Before you roll your eyes and grab a bagel, consider what you know or may not realize about oatmeal, arguably "the number one best breakfast to eat to lower your cholesterol,
"Oatmeal gives you the largest amount of soluble fiber per serving at three to four grams and has been shown in studies to help lower LDL cholesterol by almost 10% if eaten daily."
Soluble fiber, one of two types of dietary fiber, is water-soluble, meaning it soaks up water as it passes through your digestive system.
That increases the bulk of your stool, so you won't get constipated and, research suggests, decreases the so-called "bad" LDL cholesterol levels in your bloodstream.
The other fiber, insoluble fiber, goes through your intestines unchanged and helps with the digestive process, too. We need both types. The American Heart Association recommends
we get 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day from a variety of food sources but says the average American consumes only about 15 grams per day. A meta-analysis of 243 studies on dietary fiber
published that recommendation. It found a "very strong relationship" between higher fiber intake and such health benefits as lower body weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugars
as well as reduced risk of dying from heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and certain cancers.
"Breakfast is a perfect way to start the day out right, as you have an opportunity to choose many plant-based options [for fiber] to help lower LDL 'bad' cholesterol and raise HDL 'good' cholesterol,
Soluble fiber is found in the skin, peels, and husks of whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables." Simplifying breakfast with an easy-to-make bowl of hot oatmeal is a habit that reaps
huge health benefits, Ingram says. She suggests making the meal even better (and tastier) by topping your bowl with walnuts (they contain plant-based omega-3s) and blueberries, blackberries,
or strawberries (for more fiber and antioxidants). One small study found that people who ate just 3 grams of soluble fiber from oats twice daily experienced an 8% reduction in total cholesterol
and an 11% drop in LDL cholesterol in a 28-day period.