Diet Tips for Cholesterol

Diet Recommended for Cholesterol

A diet recommended for cholesterol contains several foods that will help to reduce your levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) – commonly known as the ‘bad’ cholesterol.

Start your day off right with a bowl of oatmeal or oat bran. These healthy breakfast options contain soluble fibers that reduce LDL cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber brings together bile and dietary cholesterol, which your body then excretes.

Foods containing Omega-3 fatty acids should be included in a diet recommended for cholesterol. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol levels as well as reduce blood pressure and risk of blood clots. High levels of Omega-3 fatty acids are found in salmon, herring, lake trout, mackerel, sardines, and albacore tuna. Your diet should contain two servings of these types of fish per week, and should be baked or grilled for maximum heart-healthy benefits.

Soy products should also be considered for a diet for cholesterol. Studies have shown that soy products can slightly reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Be cautious of the soy products you consume, because not all of them are healthy for you. If the product’s label contains “soy protein” it likely means the soy is heavily processed and the nutrients are removed. Soy products to consume are tofu, fresh soy milk, and edamame beans. For more info on soy products, read this article.

If you like to snack, walnuts and almonds can be a part of a diet recommended for cholesterol. Both of these nuts are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which can reduce blood cholesterol. Walnuts and almonds should be eaten in moderation however, as both are high in calories.

Other good foods to eat in a diet recommended for cholesterol include apples, Brussels sprouts, kidney beans, and pears.

Foods for a Low Cholesterol Diet

There are several options you should consider when purchasing foods for a low cholesterol diet.

Margarine is generally superior to butter when you’re shopping for foods for a low cholesterol diet. Margarine is made from vegetable oil and contains no cholesterol. It is also higher in polyunsaturated and unsaturated fats that help to reduce LDL in the body. By comparison, butter is high in saturated fat that will actually increase your LDL cholesterol. Be sure to look for a margarine that is non-hydrogenated, a process that adds trans fats to the product. Trans fats reduce the amount of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) – the ‘good’ cholesterol – in your body.  If you’re eating foods for a low cholesterol diet, look for margarine with the lowest trans fat content and less than 3 grams of trans and saturated fats.

If eggs are part of your diet, they should be eaten only in moderation. They are high in cholesterol, but there is some debate as to whether eggs should be avoided or not. Some diets, such as the South Beach diet, maintain that eggs raise HDL cholesterol. Egg yolks contain approximately 210 milligrams of cholesterol, a large percentage of the daily-recommended total cholesterol consumption of 300 mg. Another option when eating foods for a low cholesterol diet is to eat egg whites, which contain no cholesterol.

A recent addition to the list of foods for a low cholesterol diet is noni juice. Made from a fruit grown in the Asia-Pacific region, noni juice has been identified as a product that can reduce cholesterol levels. However, studies into the juice have yet to be proven by peer review.

When you hit the grocery stores, purchase foods for a low cholesterol diet, and you’ll feel healthier every day.

A Cholesterol Diet Needs TLC

Switching to a low cholesterol diet will provide you with many health benefits above and beyond lower cholesterol. Once you reach the age of 20, you should monitor your cholesterol levels on a regular basis, making sure your LDL levels remain low, and stick to a low cholesterol diet.

The Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) diet was introduced by the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) in 2001 and has been endorsed by the American Heart Association (AHA). Amongst its recommendations are 3-5 servings of vegetables a day, 2-4 servings of fruit per day, less than two egg yolks per week, and less than 5 ounces a day of lean meat, fish, or other alternatives.

Combining several heart healthy foods as part of a low cholesterol diet can reduce cholesterol by 20 percent, comparable to the results achieved when taking a statin (a cholesterol-lowering drug.)  Foods that have been shown to reduce cholesterol include soy, soluble fiber, fruits and vegetables, nuts, and plant sterols.

Other tips for a low cholesterol diet:

  • Choose the leanest cuts possible for meats, poultry, and fish. Do not eat the skin on chicken or turkey.
  • The white meat in chicken contains less saturated fat than dark meat.
  • Fish is lower in cholesterol than most other meats.
  • If you enjoy eggs but are concerned about the cholesterol levels, try egg whites or egg substitutes instead.
  • Purchase fat free or 1 percent milk, or consider trying soy milk.
  • If you have a sweet tooth and are following a low cholesterol diet, opt for low fat frozen desserts such as sorbet, popsicles, and low-fat frozen yogurt.

It is important that with any low cholesterol diet, you eat in moderation in order to maintain a healthy weight.