There are essentially two types of cholesterol: good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. The good version actually helps combat bad cholesterol, which then prevents plaque formation in your arteries.
Bad cholesterol, called Low Density Lipo Protein (LDL) is caused by saturated fats (for example butter), while good cholesterol is tied to unsaturated fats (like olive oil). Your liver uses saturated fats to make cholesterol. Sources of these bad fats you should avoid or limit are whole milk, cream, butter, cheese, meats (beef, lamb, pork) and palm kernel oil, coconut oil and vegetable shortening.
Certain foods are known to decrease bad cholesterol, and increase the good stuff. Here and in the next articles you can find a rundown of the top cholesterol fighting foods. These are all foods you can actually feel good about eating!
Soy can be used as a replacement to meats and cheese, which then cuts your exposure to saturated fats you find in those food items. Soy also contains compounds called isoflavones, which have been found to reduce LDL. There are many soy products on the market today, such as Tofu, Soy Milk, and meat alternatives such as sausages, breaded cutlets and nuggets. They are fairly close in taste to real chicken, and are generally considered to be very tasty. Especially the soy-ground beef I can personally recommend for lasagna or casseroles.
To actively lower bad cholesterol you should consume around 25 grams of soy every day.
Beans are rich in fiber, especially soluble fiber which lowers cholesterol. Beans that are especially good are kidney, navy, pinto, black beans or chickpeas. These beans can do a marvelous job of lowering cholesterol, by as much as 10% in six weeks!
The fiber binds the cholesterol in your intestine, which then prevents absorption in your body. Other sources of these fibers are oats and oat bran, barley, apples, carrots and brown rice.