Anti-Inflammatory Foods May Lower Cholesterol

Did you know that nearly 98 million adults in the United States have high cholesterol? In addition, heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death in the United States. For decades, physicians recommended low-fat diets without considering the effect of overall nutrition on cholesterol. However, current research suggests taking a more comprehensive approach that focuses on an anti-inflammatory diet.

When you think about anti-inflammatory nutrition, the best place to start is with a Mediterranean-style diet. This is because Mediterranean diets feature many of the nutritional factors that influence heart health. The benefit of eating a Mediterranean diet is that you get access to anti-inflammatory foods that can raise your good cholesterol and lower your bad cholesterol. Because weight loss plays a role in lowering cholesterol, you should target your calorie intake to around 1,200 and 2,000 calories a day.

Why is the Anti-Inflammatory Diet Good for High Cholesterol?

Long-term inflammation can cause your body to break down. Inflammation in our bodies contributes to high cholesterol levels which increases the risk of heart disease. While cholesterol levels are influenced by genetics, diet, and exercise play a crucial role.

The Mediterranean diet includes anti-inflammatory foods that help improve blood flow, reduce plaque, and thus in turn lower the risk of heart disease. Additionally, this diet focuses on fiber-packed plant-based foods like beans, lentils, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. A diet high in fiber has been shown to reduce bad cholesterol and improve good cholesterol.

To benefit from an anti-inflammatory diet, eat more of the following foods:

  • Avocado
  • Olives and olive oil
  • Fish, especially salmon, tuna, pollock, sardines, and halibut
  • Beans and lentils
  • Leafy greens
  • Fruit, especially blue, purple, and red fruits (pomegranate, cherries, and berries)
  • Beets
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Tomatoes
  • Garlic and onions
  • Spices and herbs
  • Whole grains (quinoa, whole-wheat, oats, bulgur)
Refresh your routine this winter with some of these simple, one-pot meals. These recipes focus on lean meats, fish and plant-based protein sources, fresh veggies, whole grains, and healthy fats, like olive oil, so you know they’ll fit into a Mediterranean diet. These recipes will help you reap the benefits of following the Mediterranean diet.

If you have additional questions about anti-inflammatory foods, please feel free to ask any of the physicians at Washington Wellness Center. For additional information and research, please visit