Low Cholesterol Diet
A diet to lower cholesterol should focus on increasing plant-based products -- such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes -- while cutting back on animal-based products and certain fats, such as saturated fats and trans fats. A person on a low cholesterol diet should be eating at least three to five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
Health experts recommend a low cholesterol diet in order to lower or maintain cholesterol levels. Such a diet emphasizes an eating plan low in saturated fat and cholesterol. In most cases, this diet should meet the following criteria:
- Saturated fat intake -- Less than 7 percent of daily calories
- Total fat intake -- Approximately 25 to 35 percent of the day's total calories
- Salt intake -- Less than 2,400 mg per day
- Dietary cholesterol -- Less than 200 mg per day.
A diet to lower cholesterol 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 plan, there are two important factors to 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, you can lower cholesterol in your diet by:
- Eating more foods with no cholesterol (plant-based products)
- Cutting back on foods from animals
- Decreasing saturated fat and trans fat.