How “Purple Produce” Can Help Lower Cholesterol

September is Cholesterol Education Month, a great time to check on your HDL (good cholesterol) and LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. Permanente adult and family physician Jason Singh, MD, spoke with WTOP about how to manage your cholesterol and the tips for eating more “purple produce.”

“[HDL]is a level that you want to keep above 40,” Dr. Singh said. “And your HDL is interesting, it acts like a scavenger in your bloodstream and just gobbles up all the bad cholesterol and takes it back to the liver to process it out of the body.”

Dr. Singh explained that high cholesterol increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death in the United States.

“When you have excess cholesterol, this creates a buildup of fatty deposits called plaques. And that sticks to the walls of your arteries and impedes blood flow,” Dr. Singh explained.

For people looking to lower their cholesterol, Dr. Singh recommended adding more “purple produce” to their diet. His favorite choices are eggplants, red cabbage, blueberries and blackberries.

“The purple stuff is great for increasing your HDL and actually lowering your LDL and triglycerides and that lowers your overall risk for having any kind of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.”

Dr. Singh emphasized the importance of yearly checkups for overall health assessments and preventive screenings.

“It’s also important to go over with your physician what is a good diet and exercise habit,” he said.