High cholesterol is something to be avoided, as it can lead to high cholesterol symptoms like atherosclerosis, heart attack, and a mild case of death.
In order to avoid these serious side effects, you should watch what you eat.
While you won’t be able to get out your cholesterol-o-meter to take a sample of each type of food, you should still try and find out which low cholesterol foods are the best to eat.
Finding foods that are low in cholesterol is important, as the foods that you eat will help you to naturally keep your cholesterol as low as possible.
High cholesterol foods should be avoided as much as possible, and you will need to take a look at your diet to figure out which foods are the ones that are causing the “traffic jams” in your arteries as the cholesterol piles up.
The foods low in cholesterol that you should eat include low fat proteins, complex carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables.
Below you will find everything you need to know about the foods that you should eat, so get out a piece of paper and pencil to take notes to find out which foods you should add to your shopping list.
All forms of bad cholesterol come from animal products, meaning that your favorite meat products are likely to cause the higher cholesterol levels that will have your doctor looking so grave and serious.
The secret to having good cholesterol levels is by avoiding the foods that are high in the fat that creates cholesterol, so low fat foods are generally a good idea. You will need to start cutting out the high fat foods, that much is clear.
However, knowing which foods you should try to eat as much as possible is important, so read on to find out which foods are going to replace the steak, snacks, chips, and cookies you have just cleared out of your cupboard.
What about Fish, Meats, and Poultry?
Of all of the proteins that you can eat, fish is the best for your low cholesterol diet.
The reason that fish is one of the best foods to lower cholesterol is due to the fact that it contains concentrated amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids.
These fatty acids are needed by the body to ensure heart health, as they prevent clots of the blood and help fight high blood pressure. They also boost HDL levels in your body.
You will find that fish will do wonders for your body, and they will be one of the best foods to eat to lower cholesterol naturally. Omega-3 fatty acids act as a shield against the LDL, so it is essential to eat your fish no matter how much you would rather have a giant steak.
Poultry is one of the best proteins for a low cholesterol diet, due in large part to the fact that it has very low fat content. However, it is essential to remember that even fish and poultry, while containing less fat than red meat, still have some saturated fats.
When eating poultry, make sure to remove the skin to reduce the amount of fat that you are consuming and thus keep LDL levels low. Eat no more than 5 ounces of poultry per day to keep your LDL levels low.
On the best substitutes for red meat is tofu. Yes, the white goopy lump of God-knows-what on your plate may not appeal to you much, but is still much better for you than any form of meat that will cause your LDL levels to become elevated. Surprisingly, you can make a number of delicious dishes with tofu, though you will have to do some research into how to make tofu into edible concoctions if you are not a tofu fan.
The cholesterol in eggs has always been a source of controversy, and nutritionists are often divided over whether or not eggs are good for you.
Not only does this include egg yolks in the form of fried or boiled eggs, but also when eaten in other foods such as egg noodles, baked goods, and processed foods. Eating more than four yolks per week will result in higher levels of LDL than is good for your body.
Foods that contain egg yolks should be reserved for special occasions, and even then should be eaten sparingly.
Egg whites, on the other hand, contain no cholesterol whatsoever, and therefore can be substituted for the whole eggs that you will find in many recipes.
Eating an egg white omelet is one of the best ways to have a filling meal that is rich in protein, but there will be a much lesser risk of elevating your LDL levels.
You will find that using two egg whites in a recipe provides the same amount of liquid as one whole egg.
There are also a number of cholesterol free egg substitutes that you can use to replace eggs in your recipes, and it is unlikely that you will be able to taste the difference.
These egg substitutes will help you to keep your cholesterol levels low, and will provide you with a tasty alternative that you can use for preparing your meals.
What about Dairy Products?
Regular, whole fat dairy products are high in saturated fats that are responsible for elevating LDL levels in your body.
