Low Cholesterol Food
While food low in cholesterol is important in a heart-healthy diet, saturated fat increases blood cholesterol more than cholesterol, so look for foods that are low in saturated fat and trans fat. Poultry and fish are low in cholesterol, but limit the total amount to 5 ounces or less per day. Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains have no cholesterol at all.
Walk down any aisle in the grocery store and you will see products labeled "no cholesterol" or "low cholesterol." What does this mean? In some respects, it is a marketing gimmick. In fact, stores could put a sign above the entire produce section that says "Cholesterol Free" because cholesterol is only found in products that originate from animals (see High Cholesterol Foods). Plant-based products have no cholesterol.
But keep in mind that eating food low cholesterol is just one part of the equation. Saturated fat actually increases blood cholesterol more than cholesterol itself, and food with trans fatty acids (trans fat) can also increase blood cholesterol. So while looking for low cholesterol food is important, it is also necessary to pay attention to foods that are low in saturated fat and trans fat.
Cholesterol-free food (food that comes from a plant) is the best "low cholesterol food." Foods that have no cholesterol and should be part of any low cholesterol diet include:
- Whole grains and legumes.
You should be eating at least 3 to 5 servings of fruits and vegetables and 6 to 11 servings of whole grains and legumes each day as part of a cholesterol lowering 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. Fruits and vegetables are great substitutes for foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol.
Breads; cereals; rice, pasta, and other grains; and 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 when looking for food low in cholesterol.