If you received some less than comforting news about your cholesterol levels and are looking for ways to bring your cholesterol under control, the first thing to know is that this does not mean that you can never again eat your favorite foods or that you have to completely cut fat or animal products like dairy and meat out of your diet. At the same time, this does mean that you may need to limit your intake if you are a fan of red meat and full-fat dairy products.
To get the painful part out of the way right up front, here is a list of the foods you will likely want to avoid – or at least limit – in your diet as you work to lower your cholesterol:
• Full-fat dairy products
• Red meat
• Egg yolks
• Coconut oil and palm oil (any vegetable oil that is solid when at room temperature)
Some foods that are particularly high in cholesterol and should only be enjoyed on very rare occasions include goose, duck and organ meats, such as liver and kidney. Folks with high cholesterol would do best by avoiding animal products, but if you are a meat lover and cannot see yourself giving up things like steak and pork chops, you can partake in a bit of harm reduction by trimming visible fat and eating smaller portions. If you are watching your cholesterol, it is also a good idea to remove the skin when cooking chicken and other poultry, and to opt for low-fat dairy products.
As you focus on eating a low cholesterol diet, here are some examples of low cholesterol foods to include:
• Fat-free and low-fat dairy products
• Non-hydrogenated cooking oils, such as olive oil or canola oil • Vegetables
• Whole grain breads and pastas
• Egg whites
To take it a step farther, you should also consider including foods in your diet that can actually lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. This includes:
• Small amounts of almonds, pistachios and walnuts
• Olive oil
• Grape juice
• Pomegranate juice
• Whole grains
Beans, whole grains and apples are all examples of foods that are high in soluble fiber, which lowers cholesterol by binding with some of it and not allowing it to be absorbed by the body. As you can see, the recommended diet for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is essentially the same diet recommended by experts as part of an overall healthy lifestyle. A varied diet that is based on whole grains, vegetables, fruits and low-fat sources of protein and calcium has proven to reduce the risk of a variety of health concerns, high cholesterol being just one of them.