11. Eat a grapefruit every other day. Grapefruits are particularly high in pectin, a soluble fiber that can help reduce cholesterol levels. Grapefruits interfere with the absorption of several medications, however, so check with your doctor first. Other good sources of pectin include apples and berries.
12. Use honey in your tea instead of sugar, and honey instead of jam on PB&J sandwiches. A study from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates found total and LDL cholesterol levels dropped in healthy people after they drank a solution containing honey, but not after they drank solutions containing glucose or artificial honey. After 15 days of the honey drink, participants’ HDL levels rose and homocysteine levels dropped. Homocysteine is an amino acid linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease (reduced blood flow to the hands and feet).
13. Pop edamame as a snack. Just half a cup contains nearly 4 grams fiber, not to mention the soy isoflavones in these soybeans. Consumption of both has been linked to lower cholesterol. Edamame are now available in the frozen food section of the supermarket.
14. Pour soy milk over your morning cereal. A Spanish study of 40 men and women found that those who drank about two cups of soy milk a day for three months reduced their LDL cholesterol levels an average of eight points and increased their HDL levels an average of four points. Just make sure you buy soy milk fortified with calcium.
15. Whip up a batch of guacamole this evening. Several studies find that eating one avocado a day as part of a healthy diet can lower your LDL as much as 17 percent while raising your HDL.
16. Spend 10 minutes a day doing strength-training exercises. You don’t have to do these at a gym — push-ups, squats, leg lifts, hip extensions — they all count. And they count when it comes time to count your cholesterol levels: A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that strength training lowered total cholesterol 10 percent and LDL cholesterol 14 percent among women who worked out for 45-50 minutes three times a week. If you can’t manage that amount, start with 10 minutes a day, six days a week, and gradually work up.
17. Have a glass of purple grape juice every day. Rich in cholesterol-lowering flavonoids, grape juice is the perfect drink, particularly if you don’t like red wine.
18. Spread your bagel with Benecol, not butter. This cholesterol-lowering spread contains sterols, natural plant compounds that block your body’s absorption of the cholesterol in the foods you eat.