Cholesterol Lowering Diet
Obviously, foods high in cholesterol can raise blood cholesterol. Therefore, begin your low cholesterol diet by increasing the amount of foods you eat that have no cholesterol. Cholesterol-free foods that should be part of your diet include:
- Legumes and whole grains.
People on a cholesterol lowering diet should be eating at least three to five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Fruits and vegetables are low in saturated fat and total fat, and have no cholesterol. These are great substitutes for foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol.
Breads, cereals, rice, pasta, and other grains -- as well as dry beans and peas -- are generally high in starch and fiber and low in saturated fat and calories. They also have no dietary cholesterol, except for some bakery breads and sweet bread products made with high-fat, high-cholesterol milk, butter, and eggs. Like fruits and vegetables, naturally low-fat, low-cholesterol breads and other foods in this group are also good choices. People following this type of eating plan should be eating 6 to 11 servings of foods from this group each day.
If you have high triglycerides and/or low HDL, you should keep your carbohydrate intake below the maximum of 60 percent of total calories. You can choose a diet up to 35 percent fat, substituting unsaturated fat for saturated fat.
Consider the following suggestions for incorporating plant-based foods into a cholesterol lowering diet:
- Purchase fruits and vegetables to eat as snacks, desserts, salads, side dishes, and main dishes.
- Wash and cut up raw vegetables (carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.) and store in the refrigerator for quick and easy use in cooking or snacking.
- Add a variety of vegetables to meat stews or casseroles, or make a vegetarian main dish.
- Serve fresh fruit (banana, berries, melon, grapes, etc.) for dessert or freeze it for a delicious frozen treat.
- Display fresh fruit in a bowl in the kitchen to make it easier to grab as a snack.
- To keep naturally low-fat vegetables low in fat and saturated fat, season with herbs, spices, lemon juice, vinegar, or fat-free or low-fat mayonnaise or salad dressing.
- Buy dry cereals, most of which are low in fat. Limit the high-fat granola, muesli, and oat bran varieties that are made with coconut or coconut oil and nuts, which increase the saturated fat content.
- Choose whole-grain breads and rolls more frequently. They have more fiber than white breads.
- Buy pasta and rice to use as entrées. Hold the high-fat sauces (butter, cheese, cream, white, etc.).
- Limit sweet baked goods that are made with lots of saturated fat -- mostly from butter, eggs, and whole milk -- such as croissants, pastries, muffins, biscuits, butter rolls, and doughnuts. These are also high in cholesterol.