However, the problem is that dairy is essential for your body’s overall health, as it provides many of the nutrients that your body needs to continue functioning properly. Calcium is one of the primary nutrients provided by dairy products, and calcium is necessary to keep LDL cholesterol levels low.
The problem remains of how to get sufficient calcium in your diet without elevating LDL levels through the consumption of full fat dairy products.
The solution is finding a low-fat alternative to dairy products:
- 1% and fat free milk are excellent foods to eat due to the fact that they are high in calcium, while still being low enough in cholesterol that they will not harm your body or elevate your LDL cholesterol levels significantly. By drinking 1% or fat-free milk, you can get as much calcium and vitamin D as your body needs, but can still control your cholesterol levels.
- Low-fat and nonfat yogurts alike are both excellent sources of calcium and protein both, but you can eat them without the risk of elevating your LDL levels. You’ll find that adding yogurt to certain dishes will make them tastier and more complete, but you will be able to enjoy it without the risk of increasing cholesterol levels in your body.
- Many dishes are not the same without cheese, both cream and regular cheese. Rather than eating that cheese and risking elevating LDL levels, you will find that non-fat and low fat cheese and cream cheese options are available and will provide you with an excellent alternative for cooking. These cheese alternatives taste exactly like the real cheese that you enjoy so much, but with none of the risk of cholesterol, fewer calories, and less fat.
- You can find a number of non-fat cottage and farmers cheeses that will be perfect for adding to vegetable and fruit salads. You may find that some of these products contain less than three grams of fat per ounce, and thus reduce your risk of elevating LDL cholesterol levels by eating them.
The important thing to remember when eating dairy is that you should always choose the low-fat alternatives to avoid increasing cholesterol in your body.
While it may take a while for you to get accustomed to the low-fat alternatives to your favorite cheeses, you will find that in the end you will enjoy them more than the whole fat products.
Snacks and Sweets?
No, most snacks and sweets are NOT low cholesterol foods!
Snacks and sweets are the bane of those on low cholesterol diets, as they are simply too tempting to pass up. However, eating snacks and sweets is one of the worst ways to follow a low cholesterol diet and maintain healthy cholesterol levels, due to the fact that snacks are usually the full of saturated fat and cholesterol while sweets are high in sugar.
Sugar is one of the worst things to eat when trying to maintain good cholesterol levels, and thus most sweets should be avoided.
The good news is that there are some snacks that you can eat and still maintain LDL levels low:
- Whole wheat bread sticks
- Whole wheat bagels
- Dried fruits
- Soda crackers, rye crisps, melba toast, rice cakes, and other crackers that are low in fat or fat-free
- Breakfast cereals that are made without added sugar
- Frozen grapes, banana slices, fruit cubes, and any form of fresh fruit
- Tortilla chips that are baked without oil
- Light or air popped popcorn
- Low sodium and low-fat pretzels
- Vegetables served with dip that is low or nonfat
These snacks are perfect for when you are looking for something to eat in a hurry and you don’t have time to make an entire meal. However, these low fat snacks provide you with an alternative for that bag of chips or that ham sandwich that will elevate your cholesterol levels.
By eating these snacks, you can suppress your appetite and give your stomach something to digest without increasing LDL in your blood.
Sweets are always popular, due in large part to the fact that many people like to end their dinner with a sweet treat. However, as mentioned above, sweets tend to be high in sugar and thus cause LDL cholesterol levels in the body to be elevated. There are certain sweets that you can enjoy without fear of elevating your LDL levels, including:
- Pastries, cupcakes, cheesecake, cakes, and brownies that are low-fat or fat-free
- Angel food cake that is topped with slices of fresh fruit, fruit puree, or fruit compote
- Gelatin desserts that are served without whipped cream
- Graham crackers
- Cookies that are low that are fat-free, such Fig Newtons, fruit bars, gingersnaps, vanilla wafers, animal crackers, or devil’s food cookies.
- Sorbet, sherbet, frozen low-fat milk desserts, frozen fruit juices, and frozen yogurt that is low or nonfat.
