5 Best Oatmeal Habits For Lowering Cholesterol, Dietitians Say – Eat This, Not That

Oatmeal is such a powerful food, rich in essential nutrients, like carbohydrates and fiber, and lending itself to a variety of different preparations. One of the health benefits of enjoying a daily bowl of rolled oats is the soluble fiber in this grain which can help lower blood cholesterol levels. This unique form of fiber is able to reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream, and current data suggests that just five to 10 grams or more of soluble fiber per day can help lower LDL cholesterol, which is considered the “bad” type that is more worrying for your health. While the versatility of your oatmeal is endless, let’s discuss the oatmeal habits you should adopt to help lower cholesterol.

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You may know some of the benefits of eating a few servings of fruit a day, such as vitamin and antioxidant content, but did you know that fruit also contains fiber? Most fruits provide insoluble fiber, the type that helps with digestive regularity, and some specific fruits also contain this cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber. Pears, berries, apricots, and apples are some of the fruits that contain soluble fiber, and all of them are easy to add to your bowl of oats!

Three-quarter cups of dry oats contain about three grams of soluble fiber, and adding a cup of any of these fruits to your bowl will boost your soluble fiber intake by at least one gram. When you’re trying to get at least 10 grams of soluble fiber a day, every gram counts.

pouring milk into a bowl of oats, fruits and nuts
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While some may choose to make their oatmeal with water, others enjoy the creaminess of oats made with milk. There are a few features to keep in mind when choosing a milk that will help you achieve your cholesterol lowering goals. If you prefer dairy milk, opt for 1% or skim to limit the amount of cholesterol you consume. While a cup of whole milk contains about 24 milligrams of cholesterol, 1% milk provides half and skim milk contains only 5 milligrams per cup.

You can also consider plant-based milk alternatives, such as soy, almond, or oatmeal, which won’t contain any milligrams of cholesterol. Choosing oat milk will provide an extra gram of soluble fiber per cup, which is a bonus; however, you will want to be careful of the added sugar content in any milk option. Many milk substitutes contain added sugar which can actually increase LDL blood levels.

peanut butter oatmeal
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Melted butter on a bowl of rolled oats. Sounds delicious, and maybe that’s the number of us who grew up eating oatmeal (with a spoonful…or two…of brown sugar), but this butter may work for your health goals again. . A tablespoon of butter contains about 30 milligrams of cholesterol.

While that may not seem like much, the recommendations suggest consuming no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day, and less may even be better for those with high cholesterol. So a tablespoon of butter and whole milk in your oatmeal can bring your breakfast just over 50 milligrams of cholesterol.

Instead of adding butter to your oats, opt for a healthier form of fat. Nut butter, such as almonds or peanuts, is a tasty option that provides heart-healthy fats. If you like salty oatmeal, try topping your oatmeal with a few slices of avocado.

oatmeal with apples
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Do you remember the brown sugar I just mentioned? Well, maybe it’s time to swap it out for a healthier alternative. Diets high in sugar can cause your body to produce more “bad” LDL cholesterol and lower levels of “good” HDL cholesterol. While a few tablespoons of sugar may not seem like much, the average American consumes 77 grams of sugar per day, more than three times the recommended intake for women.

It is best to reduce sugar intake as much as possible. Instead of topping your oatmeal with sugar, try using your fruit filling as a sweet addition to your bowl. If that’s not enough, a few tablespoons of no-sugar-added applesauce can satisfy your sweet tooth without aggravating cholesterol issues.

If none of these suggestions sound appealing, simply reduce the sugar you’re currently using. Try to cut sugar intake in half and give your taste buds some time to adjust before giving up the low-sugar oats. Sugar substitutes, such as stevia and monk fruit, can also be good options.

oatmeal with flax and chia seeds
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Flax, chia, and hemp seeds are great options for oatmeal fillings. All of these seed options are high in fiber and also contain soluble fiber. When combined with the soluble fiber in your oats and fruit, adding seeds can give you over five grams of soluble fiber in just one bowl of oats.

In addition to the fiber benefits, each of these seeds contains heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids that may be able to improve blood lipid levels. Plus, these seeds provide a few grams of protein per serving, a nutrient that should be part of every breakfast. While chia and hemp seeds can be easily digested and absorbed by your body, choose ground flax to help your body absorb most of its nutrients.

As you can see, there are many ways to make a heart-healthy bowl of oatmeal that can help lower your cholesterol levels. All it takes is a little creativity and a few extra ingredients to get the most out of your oats!

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