If you've been told you have high cholesterol, you've probably also been told that you need to make changes to your diet. But is there a diet to lower cholesterol? Absolutely! Cholesterol comes from animal products, so by increasing the amount of beans, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables you eat and decreasing foods that come from animals (which are often high in saturated fat), you can see changes in your cholesterol levels in no time at all.
If you think this sounds overwhelming, don't worry! It's easier than you think to incorporate simple changes in your diet to lower cholesterol. Consider the following:
- Wash and cut up raw vegetables (carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, etc.) and store in the refrigerator for quick and easy use in cooking or snacking.
- Display fresh fruit in a bowl in the kitchen to make it easier to grab as a snack.
- Choose whole-grain breads and rolls more frequently. They have more fiber than white breads.
- Choose only the leanest meats, poultry, fish, and shellfish.
- Try substituting skim (fat-free) or low-fat (1 percent) milk and cheese and low-fat or nonfat yogurt.
These and other changes are not something you can do temporarily. If you want to avoid the many health problems that are associated with high cholesterol, you have to commit to a new, healthier lifestyle. Try and exercise more and lose those extra pounds you may also be carrying. Keep the end goal in mind -- if you don't always stick to your plan, that's okay. Just get right back to it at your very next meal.
(Click Low Cholesterol Diet for a detailed look at where cholesterol comes from, how to avoid it, and what it all means in terms of your health.)