be honest, you have to locate two ingredients that you will need. One is sesame seed, or sesame paste as it is called; the other is cumin. Read about it at our authentic hummus recipe page. 

You can buy chickpeas in cans but for a quarter of the price you will find that pressure cooking them is a breeze; it reduces the time from nearly two hours to twenty minutes; saving you time and the environment by using less energy. 

The garbanzo bean is the most popular legume in the whole world. It is no coincidence, and we too should be eating them regularly. They are a dirt cheap form of protein, and second on the list of super foods that lower cholesterol. 

There are many benefits from taking ten minutes to make hummus every week. They are high in fibre, and so your colon will bless you.  Substituting some of our red meat with plant protein reduces breast and prostate disease, the nastiest way to die.

Less cardiovascular disease, lower blood pressure and infrequent stroke. Need I go on?

Because the oils in hummus go rancid so quickly, food companies add large amounts of preservatives that ruin the flavour. Make your own, but not too much so you can finish it in three days.

Freeze the rest of your chickpeas; then they are ready for immediate use.

Personally, I make hummus twice a week, so easy. If you make it regularly, this canned vs dried chickpeas costing may be of interest. 

Corn in flower means you are in for a treat - all that fibre helps.

Red rice

Interesting research shows that red yeast rice is an alternative to medication for those who cannot take statins.


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Quick hummus

"Quick hummus" is high on the agenda amongst foods that lower cholesterol.

Use the Site Search function in the navigation bar above to find the links to those topics like these.

An authentic hummus recipe must contain chickpeas and tahini.


Fatty food has become something of a swear word in today's obese world, but the truth is that you cannot live without fat. Cut it out and you risk getting the serious neurological conditions like Lou Gehrig's disease.

Your nerves are coated with fat, and your brain is 60%. Few symptoms are more worrying that tingling in arms and hands and legs.

But get most of your fat from:

  • Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel.
  • Two fruits: the olive and the avocado.
  • Nuts, and especially the Walnut. Pecans are great but less rich in omega-3 than walnuts. 
  • Freshly ground linseed aka flaxseed. Just use a simple coffee grinder. Ground flaxseed vs oil ...
  • And butter is back.
  • Cold pressed nut oils like macadamia. 
  • Coconut oil but it is high in cholesterol.
Photograph of flax seed in a coffee grinder.

Shell your own pecans. Learn how; it is all about natural living. Wellness does not come out of a bottle from the wellness food store. Certainly it comes from whole, natural recipes that lower cholesterol; amongst a host of other things, of course. Body, mind and spirit are all important.


These are the foods that are high in Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acids and Omega-3. These are the fats that will keep you strong and alert. An important proviso:

Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely quickly oxidised (go rancid) and not only lose their omega-3 value but produce toxic breakdown products. Crack your own nuts wherever possible, grind your own flax seeds and buyer  beware with fish oil capsules.

High cholesterol?

EVERY week in your shopping basket...

  • Beans, lentils and especially garbanzo beans aka chickpeas.
  • Eggplant and fatty fish at least twice a week. Think mussels too occasionally.
  • Oats, fruit, and especially apples.  A big salad 4-5 times a week. HELENS 15 EURO SALAD ... it saved my life of misery from constipation.
  • Olives and avocado, olive oil.
  • Walnuts, almonds, nuts in general,
  • flax seed.

That, or pills, or a high risk of a stroke or heart attack. Take your pick. I find these foods delic, and we eat them EVERY WEEK. And hence, despite my addiction to butter and fatty meat, my total cholesterol is a paltry 164. Yours could be too without statin pills with all their nasty side effects.

What are normal cholesterol blood levels?

Surprisingly even the experts have not come to an agreement. Drug companies naturally want much lower normal levels, so they can promote their statins and their profits.

As a rule of thumb,

  • your total cholesterol should be lower than 200 (5.1). But if you are a smoker, and don't exercise, have a family history of heart disease, have high blood pressure... then perhaps 170 should be the goal.
  • Your LDL cholesterol should be below 100 (2.6).
  • Your HDL cholesterol (the protective one) should be above 50 (1.3).
  • Your triglycerides (from sugar and alcohol) should be less than 150 (1.7)

Why is HDL the good cholesterol?

HDL cholesterol extracts the plaque clogging your arteries and returns it to the liver where it is disposed as bile in the faeces. So you want to aim for HIGH values of HDL.

A high HDL cholesterol level (above 50 (1.3)) is strongly associated with lower heart disease and less atherosclerosis. Eat more walnuts, fish, exercise more, and yes you've heard it again and again, do not smoke. It will kill you, you know, about 10 years on average before your time.

