Diet for Patients With High Cholesterol

If you've been diagnosed with high cholesterol, there is a number of foods that can help lower your levels. A healthy change in your diet may eventually eliminate the need to take cholesterol-lowering medication and it doesn't necessarily have to mean a major dietary overhaul. A few adjustments here and there can make a big difference.

  1. Cut the Fat First

    • When you set out to make cholesterol-lowering dietary changes, consider reducing the types and amounts of fat you are eating that may be contributing to your high cholesterol.

      As you begin to trim the fat, concentrate on saturated and trans fats. Saturated fats are found in some oils and in meat. Trans fats are often used in packaged cookies, cakes and crackers.

    Olive Oil

    • If you are still cooking with vegetable oil, you may want to replace it with olive oil. Olive oil is packed full of antioxidants that can not only lower your "bad" (LDL) cholesterol but keep your "good" (HDL) cholesterol unaffected.

      It's easy to introduce olive oil into your daily diet. It can be used instead of butter when basting meat, sautéeing vegetables or it can be combined with vinegar as a homemade salad dressing.

      The FDA says it takes about 2 tablespoons or 23 grams of olive oil each day in order for your heart to reap the maximum benefit.

    Oatmeal for Fiber

    • A bowl of oatmeal for breakfast is a great way to start the day off. Oatmeal is full of soluble fiber which seems to diminish the absorption of cholesterol in your intestines.

      It takes a minimum of 10 grams of soluble fiber each day to lower your total "bad" LDL cholesterol. There are 6 grams of fiber in one and a half cups of cooked oatmeal. You can add an additional 4 grams by adding a banana or other fruit.

      Other foods high in soluble fiber include apples, pears, kidney beans, barely and prunes.

    Omega-3

    • Omega-3, found in fish oils, appears to raise "good" HDL cholesterol. At least three servings of 4-ounce portions of foods rich in omega-3 are recommended weekly.

      Wild salmon, sardines and anchovies are packed full of omega-3. Other great sources are fortified eggs, walnuts, soybeans and ground flax.

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