Foods naturally low in cholesterol include fish, oatmeal, nuts and olive oil. Additionally, foods that have been fortified with plant stanols or sterols help fight the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream.
Fish is naturally low in cholesterol. Fish has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been proven to reduce blood pressure and lower the chances of repeat heart attacks. Mackerel, salmon, albacore tuna, herring and lake trout all contain the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
Oatmeal is high in soluble fiber, which reduces the absorption of bad cholesterol into the bloodstream. Five to 10 grams of soluble fiber a day has been shown to reduce total and LDL cholesterol, so eating 2 cups of cooked oatmeal a day nearly meets that daily requirement.
Nuts are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, and eating about a handful a day may reduce cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. Similarly, a small addition of olive oil to the diet has heart-healthy benefits. Two tablespoons of antioxidant-rich olive oil a day may significantly reduce cholesterol levels, and greater reductions may be achieved by using extra-virgin olive oil that is less proceed and contains more antioxidants.
Finally, several foods are available that have been fortified with plant stanols or sterols, which have been proven to block the absorption of cholesterol. Yogurt drinks, margarine and orange juices containing plant stanols or sterols may help reduce LDL cholesterol by more than 10 percent.