Reducing High Cholesterol

Eating healthy foods can help people who have high amounts of cholesterol in their blood. The aim is to try to reduce the LDL cholesterol (also called “bad” cholesterol) and increase the good cholesterol, or HDL levels.

Limit saturated fats and trans fats

  • Saturated fats include fatty meat, poultry skin, bacon, sausage, whole milk, cream, and butter.
  • Trans fats are found in stick margarine, shortening, some fried foods, and packaged foods made with hydrogenated oils.
  • Instead of butter or stick margarine, try reduced-fat, whipped, or liquid spreads.

Limit the amount of cholesterol that you eat

  • Foods high in cholesterol include egg yolks (one egg yolk has about 212 mg of cholesterol), fatty meat, whole milk, cheese, shrimp, lobster, and crab. Aim to eat less than 200 milligrams of cholesterol per day.

Eat more omega-3 fats (heart-healthy fats)

  • Try to eat fish three times a week. Good choices include salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines.
  • Other foods with omega-3 fats include walnuts and canola and soybean oils.
  • Flaxseed is another source of omega-3 fats. It can be taken as flaxseed oil or ground flaxseed.

Keep the amount of fat that you eat to 25% to 35% of your total intake of calories

  • If you eat 2,000 calories per day, your fat intake should be between 50 grams and 75 grams per day (this includes heart-healthy fats).

Eat 20 grams to 30 grams of dietary fiber per day

  • Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dried beans are good sources of fiber.
  • Remember to eat your 5 cups of fruits and vegetables per day. One cup is about the size of a tennis ball.
  • Use whole grain foods when ever you can.
  • Unless you are on a fluid restriction diet, make sure you drink 64 oz of fluid a day to avoid constipation.

Plan to eat less meat and more beans and soy foods for protein

  • 1 serving of meat is about 3 oz.