So your your doctor has warned you that your cholesterol levels are too high and you need to make a change to your eating habits.
But you may be unaware of what kind of foods will help you lower your cholesterol levels.
Don’t worry. It’s not as hard to develop a good diet for high cholesterol as you may think. In fact,you can find lots of different resources: books, magazines, newspapers, TV and of course, the Internet..
But be aware that starting a good diet for high cholesterol is no big deal. The hard part of adopting a good diet for high cholesterol is staying with it and not regressing to the diet we’re accustomed to – which is to say – no diet at all.
Changing to a low cholesterol diet is the real challenge. But it’s important to try because cholesterol health matters. It may even save your life. Here’s why.
When you eat foods that contribute to high cholesterol, you boost your risk of developing conditions like atherosclerosis, high blood pressure and heart disease, along with a variety of other diseases and disorders. These conditions can lower your longevity along with your quality of life.
There’s no question that it’s tough to “be good” when you’re bombarded by ceaseless commercial messages everyday inviting you to “slip.” But once you dedicate yourself to lowering your cholesterol, you’ll be pleased to find out that lots of healthy foods taste pretty good after all.
Before looking at specific foods, let’s take a look at four different kinds of fats that come in most of the food we eat. This is important. When you know which fats are good and which fats are bad, you can pick foods that are good and stay away from those that aren’t. It might surprise you to know that not all fats are bad. In fact, there are some that are actually good for you.
What are considered bad fats?
Saturated fats – You find these in red meat, coconut oil, palm oil etc .
Trans fats – This is the type of fat you get in some of our favorite foods like baked goods (cake, muffins, doughnuts, croissants etc.). Trans fats are also used frequently in fast food restaurants, especially the ones that feature french fries. Many foods that come in a cardboard box or a plastic wrapper contain excessive amounts of trans fats (along withlots of salt).
Good fats include:
Polyunsaturated fats – These come from vegetable oils & fish oils. They help reduce cholesterol when consumed moderately.
Monounsaturated fats – This type comes from sunflower seeds, peanuts, olive oil, etc. They actually help reduce cholesterol levels.
Here are some low-cholesterol or no-cholesterol examples.
- Most fruits and vegetables. Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries are especially good and can even substitute for a dessert instead of sweets
- Several different kinds of nuts, especially almonds and walnuts. These make great snacks you can pop in your mouth anytime. Don’t overdo them though, because some are fairly high in calories.)
- Oat bran or oatmeal, certain cooked beans like pinto beans, kidney beans, and garbanzo beans or chick peas
- Soy, which comes from from tofu, tempeh, soymilk, roasted soy nuts
- Some types of fish are great cholesterol fighters. Some of the best are albacore tuna, herring, lake trout, mackerel, sardines and salmon. These are rich in omaga-3, which is a valuable,cholesterol-lowering fatty acid. Fish also provides a lot of low calorie protein.
Low cholesterol diet
Planning a low cholesterol diet means you have to get smart when you shop. You do it by carefully reading information on the labels of foods you buy – especially if it is prepackaged.
Unfortunately, many people avoid eating a good diet for high cholesterol because they mistakenly think it will be tasteless and boring. But when you really take a look at all the healthy – and tasty – options a low cholesterol diet offers, you’ll find it can be a lot more interesting than you probably thought.