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How to create and follow a low-cholesterol diet
Your food habits can affect your cholesterol levels, but ultimately lifestyle changes and making heart-healthy diet choices are personal decisions. However, by eating low-fat and high-fiber foods, consuming foods that contain "good" fats, and reducing your sodium intake, you may be able to lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol, lose weight, and even feel better about yourself.
Adjusting the food you eat and modifying the recipes you follow may help reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol. To help you out, we’ve included below a few ways you can get started on a heart-healthy diet. Following a diet such as this and regular exercise are two parts of a cholesterol-lowering lifestyle. To further reduce your risk of a heart attack or a stroke, your doctor may recommend a statin, like LIVALO.
Eat more foods with soluble fiber
Some examples of foods high in soluble fiber are peas, legumes, apples, oranges, pears, berries, broccoli, and oatmeal.
Certain fats can be good
Replacing a higher-carbohydrate diet with one that’s rich in mainly monounsaturated fat (the type of fat found in almonds, avocados, and olive oil) can help improve cholesterol levels. Choose foods that contain omega-3 polyunsaturated fats, which are actually good for your health. The most common kind of omega-3 fatty acid can be found in certain types of fish (particularly fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and albacore tuna), vegetable oils, flax seeds and flaxseed oil, nuts (especially walnuts), and leafy green vegetables.
Eat less trans fat and saturated fat
Saturated fats tend to mainly come from animal-based food such as poultry, red meat, and whole-fat dairy products, whereas most trans fats come from partially hydrogenated oils used in many kinds of processed food. Both of these types of fats raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol; trans fats are even worse than saturated fat because they raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol and reduce your HDL (good) cholesterol.
Smarter food preparation
Instead of frying, try boiling, grilling, roasting, or poaching. Before serving, be sure to drain any fat that appears after cooking.
Check your salt (sodium) intake
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that Americans ingest too much salt (sodium). Consuming high amounts of sodium raises blood pressure, and high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
Watch out for empty calories
Foods that have empty calories (like soda, cookies, and ice cream) should be avoided since they’re loaded with sugar and/or fat and have few essential vitamins and minerals.
Heart-healthier recipe redo
If you think you have to give up your favorite recipes to lower your cholesterol—think again! Substituting ingredients is a smart way to turn a favorite dish into a new, heart-healthier meal. By switching from high-fat to lower-fat (or even no-fat) ingredients, you can reduce your saturated and trans fat intake without sacrificing flavor. The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests:
|Don't Use||Use Instead|
|Whole milk (1 cup)||
|Heavy cream (1 cup)||
|Butter (1 tablespoon)||
|Unsweetened baking chocolate (1 ounce)||