Cheerios has been running commercials for years, touting how heart healthy their cereal is and how it lowers your cholesterol. It’s a genius move to sell boxes of rather ordinary cereal. But the message has been made clear, eating Cheerios is good for your heart.

Your heart, it’s literally what keeps you alive. Heart disease kills more than 600,000 Americans a year, or one in four deaths. Another 735,000 Americans suffer from heart attacks each year. The dangers of heart disease are real. If you can help prevent such disease, you’ll be doing your health a huge favor.

Cholesterol is one of the main reasons why heart disease is so prevalent. It clogs our heart’s arteries, causing poor blood flow to the heart. Lowering your cholesterol decreases this blockage, and one way that can be done is through an improved diet. Here’s twelve foods you can incorporate into your diet to help lower your cholesterol.

Red Wine

Wine drinkers rejoice! Red wine doesn’t just taste delicious, but it has medical benefits. High-fiber Tempranillo red grapes, used to make red wine, have an effect on LDL levels. A Spanish study discovered that consumption of the grape supplement found in wine decreased LDL levels anywhere from 9%-12%.

Salmon

Salmon is filled with Omega-3 fats, which have a strong reputation to help fight heart disease. If your diet is high in saturated fats, try to replace them with Omega-3 fats. These fatty acids can help lower your cholesterol as much as 4%.

Tea

Would you like a spot of tea? Tea has many health benefits, most notably cancer-fighting antioxidants. There are many different types of teas. Green, ginger, hibiscus, to name a few. Each of these different teas have different health benefits. One such benefit is black tea’s ability to lower your LDL cholesterol levels. Black tea has been proven to lower your blood lipids by up to 10% in just under a month.

Oats

Oats, the basis of Cheerio’s claim it can help you improve your heart health. In just six weeks, studies have demonstrated that two servings of oats a day can lower your LDL levels by 5%.

Chocolate

You don’t have to put down the chocolate! Yes, it’s true, chocolate is good for you. But not just any kind of chocolate. Dark chocolate has three times as many antioxidants as milk chocolate. So give your heart a hand by picking up some dark chocolate bars. This type of chocolate can increase HDL cholesterol levels (this is good) by 24% over three months.

Avocado

Have you ever heard that avocado’s are filled with “good fat?” It’s true, they’re a great source of monounsaturated fat. This type of fat can help raise your HDL cholesterol while lowering your LDL levels. Avocados also have a ton of beta-sitosterol, which is a plant-based fat that reduces the amount of cholesterol that’s absorbed.

Garlic

A clove of garlic not only keeps vampires away, but it can help keep your ticker going strong. Garlic has many health benefits, including reducing blood pressure and blood clots. But it can also help prevent cholesterol particles from building up in your artery walls.

If you’re looking to improve your health and reduce your risk for heart disease, your diet is a great start. By incorporating these seven foods into your daily diet, you’ll be doing your heart a big favor.

Image Courtesy of Monstruo Estudio

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