What is a low cholesterol diet? Quite simply, it is a diet that restricts and limits the consumption of bad fats. The primary objective of this diet is to reduce the levels of LDL or “bad” cholesterol.
This diet also can raise your levels of HDL , or “good” cholesterol. Having too much bad cholesterol and not enough of the good type can cause plaque to build up in the arteries.
With time, this buildup narrows your arteries, increasing your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. You will be severely cutting down on your consumption of foods high in saturated fat and trans fat.
These are the fats that you want to avoid. By avoiding these harmful fats, you will be protecting your heart and keeping your cholesterol levels low.
The Greek philosopher, Hippocrates, once said,
This is very true. Most people have high cholesterol levels due to an unhealthy diet that they have not thought to. This high cholesterol problem results from poor eating habits caused by a lack of knowledge or information on the different ways of eating a healthy diet and adopting a more beneficial lifestyle.
Your doctor may have informed you that you need to go on a low cholesterol diet because the test results came back and don’t look good. Or you may have a family history where heart disease has affected several family members. In this case, genetics may play a part, and you can reduce the risks with a low cholesterol diet.
What to eat on a low cholesterol diet
Whatever the case, a low cholesterol eating plan can really help if you implement it effectively. It can arrest most cholesterol issues and solve the problem by preventing your body from having a high cholesterol level.
Contrary to popular belief, dietary cholesterol is not the sole reason for high cholesterol levels. For example, eating lots of eggs will not cause you to get high cholesterol. However, if you fry those eggs in hydrogenated oils , these oils will cause inflammation in the body, resulting in the body producing cholesterol to protect you.
Like the health guru, Jack LaLanne, once said, “If man made it, don’t eat it.” This statement sums it up beautifully.
Inflammation is often the result of eating foods that are processed, high in sugar, junk food, etc. When your body is inflamed, the liver releases cholesterol. It’s a means of protecting you, but it’s also bad when produced in excess. Therein lies the solution.
You want to avoid foods that cause inflammation. Foods such as whole dairy products, white flour products, processed meats such as sausages, fried foods (fried chicken, French fries, etc.), foods containing partially hydrogenated oils , junk food, margarine, frozen meals sold in supermarkets, etc. are all best avoided.
Bearing in mind that meat consumption does not necessarily increase bad cholesterol, it is important to select the meat being consumed, either when you have high cholesterol or to prevent cholesterol.
You will want to consume a diet high in lean proteins with lots of vegetables and fruit. You should also include walnuts, almonds, and peanuts , which raise your good cholesterol. Other foods such as spinach, fish oil, beans, and whole grains are good too.
Eat more fish. Fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids . Wild-caught fish, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines, are the best source of omega-3, but all fish contain some amount of this beneficial fatty acid. You should target 2 to 6-ounce servings each week.
Make a switch from using hydrogenated seed oils sold in supermarkets to beneficial oils such as pure coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil. The commercially sold hydrogenated oils are the biggest culprit that raises your cholesterol levels. They have been marketed as healthy, and they look clean and golden.
The dark reality is that these oils are extremely detrimental to the body and cause more health problems than any other food. Avoid them at all costs.
It may be difficult to make the switch, but it can be done. You’ll notice that most food sold in stores and other eating establishments use these harmful oils. It is no wonder that obesity is at an all-time high.
Use healthier cooking methods. Baking, roasting, and broiling are healthier ways of preparing meat, poultry, and other foods.
Cut the visible fat or skin before cooking. Lean cuts can be roasted in a pan or sautéed. Use a nonstick skillet or a non-stick spray for cooking instead of adding fats like butter or margarine.
Get more fiber in the diet. Add good sources of fiber to meals. Some examples include fruits, vegetables, whole grains (such as oat bran, whole-grain oats, and barley), legumes (such as beans and peas), and nuts and seeds (such as ground flax seeds ).
In addition to the fiber, whole grains provide B vitamins and important nutrients not found in white flour foods.
Avoid sugary foods. Processed sugar can be highly addictive, and many people mistake a sugar addiction as having a sweet tooth. By cutting out foods high in sugar, you will be indirectly reducing your cholesterol levels. Feel like eating something sweet? Eat some frozen fruit instead.
Always cut some fruit and keep them in the refrigerator for those sudden sugar cravings. Over time, you will wean yourself off sugar and will no longer crave chocolate or sodas.
Consume a fish oil supplement to balance the ratio of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 fatty acids in your body. This is crucial for preventing inflammation. Most people’s ratios are totally out of whack due to the high consumption of hydrogenated oils. The fish oils will help to balance things out.
Adopt these practices, and your cholesterol levels will drop within 2 to 3 months. Do exercise regularly. Be active and get your blood pumping. You will burn calories and lose excess fat. All these will help to lower your cholesterol.