Increasing intake of soluble fiber and omega-3 fatty acids that boost HDL cholesterol and substituting foods that have saturated fats with nuts are among the best ways to lower LDL cholesterol levels through changes to the diet, according to Mayo Clinic. Combining these changes with exercise works even more quickly.
Oatmeal is one of the best sources of soluble fiber although apples, barley, pears, kidney beans and prunes also contain a great deal of this cholesterol fighter, as stated by Mayo Clinic. Ingesting soluble fiber slows the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream. Simply eating 5 to 10 grams each day cuts total and LDL cholesterol levels, and 1 1/2 cups of oatmeal provides 6 grams all by itself.
The omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish have a number of benefits for the heart, including a drop in blood pressure and a reduced risk of blood clotting, notes Mayo Clinic. Baking or grilling fish, such as salmon, mackerel, halibut and albacore tuna, maximizes the health benefit. These foods add HDL cholesterol to the bloodstream, which absorbs the LDL cholesterol and takes it to the liver for processing and elimination.
Almonds, walnuts and other nuts can help drop LDL cholesterol levels, states Mayo Clinic. Eating just a handful each day can help cut the danger of heart disease as long as the nuts are not salted or covered with sugar. More than a handful elevates caloric content too high, so limit consumption. One way to add them to one's diet is to replace croutons, meat or cheese in a salad with almonds or walnuts.