Presse Santé

Cholesterol: foods rich in fiber that lower the rate

Soluble fiber, found in foods like oats, vegetables, and fruits, can help lower cholesterol. Cholesterol is a fatty substance created by the liver. Cholesterol also comes from eating animal products, such as dairy and meat. The body needs a certain amount of cholesterol to function properly. However, excess cholesterol can cause health problems.

There are two types of cholesterol:

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol: People call LDL cholesterol the “bad” cholesterol because high levels of LDL cholesterol can build up in the arteries and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol: HDL is the “good” cholesterol because it carries LDL cholesterol out of the arteries and back to the liver, where the body can remove it. Higher HDL cholesterol may help protect against cardiovascular disease.
This article discusses the effects of fiber on LDL and HDL cholesterol levels, the most appropriate type of fiber, and the foods that can help improve cholesterol levels.

Does eating fiber reduce cholesterol levels?

Certain types of fiber can help lower cholesterol levels. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber includes certain fruits, vegetables, oats, and legumes. Insoluble fiber includes whole foods, nuts, and seeds. According to a 2019 study, soluble fiber helps lower blood cholesterol. Soluble fiber helps absorb cholesterol, which reduces the amount of cholesterol absorbed by the liver and increases the amount of cholesterol excreted from the body.

Bacteria in the large intestine ferment soluble fiber into short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Adding SCFA to the intestine also helps lower cholesterol. If people take statins to lower cholesterol, adding soluble fiber to their diet can also make statins twice as effective.

Although insoluble fiber does not have the same cholesterol-lowering effects as soluble fiber, it does have many health benefits, including:

promote good digestion
bind to toxins to remove them from the body
reduce the feeling of hunger after a meal
They can reduce the risk of certain diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

Foods to lower cholesterol

There are a number of high-fiber foods that a person can try to eat to help control their cholesterol levels as part of a balanced diet, including:


Oats are rich in a type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan. Beta-glucan may have beneficial effects in lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol and reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. Daily consumption of 70 grams (g) of oats, which contain 3 g of soluble fiber, resulted in a reduction in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.

Foods rich in soluble fiber

Other foods high in soluble fiber can help lower blood cholesterol levels, including:

legumes, such as beans and lentils

flax seeds

Whole or ground flaxseeds and flaxseed lignans may help Safe Source to lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, especially in people with high cholesterol and in women (especially postmenopausal women). However, flaxseed oil does not appear to have any cholesterol-lowering effect.


A 2021 review found strong evidence that tomatoes can help lower LDL cholesterol. Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene. Research suggests that 25 milligrams (mg) of lycopene can help lower total cholesterol by about 8 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).

Almonds and other nuts

Almonds have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol levels. Walnuts and hazelnuts may also have mild to moderate cholesterol-lowering effects.


Avocados may have a moderate to strong effect on lowering LDL cholesterol. Avocados are high in monounsaturated fatty acids that can help raise HDL cholesterol levels, which can benefit cardiovascular health.

Olive oil

Olive oil is a key part of the Mediterranean diet and may have beneficial effects on cholesterol levels. According to a study published in the journal Circulation of the American Heart Association (AHA), a traditional Mediterranean diet containing virgin olive oil may have beneficial effects on HDL cholesterol and protection against plaque formation in the arteries.

Foods that contain phytosterols

Foods that contain plant sterols or stanols, or phytosterols, can cause a moderate reduction in LDL cholesterol.

Phytosterols are found in foods of plant origin, including:

vegetable oils and margarine
the nuts
the cereals

Some phytosterol-fortified foods may include:

fat spreads and margarine
dairy products, such as yogurt, milk, and yogurt drinks
Food supplements
Consuming a minimum of 2 g of phytosterols per day, in addition to a healthy diet, can help people control high cholesterol. It is most effective to consume phytosterols twice a day with a main meal.

soy products

Soy products may have a slight effect on cholesterol levels. Some research suggests that consuming soy protein may help reduce total cholesterol and risk factors related to high LDL levels.

Can fiber supplements help lower cholesterol?

According to a 2017 study, fiber supplements are not as beneficial to health as a high-fiber diet. Only specific fiber supplements can help improve cholesterol. Those that contain gelling fiber, such as psyllium or beta-glucan, may be effective in lowering high cholesterol. Gelling fiber may also help control blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.

Fiber supplements that contain insoluble fiber or non-gelling fiber do not have the same benefits. This includes:

wheat dextrin
wheat bran

Other ways to lower cholesterol

Other measures can help reduce cholesterol levels:

limiting intake of saturated and trans fats, and replacing them with unsaturated fats, such as olive oil
increasing physical activity, especially aerobic and resistance exercise, which raise HDL cholesterol
maintain a healthy weight, to lower LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol
limit alcohol intake, which can increase triglyceride levels and risk of heart disease
avoid smoking, as it can lower HDL levels and increase plaque buildup in the arteries
take medications if needed to lower cholesterol, such as statins.
Unfiltered coffee can raise cholesterol levels, choose filtered or decaffeinated coffee instead.


High LDL cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Soluble fiber can help the body absorb and eliminate “bad” cholesterol and can lower total and LDL cholesterol levels. Foods rich in soluble fiber include oats, barley, legumes, and many fruits and vegetables. A high-fiber diet may be more beneficial to your health than fiber supplements, although supplements containing psyllium or beta-glucan may be helpful.

* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO EVENT can the information provided be a substitute for the advice of a healthcare professional.

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