Tips for a Heart Healthy Low Cholesterol Diet

Reducing your cholesterol can be a huge step in decreasing your risks of health complications like heart disease.

General Tips Saturated fats should be avoided or reduced, and trans fats should be cut out if possible. Fats are high in calories, but you don't need to scrutinize your diet by counting calories. Instead, work toward phasing out calorie-heavy foods and replacing them with healthier alternatives.

  • Switch from regular soda to diet soda

  • Use skim milk instead of whole or reduced fat

  • Replace lard or butter with low fat butter substitutes

  • Switch to "lite" foods

Buy smaller portions. Today foods are sold in increasingly larger sizes, and you may not realize that you are eating more than you need. Though it may be hard to resist the temping 2-for-1 deals at the grocery store, buying smaller portions can help you control your calories.

The Right Food for Your Cholesterol

  • Oatmeal lowers your LDL without lowering your HDL.

  • Fish is a good source of omega 3 fatty acids, lowers LDL, raises HDL, and lowers triglycerides.

  • Nuts are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, lower LDL.

  • Soy has been shown to lower LDL.

  • Fiber lowers your cholesterol. It can be found in kidney beans, green peas, broccoli, apples, brown rice, and whole grain breads.

  • Antioxidants in foods, such as vitamins A, C, and E, lower the chances of LDL building up in your arteries. You can get your antioxidant vitamins in foods such as strawberries, oranges, oils and margarines, and melons.

Cooking Tips

  • Use whole grain flour instead of white flour.

  • Buy lean meats, like turkey or chicken, instead of red meat, and trim all the fat from it before cooking.

  • Cook with vegetable oil, which is high in polyunsaturated fats, and olive and canola oils, which are high in monounsaturated fats.

  • Instead of frying, boil, broil, bake, roast, poach, or steam meats, and drain off all fat before eating.

  • Reduce your salt intake by using herbs to flavor your meals, and avoiding salty snack foods, pickles, cured meats, and cheeses.

Eating Out

  • Don't be afraid to ask how your food is prepared and to voice how you want it prepared.

  • Ask restaurants to not add salt (tell the wait staff you are "allergic")

  • Get foods that are steamed, broiled, baked, grilled, poached, or roasted.