Foods that could spike your cholesterol

And the 5 that help improve heart health

Black tea, can reduce cholesterol levels
Black tea, can reduce cholesterol levels

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Statins are a common drug used to treat cardiovascular disease.  But these go-to-drugs that work to lower cholesterol can have side effects.

David Foreman, known as "The Herbal Pharmacist," warns there are certain foods that can spike your cholesterol. Some brand themselves as being heart healthy.

"If you look closely at the label, though, you see that it says 'heart healthy when you follow a healthy lifestyle,'" explained Foreman, a retired pharmacist  who now uses his expertise to educate consumers. 

Foreman says a study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine confirms past findings that there is a link between taking Statin drugs and increasing diabetes risk, and says it also shows that there is an 87 percent likelihood of developing diabetes in relative healthy populations who had no previous risk factors for developing the disease.

"The Herbal Pharmacist" says because starches break down into suga,r the focus should be on avoiding foods that have a high glycemic load or on the net impact the food will have on your blood sugar and cholesterol levels. 

Here is his list of the worst culprits:

  • Baked Potato
  • Refined Breakfast Cereals
  • Couscous
  • Rice
  • French Fires
  • Pasta
  • Pretzels

Foods that can help lower your cholesterol:

Sip Black tea: Flavonoids found in black tea are a major source of antioxidants that prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol (that leads to plaque formation on artery walls). Studies show drinking black tea daily can reduce your blood cholesterol by up to 11 percent in as little as three months.

Veg Up: Results from a Stanford University study show that sticking to a plant-based diet rich in phytochemicals for just four weeks can reduce total LDL cholesterol faster than consuming a standard low-fat diet.

Beans, Beans Good for the Heart: The silly song is really true. Besides wheat bran,
there's actually no other food more fiber-rich than beans that are especially high in cholesterol lowering fiber. Eating 1 cup of any type of beans a day (especially kidney, navy, pinto, chickpea or butter beans) can lower cholesterol by as much as 10 percent in six weeks. Beans are a good protein replacement for
fatty meats and starchy foods.  Foreman says multiple studies prove that a specific white kidney bean extract called Phase 2 has been proven to help your body block up to 65 percent of unwanted starches without gastric distress.

Get More Garlic: It's the herb that has been used for thousands of years for heart health.  Ancient Egyptians may have eaten garlic for stamina but in modern times studies prove it can lower cholesterol, prevent blood clots and stop artery-clogging plaque at its earliest stage by keeping individual cholesterol particles from sticking to artery walls. Chop up garlic and toss on pizza, in soups or side
dishes, but if you have a big date make it easy on everyone and just take a garlic supplement.

Go Dark with Chocolate: Lowering cholesterol can also be a little indulgent especially if you splurge on dark or bittersweet chocolates. Compared to milk chocolate they have three times as many flavonoid antioxidants that work to keep blood platelets from sticking together, which may even help keep your arteries unclogged.  However you must part with your love for white chocolate, which has no flavonoids at all. 

About the Author: