Diet to Lower Cholesterol
Following a diet to lower cholesterol is a common lifestyle change recommended for people with high cholesterol. Such a diet features more plant-based products -- such as fruits and whole grains -- while cutting back on animal-based products and other fats. While a diet to lower cholesterol obviously calls for a reduction in dietary cholesterol, it also means reducing saturated fats and trans fat.
Medical experts recommend a diet to lower cholesterol in order to lower or maintain cholesterol levels. Following a such a diet means adhering to an eating plan that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol. A diet to lower cholesterol should meet the following guidelines:
- Saturated fat intake -- Less than 7 percent of daily calories
- Total fat intake -- Approximately 25 to 35 percent of the day's total calories
- Dietary cholesterol -- Less than 200 mg per day
- Salt intake -- Less than 2,400 mg per day.
This diet also promotes:
- Eating only enough calories to maintain a healthy weight
- Increasing the amount of soluble fiber in your diet from sources such as oatmeal, kidney beans, and apples
- Adding cholesterol-lowering foods to your diet, such as margarines containing plant stanols or plant sterols.
When considering a low cholesterol diet, there are two important factors in keep in mind:
- Cholesterol is only found in animal-based foods, such as meats and dairy products
- Certain fats have also been shown to increase cholesterol, regardless of whether they came from an animal.
Given these factors, a low cholesterol diet should focus on:
- Eating more foods with no cholesterol (plant-based products)
- Cutting back on foods from animals
- Reducing saturated fat and trans fats.