What’s the Best Diet for High Cholesterol?
Receiving a diagnosis of high cholesterol doesn’t mean that you’ll definitely have a heart attack or stroke. It does mean that you’re more at risk for these serious health problems and you should take every step you can to lower cholesterol levels.
Your doctor may prescribe a medication and advise that you quit smoking and other unhealthy habits, but you might also want to look at a healthy diet plan that’s specifically designed to lower cholesterol levels.
LDL is the bad cholesterol that can put you at risk for health problems. If you receive a reading of 130 mg/dL to 190 mg/dL, your risk factor for heart disease and stroke is high and you should begin an immediate diet plan that excludes foods high in cholesterol and saturated fat and avoid trans fats altogether.
If you have high cholesterol, adopt a diet in which you follow these rules:
- Cooking – Rather than cooking with high fat shortenings and oils, use canola, olive and plant-based oils rich in unsaturated fats. Use vinaigrette dressings on your salads made with a base of olive oil.
- Omega-3 fatty acids – Include a source of omega-3 fatty acids in your daily diet plan. Foods like certain nuts, fish and oils contain omega-3 fatty acids.
- Lean meat and low-fat dairy products – Choose from the leanest of meats and stay away from those high in fat, such as pork, beef and lamb. Drink low fat milk and eat reduced or low fat cheeses.
- Margarine – If you’re currently using butter, change to margarine – preferably soft, tub margarine. Choose margarine with zero grams of trans fats, but look at the ingredients carefully to be sure it doesn’t include partially hydrogenated oils.
When shopping for food, read the labels and never purchase products that contain trans fats, one of the most destructive things you can eat if you have high cholesterol. When eating out, avoid fast foods that may be fried in dangerous oils that contain trans fats and also avoid breads and pastries unless you know they’ve been cooked with the proper ingredients.
High cholesterol is said to be ìa silent killerî because it has no symptoms. The only way to find out what your cholesterol levels are is to take a blood test. If you’re at high risk because of heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure, talk to your health care provider about getting this life-saving test.
Other high-risk factors include lack of exercise and obesity, so a healthy diet and adding exercise to your health plan are necessary to live a healthy life free of unexpected tragedies such as a stroke or heart attack. It’s a line of defense that you need to adopt if you have high cholesterol.