High Cholesterol Diet
When moving from a high cholesterol diet to a healthier eating plan, 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, people looking for something healthier should focus on:
- Eating more foods with no cholesterol (plant-based products)
- Cutting back on foods from animals
- Decreasing saturated fat and trans fat.
A high cholesterol diet can raise blood cholesterol. Therefore, you can decrease cholesterol by increasing the amount of foods you eat that don't have any. Foods that contain no cholesterol include:
- Whole grains and legumes.
You should be eating at least three to five servings of fruits and vegetables each day as part of a low cholesterol diet. Fruits and vegetables are low in saturated fat and total fat, and have no cholesterol. A diet high in fruit and vegetables may also help keep cholesterol levels low.
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 as part of a low cholesterol diet. You 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.
If you're moving from a high cholesterol diet to a diet to lower cholesterol, you need to eat more plant-based foods. The following are some suggestions for getting more plant-based foods into your diet:
- Buy fruits and vegetables to eat as snacks, desserts, salads, side dishes, and main dishes.
- Display fresh fruit in a bowl in the kitchen to make it easier to grab as a snack.
- Add a variety of vegetables to meat stews or casseroles, or make a vegetarian main dish.
- Wash and cut up raw vegetables (carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.) and store in the refrigerator for quick and easy use in cooking or snacking.
- Serve fresh fruit (banana, berries, melon, grapes, etc.) for dessert or freeze it for a delicious frozen treat.
- Keep naturally low-fat vegetables low in fat and saturated fat by seasoning with herbs, spices, lemon juice, vinegar, or fat-free or low-fat mayonnaise or salad dressing.
- Choose whole-grain breads and rolls more frequently. They have more fiber than white breads.
- 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 increases the saturated fat content.
- Use pasta and rice 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.