High cholesterol levels, more specifically high LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels are a major contributor to heart disease. It is very easy to modify your diet and integrate foods to lower cholesterol in a low cholesterol diet plan. They will help you not just to reduce but also to control your cholesterol levels in the long run.
It is now generally accepted what a "heart healthy" diet is and that a diet for high cholesterol must be part of it. Most people won’t even be aware that nutritional guidelines for healthy living automatically embrace lots of foods to lower cholesterol. These guidelines are now pretty much universal and include:
- Eat less fat. Drastically reduce your consumption of saturated fats, and cut out trans fats ("hydrogenated" vegetable oils). Saturated fats can increase total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Replace these with mono- and polyunsaturated fats.
- Substitute meat with lean meat, poultry or fish
- Increase your consumption of fruit and vegetables.
- Replace refined carbohydrates in your diet for high cholesterol with complex carbohydrates.
Let’s look at what this means in detail.
Avoid as much as possible or cut out altogether: butter, hard cheese, fatty meat, meat products, biscuits, cakes, cream, lard, dripping, suet, ghee, coconut oil, palm oil, hardened ("stick") margarine.
Monounsaturated fats: These fats can lower the LDL level but do not lower the level of HDL cholesterol. They are found in olive oil, rapeseed oil, avocado, nuts and seeds such as almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, peanuts and pistachios.
Polyunsaturated fats: These fats are an essential nutrients and must be part of a diet for high cholesterol. They can help lower LDL cholesterol (which is a good effect), but they also lower HDL cholesterol. They are found in corn oil, sunflower oil, soya oil, nuts and seeds such as walnuts, pine nuts, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds.
Oily fish contains Omega 3 fatty acids, a particular type of polyunsaturated fat that can help to reduce triglyceride levels in the blood. Although it does not modify cholesterol levels, triglycerides are equally important.
Oily fish includes (wild) salmon, halibut, herring, mackerel, pilchards, sardines, lake trout, tuna.
Avoid as much as possible or cut out altogether: Fatty or marbled meat and meat product as they are high in saturated fat. Also avoid roasting or frying.
Replace by: poultry (without the skin), fish, or lean cuts of meat that are best steamed, poached, grilled or boiled.
Additional protein can be obtained from soya (soya milk, soya yoghurts, tofu), beans and pulses. Beans and pulses are also good sources of fibre.
Fruit and Vegetables:
The benefits of eating above all fresh fruit and vegetables cannot be overstated. Conservative advice now tells you to eat 5 portions a day. You really ought to have from 7 to 11 portions each day. A portion is roughly a handful.
Among the major benefits of eating fruit and vegetables are:
- Natural antioxidants – they play a key role in a diet for high cholesterol as they help reduce damage caused by LDL. LDL cholesterol is not very stable. It oxidises easily and can then damage your arterial walls. There is evidence that it is oxidised LDL cholesterol, rather than cholesterol itself, that contributes to cardio vascular disease.
- Soluble fibre provided by fruit and vegetables helps eliminate cholesterol from the intestine.
Avoid as much as possible or cut out altogether refined carbohydrates: white bread, rice, pasta. Refined carbohydrates have been stripped of most nutrients.
Replace by: Complex carbohydrates such as whole grain bread, brown rice, wholemeal pasta, oats. Complex carbohydrates contain fibre and other nutrients the body needs.
This general framework of a healthy diet includes a low cholesterol diet plan will automatically take care for you of foods to lower cholesterol.
I invite you to find out more about specific foods to include in a low cholesterol diet plan at http://mylowcholesteroldietplan.com/foods-2/best-foods-to-lower-cholesterol/
You find more information about various aspects of a diet for high cholesterol at http://mylowcholesteroldietplan.com/