Just after you retire; fourteen-years lost if you are obese and smoke. Blue Zone longevity is all about making sure you get to enjoy those hard-earned extra decades. Can you even begin to contemplate being alive and strong at ninety, or for ten-times as many to a hundred? It's all about foods that lower cholesterol naturally without the use of statins that may save your body, but with no mind.

Total cholesterol / HDL ratio

Statisticians, those people who run our lives!, have discovered that dividing your total cholesterol (hopefully less than 200) by the HDL cholesterol (more than 50) gives a very useful indicator of your risk profile. So 200/50 = 4. Anything BELOW 4 is good. Keep the 200 down, and the 50 up. Then you will have a good total cholesterol / HDL ratio.

Do it by enjoying foods that lower cholesterol naturally.

damn lies and Statins

In 2004 a panel of so-called medical experts recommended that the safe level of Low Density cholesterol should be reduced from 130 to 100 mg/dL, and for those at high risk of heart and blood vessel disease as low as 70.

Whether or not their recommendations have merit I am certain, but I do know that I will only do it with foods that lower cholesterol naturally. 

Conflict of interest

However, one newspaper did its homework and, guess what, most of the physicians involved in the decision to lower the level of safe cholesterol had a conflict of interest. Almost all of them had received honorariums or grants from the drug companies whilst involved in their research.

Worse, they did not disclose their financial involvement with the drug companies. Something stank in the State of Denmark; and many people are still taking statins unnecessarily.

Think rather of a change of lifestyle; increasing the fish in your diet, eating more salad and fruit, changing to olive oil; none of these are painful. Start taking a walk. An apple a day is still good advice. It is so simple; munch one on the way to work instead of swallowing a pill that could make you impotent.

Or risk, losing your libido and increasing the risk of erectile dysfunction; at least that is the Bernard Preston foods that lower cholesterol opinion.

Baking your own loaf and conducting bread experiments is another way to get whole grains and greater wellness; it's fun too and takes only five minutes each day.

The heart stroke diabetes (again, use the site search function) research confirms that nearly a half of these serious diseases are entirely due it dietary factors; like not enough seeds and whole grains.

So are eggs good or bad?

Tingling in arms and hands

Tingling in arms and hands is apparently one side effect of statins. Consider rather foods that lower cholesterol.


Hi. I have for the past 2 years had odd sensations of  aching and tingling in arms and hands. This is usually followed by a fuzzy type feeling which sometimes is felt in just the body but mostly affects my head as well. Almost like a want to faint kind of feeling. I usually feel quite ill after. Nauseous and just quite awful in general.

I have had numerous tests over the past couple of years and currently waiting to see a neurologist. Because I have osteoarthritis in parts of my spine, the doctors I have seen seem to think my condition stems from that.

All I know is that it scares the hell out of me at times and quite frankly I do not know how long I can put up with it. Attacks just occur wherever, whenever, but usually the worst ones are in the evening. It is almost a daily experience now and I have had enough. Any help would really be appreciated.

I replied making various suggestions, none of which included thoughts about a drug reaction.

Just received:

Hi. I have discovered that all of my symptoms have gone away; the reason? I am apparently allergic to Lipitor. I am on a different medication now and I feel a new person. Thanks.


All of the high fibre foods help to lower cholesterol; beetroot has the added benefit of supply copious amounts of iron, particularly important for the menstruating woman. Also, in my book it's top of the pops in dealing with constipation. Pickled beets recipes are really a piece of cake, if you can get fresh beetroot.

What is betaine you are probably asking? The phytochemical that helps prevent inflammation, always important to the DC and cardiologist; and their patients, of course. It's all about foods that lower cholesterol naturally.

Statins and dementia

The brain is nearly 60% fat. Do you get that? More than a half.

Researchers in a new study released in 2021 have found that those statins known as lipotrophic, attracted to fat, more than double the risk of developing dementia[2].

Don't foods that lower cholesterol make a lot more sense?

This incidentally is where our search for food for the brain took us.

And I assure you it's not light on fat, but includes many of those whole fruits and vegetables that supply the nutrition for the friendly bugs in our intestines; the ones that reduce inflammation and provide so many neurotransmitters that the colon is being called the second brain. Do you know how to make kefir?


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How is this relevant on our site?

Intermittent claudication is caused by a blocked artery in the groin.

Have you any idea how long this patient had been suffering with leg pain, and how many doctors he had consulted? Read this sample chapter from Stones in my Clog, my third book of Chiropractic anecdotes. Walk with me through the polders of Holland, and meet Mr Herveille, a man with a problem that no one could diagnose; severe pain in the right leg when he walked and cycled. 

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