"Good Morning America" medical editor Dr. Marie Savard tells you the five super foods you can eat to dramatically lower your cholesterol -- by as much as 30 percent. Check out what they are below and see her advice on lowering your cholesterol.
A Handful of Nuts Each Day
Nuts -- like almonds, walnuts, peanuts and pecans -- can reduce cholesterol, along with blood sugar and insulin.
They're also full of fiber and anti-oxidants that fight cancer. You should eat a handful of nuts a day. And don't worry about your waistline. Studies show nuts actually help shrink your waistline; they have a good kind of fat.
Food rich in fiber, like fruits, vegetables and whole grains, help control cholesterol. Fiber absorbs the bad cholesterol in your body like a sponge. You should eat a bowl of oatmeal a day, or about 6 ounces of eggplant. You can also eat apples and pears and broccoli. They all have the same effect.
Take Fiber Supplements
Just as fibers in food absorb all that bad cholesterol in your body, fiber supplements, like Metamucil and Citrucel, do the same thing. The more you take, the more effect it has on lowering your cholesterol. So, you should take three doses a day, one before each meal. You also can eat psyllium-enriched cereal. It will also keep your digestive system working well.
Replace Some Meat With Soy
Start replacing some of the meat you eat with soy. Eat a veggie burger instead of a hamburger, or use ground soy instead of ground beef. You should eat about two ounces of soy a day. That's about the typical soy burger, or you can drink soy milk or eat edamame, Japanese baby soy beans.
Eat Plant Stanol Spreads
This may be something you haven't heard a lot about, but you need to incorporate plant stanols into your diet. It is proven to lower your bad cholesterol. Plant stanols alone can lower your LDL cholesterol by as much as 15 percent.
So, instead of butter, use Benecol, Puritan or another plant stanol spread. And you should use about four grams a day.
All or Nothing?
It's not all or nothing. Just using plant stanols can lower cholesterol by 15 percent. The more you do, the greater effect it will have. But it will be helpful to incorporate any of these foods into your diet.
This is like using food as medicine. So, the higher the dose, or the more of these foods you eat, the more you can knock down your cholesterol level. And if you really change your diet, you can get your cholesterol down as much as you would with that pill or that statin.