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If you’re looking for a delicious and healthy way to reduce your cholesterol, smoothies are a great option. In this article, we’ll share some of the best low cholesterol smoothie recipes and include some extra tips and tricks for reducing LDL cholesterol and raising HDL cholesterol.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy type of fat found in the bloodstream. It’s made by our bodies and also comes from food, specifically animal products like eggs, dairy, and meats. There are two main types of cholesterol – low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
LDL is known as bad cholesterol because it can build up in your arteries and cause health problems. This is the type of cholesterol that is measured when you hear you have “high cholesterol”. On the other hand, HDL is known as good cholesterol because it helps remove LDL from your arteries and transport it to your liver where it’s broken down and eliminated from your body.
How Can Smoothies Help Lower Cholesterol?
Smoothies can be a great way to reduce your cholesterol levels, as long as you use the right ingredients. Incorporating healthy fats and fiber into your diet can help lower LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL cholesterol.
Adding in foods like nuts, seeds, avocados, oats, and fruits can help raise HDL levels while providing essential nutrients for your body. Also, using plant-based proteins like nut butter and tofu instead of animal products is a great way to lower your cholesterol naturally.
The Best Smoothie Ingredients for Lowering Cholesterol
There are some foods that have been shown to help reduce cholesterol in the blood. Not all of them are good smoothie ingredients (I’m looking at you, salmon!). Here are the best healthy ingredients to use in smoothies, according to the Mayo Clinic:
- Oatmeal, whole grain oats and oat bran
- High fiber foods such as as kidney beans, Brussels sprouts, apples and pears
- Walnuts, flax seeds and organic canola oil (omega-3’s without fish)
- Almonds and other nuts
- Olive oil (yes, you can use it in smoothies!)
- Whey protein
The following ingredients for smoothies that are high in fiber are some favorites: acai berries, frozen or fresh strawberries, green apples, frozen or fresh blueberries, leafy greens, citrus fruits and other fresh fruit, and chia seeds.
Foods to Avoid
According to the Cleveland Clinic, here are the foods to avoid when trying to lower cholesterol (so don’t put these in your smoothie!):
- Full-fat dairy: Butter, whole milk, full-fat yogurt. For smoothies, use low fat dairy such as low or nonfat Greek yogurt or plant-based milk such as almond milk, soy milk or oat milk. You can also use orange juice or coconut water for a great smoothie.
- Red meat
- Processed meat
- Fried foods
- Cakes, cookies, donuts and other processed desserts. Make yours at home or have a dessert smoothie with cholesterol-lowering ingredients!
A Note about Eggs
Eggs got a bad reputation for a while because they contain dietary cholesterol. So, are they safe to consume? According to the Cleveland Clinic, “Eggs are high in protein, low in calories and contain B vitamins, iron and disease-fighting nutrients. If you do have to watch your cholesterol, stick to egg whites, which contain plenty of protein without any of the cholesterol.”
The Best Low Cholesterol Smoothie Recipes
Now that you know the basics about cholesterol and how smoothies can help, let’s get into some of our favorite low cholesterol healthy smoothie recipes:
1. Almond Butter and Banana Smoothie: This smoothie is packed with healthy fats from the almond butter, fiber and vitamin B-6 from the banana, and protein powder (bonus if you use whey protein).
2. Blueberry Avocado Smoothie: This green smoothie is made with fresh, avocado, almond milk, banana, blueberries and vanilla. It’s a great way to get in your daily dose of healthy fats and fiber, and blueberries are a great source of antioxidants such as vitamin C and disease-fighting phytochemicals.
3. Kale, Apple, and Flax Seed Smoothie: This smoothie is loaded with antioxidants from the kale and apples, as well as healthy fats from the flaxseeds.
4. Pumpkin Oatmeal Smoothie: This one is a favorite for its creamy texture and sweet taste. It’s made with pumpkin, oats, banana, almond milk and pumpkin pie spice for a delicious breakfast or snack.
5. Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie: This classic smoothie is made with peanut butter, banana, protein powder, dates and almond milk. It’s a great way to get in some healthy fats without sacrificing flavor.
Of course these are just a few of the wonderful smoothie recipes that can help heart health. We have many healthy recipes for smoothies, and green smoothies are a favorite!
Tips & Tricks For Lowering Cholesterol
In addition to making smoothies part of your diet, there are some other lifestyle changes you can make to help lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol:
- Get more physical activity. Exercise helps increase HDL levels in the body while also reducing stress. According to WebMD, exercise stimulates enzymes that help move LDL from the blood (and blood-vessel walls) to the liver. This helps your body to get rid of LDL.
- Quit smoking. According to Heart UK, “Smoking makes your LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) ‘stickier’ – so it clings to your artery walls and clogs them up. Smoking lowers your levels of HDL cholesterol (the good kind), which normally takes cholesterol away from the artery walls.”
- Lose excess weight. According to WebMD, “Losing weight can help with your cholesterol levels because it can reduce the amount of fat you have in your body and make you less likely to have inflammation. Losing weight and being more active can also reverse insulin resistance so your body is better able to regulate hormones and lipoproteins.”
- Eat more plant-based proteins. Eating foods like beans, nuts, seeds, and tofu instead of animal proteins can lower your cholesterol naturally. In 2017, after reviewing 49 studies that compared plant-based diets with omnivorous diets, researchers found that not only did plant-based diets lower cholesterol levels more effectively than other diets, but they also lowered total cholesterol and LDL levels when compared to omnivorous diets. typically reducing LDL levels by 15 to 30 percent, according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
- Avoid processed and fried foods. These types of food are high in trans fats and saturated fats, both of which can increase LDL levels. It’s best to bake, grill, or broil your food. If you really must have fried foods, try frying at home in healthier oils.
- Try taking supplements such as fish or krill oil. According to the Mayo Clinic, “There’s strong evidence that omega-3 fatty acids can significantly reduce blood triglyceride levels. There also appears to be a slight improvement in high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good”) cholesterol, although an increase in levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol also was observed.”
Health Benefits of Drinking Low Cholesterol Smoothies
- The benefits of drinking low cholesterol smoothies are numerous.
- First, they can help lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol naturally.
- They provide essential nutrients like fiber and healthy fats that the body needs for proper functioning.
- Additionally, they’re quick and easy to make and can be enjoyed as a snack or part of a meal. Finally, they’re a delicious way to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet.
Making low cholesterol smoothies part of your weekly routine can be a great way to improve your overall health and reduce your risk of heart disease. With the right ingredients and lifestyle changes, you can enjoy this delicious treat while also lowering your cholesterol levels naturally.
Final Thoughts on Low Cholesterol Smoothie Recipes
Smoothies are a great way to lower cholesterol and get in essential nutrients for your body. With just a few simple ingredients, you can create delicious smoothies that will help reduce LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL cholesterol. By incorporating these recipes into your diet and making other lifestyle changes like exercising more and quitting smoking, you can greatly reduce your risk of heart disease. Try these recipes today to get started on the road to better health!