Oats have long been considered an important part of a heart-healthy diet. According to a review of studies published in the British Journal of Nutrition, oats contain a compound called beta-glucan that can help lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol.
An earlier study in Nutrition Review concluded that the daily consumption of oat is associated with a 7% reduction in LDL cholesterol and a 5% reduction in total cholesterol.
Studies suggest that oats may also help reduce levels of apolipoprotein B (apoB), a type of protein commonly linked to the formation of plaque.
4. Dark Chocolate
Studies have shown that cacao (made from unroasted cacao beans) can help keep cholesterol levels in check and lower the risk of heart disease. These benefits are linked to a group of plant-based compounds called flavonoids.
Dark chocolate contains higher concentrations of cacao and, in turn, higher concentrations of flavonoids. Dark chocolates that contain at least 60% cacao are thought to be the most beneficial in the prevention of heart disease.
A 2019 review of studies concluded that eating 45 grams of dark chocolate every week significantly reduced the risk of heart disease. Eating more than 100 grams per week negated the benefits due to the substantially higher sugar intake.