- Puddings that use fat-free or 1% milk
Just because these suites are low in cholesterol doesn’t mean they are low in calories, and you should be careful when trying to follow a low cholesterol diet. When you are trying to keep cholesterol levels low, you should avoid eating sweets of any sort as much as possible. This not only helps you to control the cholesterol in your body, but also helps you to lose weight and thus reduce your risk of high cholesterol. Only indulge in these snacks and sweets occasionally, as it is best to avoid snacking and desserts when trying to keep cholesterol levels low.
Concerning Fats and Oils
A certain amount of fats and oils are required by your body, but these fats need to be the healthy kind. The healthy kind of fats includes the natural fats found in walnuts and almonds, Omega-3 fatty acids, and any unsaturated fats. Your body needs some fats to be able to function properly, so it is good to eat some of these fats in order to stay healthy. The fats to eat in small quantities include the fats found in avocadoes, almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, and fish.
Avoid saturated fats in any foods that are greasy or fried. The fats that you should consume should be completely natural, such as extra virgin olive oil or peanut oil. These oils are made from plants, and thus are rich with the plant sterols that will help to keep LDL levels in check while raising HDL cholesterol levels. If you want to ensure that your body stays healthy and running well, eat a limited amount of these fats.
Fruits and Vegetables
There is much to be said about the benefits of fruits and vegetables for keeping cholesterol low, but the main thing that makes them so excellent is the fact that they are so rich in fiber.
Fiber is the main nutrient that helps to reduce the effect of cholesterol on the body, as they prevent deposits of LDL from forming on the arteries and hardening into plaque. Fruits and vegetables are all cholesterol free, meaning that you will not be increasing the levels of LDL in your body regardless of how many fruits or veggies you eat.
Go bananas, quite literally! Eat as many veggies as you like, but keep the fruit intake to 5 servings per day. Fresh fruits and vegetables are also rich in plant sterols and other chemicals that will help to reduce LDL levels and keep normal cholesterol levels of HDL. Remember that fresh fruits and vegetables are always the best to eat, as most of the nutrients have been boiled or frozen out of canned, frozen, or cooked vegetables.
Eat as many servings of fresh vegetables as you can in the day to ensure that your LDL levels stay low.
What about Breads, Pastas, Cereals, Beans, and Rice?
When trying to keep cholesterol intake low, one always considers dropping the breads, pastas, and other carbohydrates from the diet.
The secret to keeping cholesterol levels low is not to avoid carbohydrates altogether, but rather to eat complex carbohydrates such as whole wheat, whole grains, brown rice, quinoa, and millet among others. These foods to lower cholesterol are also some of the best low cholesterol foods, as they are rich in fiber, minerals, and nutrients that are essential for the proper functioning of your body.
Make sure that you only eat these whole grains and complex carbohydrates in order to keep cholesterol levels low.
The white, refined, and processed flours and grains will elevate cholesterol levels quickly, so it is best to keep your intake of these foods in check.
By ensuring that you only eat the complex carbohydrates that are found in whole grains, you can do your part to protect your body against elevated cholesterol levels.
Aside from the main foods that you should try to eat to keep cholesterol levels low, there are a number of miscellaneous foods that will increase the effectiveness of your low cholesterol diet.
These foods include:
- Vinegar, which can be used as a salad dressing or as flavoring for different dishes. You can also drink a glass of water with apple cider vinegar twice a day.
- Mustard, which adds flavor to sandwiches without increasing cholesterol
- Herbs and spices, which are best to flavor your food without adding sodium to your diet
- Garlic and ginger, both aromatic spices which help to keep blood pressure low and prevent high cholesterol
- Garlic and onion powders, which can add flavor to your food without adding cholesterol
By eating the right low cholesterol foods, you can ensure that your good cholesterol levels remain healthy, while the levels of bad cholesterol remain as low as possible.
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