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How to Lower Cholesterol with Diet - Do's and Don'ts



LOWERING CHOLESTEROL -What you need to know


Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance made by your liver. Your body uses cholesterol to make hormones, digest fatty foods, and much more.

And while your body needs some cholesterol, if you have too much it can stick to the walls of your arteries. Over time this can narrow or even block your arteries.

There are two kinds of cholesterol:

• LDL - This one's often called "bad" cholesterol. Having a high LDL can lead to a buildup of cholesterol in your arteries. This increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.

• HDL - Also known as "good cholesterol." HDL absorbs cholesterol in the blood and carries it back to the liver. Having a high HDL lowers your risk for heart disease and stroke.

Over 90 million US adults have high cholesterol - meaning their total cholesterol levels are above 200 mg/dL. Luckily, by making some dietary shifts, you can get your cholesterol levels in a healthier spot.

To lower your cholesterol, you'll want to limit your intake of saturated and trans fats. In this guide, I'll share which foods to nix and which to enjoy if you're watching your cholesterol.

And while what you eat is important -- how you prepare your food is equally crucial.

Here are some cholesterol-friendly tips to try in the kitchen:

• Avoid frying. Bake, broil, or steam instead.

• Choose lean cuts of meat and lean or extra lean ground beef.

• Remove skin from chicken or turkey before cooking.

• Trim all visible fat off meat before cooking.

• Remove the fat off the top of soups or stews after it's cooled down.



Foods to Avoid or Limit

red meat

Red Meat

Beef, lamb, and pork are high in saturated fats. You don't have to cut out meat entirely though. Just have it on occasion and stick to lean cuts like sirloin, or pork loin, or filet



Full fat dairy

Whole milk, butter, full fat yogurt, cream, and cheese are also high in saturated fats. So if you consume dairy, stick to skim or low fat options. Or swap dairy out for vegan versions like almond or oat milk.

processed meat

Processed meats

Processed meats like sausage, bacon, and hot dogs are often made with fatty cuts of meat. Processed meats are also high in sodium, which can elevate your blood pressure.

fried food

Fried foods

Foods cooked in a deep fryer like french fries, doughnuts, and chicken wings do a number on your cholesterol, as they're loaded with saturated fats. So avoid them as much as you


baked goodies

Baked goods & sweets

Cookies, cakes, and pastries are often made with lots of butter and shortening. They're also high in sugar which can increase your risk of heart disease.

coconut oil

Coconut & palm oil

These two oils are considered healthy and are often used as a sub for butter in vegan baked good. Yet they're still saturated fats. So if you're watching your cholesterol, it's best to not overdo it.

trans fat

Trans fat

Also known as partially hydrogenated oils, trans fats are a double whammy for cholesterol. They raise "bad" LDL cholesterol while lowering "good" HDL. So always check the label. If it has trans fats, put it back.

processed food

Processed foods

Packaged foods like crackers, cookies, frozen pizzas are not only devoid of nutrients, they often have trans fats lurking inside. So stick to whole foods as much as possible.



Foods to Enjoy

fruits and veggies

Fruits & vegetables

Fruits and veggies are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. But they also contain plant sterols and stanols, which help your body block the absorption of




Berries are rich in fiber and are loaded with anti-oxidants to lower inflammation, and this can lower "bad" cholesterol. Strawberries also

contain a soluble fiber called pectin which helps the liver metabolize cholesterol.



Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which protects your heart from blood clots. Fish doesn't lower LDL cholesterol, but it makes a great replacement for meat. So swapping it out for meat may improve your numbers. Opt for oily fish like salmon, trout, tuna, sardines, and mackerel.


Beans & legumes

Like whole grains, beans and legumes are fiber powerhouses. They're also an excellent source of plant-based protein, which may help you scale back on your meat intake. Lentils, black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, and peas are all good options.

healthy fats

Healthy fats

Unsaturated fats and omega 3 fatty acids lower inflammation and improve your blood cholesterol levels. Foods high in healthy fats include avocados, olive oil, nuts, seeds, and fish. Avoid processed seed oils.



Whole soy foods are shown to lower cholesterol levels. They also serve as high- protein swap for meat. Soy foods to enjoy include edamame, tempeh, miso, and nato.

green tea

Green tea

Some research shows drinking green tea can help lower "bad" LDL cholesterol without impacting "good" HDL levels. Green tea is also teeming with health promoting antioxidants.


Herbs & spices

Ginger, garlic, and turmeric are all shown to help lower cholesterol. But adding any herbs and spices to dishes is a great way to add flavor without adding butter or high fat sauces.



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