Cholesterol Lowering Diet
Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes are important parts of a diet to lower cholesterol, with reduced amounts of animal-based products (such as meat, poultry, egg yolks, and dairy products). There is also a focus on reducing saturated fats and trans fat. If you are following this kind of diet, no more than 7 percent of your daily caloric intake should come from saturated fat.
Dietary changes are usually one of the first things recommended for people with high cholesterol. These eating plans are low in saturated fat and low in cholesterol. A cholesterol lowering diet should meet the following criteria:
- Total fat intake -- 25 to 35 percent of the day's total calories
- Saturated fat intake -- Less than 7 percent of daily calories
- Dietary cholesterol -- Less than 200 mg per day
- Salt intake -- Less than 2,400 mg per day.
Following this diet also means:
- Eating only enough calories to maintain a healthy weight
- Increasing the amount of soluble fiber in your diet from sources such as kidney beans, apples, and oatmeal
- Adding cholesterol lowering foods to your diet (such as margarines containing plant stanols or plant sterols).
When considering a diet to lower cholesterol, there are two important factors to remember:
- Cholesterol is only found in animal-based foods (such as meats and dairy products)
- Certain fats have also been shown to increase cholesterol, whether or not they came from an animal.
Given these factors, a diet to decrease cholesterol should call for:
- Eating more foods with no cholesterol (plant-based products)
- Cutting back on foods from animals
- Decreasing saturated fat and trans fat intake.