Eating To Lower Your Cholesterol

EAT LESS SATURATED FAT:  Saturated fat is found in varying amounts in most foods from animals such as meats and whole milk dairy products like cheese.

  • Choose skim milk (try Skim Plus or Simply Smart or Skim ‘n more)
  • Choose fish (broiled, baked, grilled) not fried
  • Avoid butter in food preparation “Hold the butter!” in restaurants
  • Choose chicken (white meat without the skin)
  • Avoid red meats (except pork chops and pork tenderloin)
  • Choose no-fat cheeses or 2% cheeses
  • Low-fat cheeses should have <1.5 grams saturated fat per ounce
  • Avoid fried foods (even if cooked in vegetable oils)
  • Avoid palm and coconut oils
  • Avoid partially hydrogenated oils
  • Avoid trans fat


AVOID PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED OILS:  Hydrogenation is a chemical process that changes liquid oils into more solid fats, called Trans fats.  These can raise your cholesterol levels.

  • Check labels and list of ingredients on crackers, chips and cookies
  • Choose softest tub margarines with water as the first ingredient

CHOOSE MONOUNSATURATED FATS:  These are mainly liquid oils and some nuts.  These are low in saturated fat.  Including these can increase your level of HDL but the portions need to be small.  1 tablespoon olive oil = 120 calories, 1.8 grams saturated fat and 14 grams total fat.

  • Avocados and olives used in small amounts
  • Use canola oil or olive oil in cooking or salads
  • Check label on your salad dressing for the kind of oil used
  • Use nuts such as almonds or cashews or seeds like sunflower, sesame or poppy
  • If you use peanut butter (1-2 tablespoons) buy the non-hydrogenated kind like Teddie or Smuckers.  Try soy nut butter.
  • Small amounts of oils provide flavor so measure before you add to pan.
  • Oil sprays can be used freely

EAT LESS HIGH CHOLESTEROL FOOD:  Cholesterol is found in all animal products.  Too much cholesterol in your diet can raise your cholesterol levels, when you eat it with saturated fats or trans fats.

  • Limit eggs to six (Yolks) a week (Unlimited egg whites)
  • Substitute 2 egg whites for 1 egg or use egg substitutes in recipes
  • Try “egg beater” omelets with vegetables and low fat cheeses


EAT FRUIT:  Don’t let a day go by without fruit in your diet.  Fruit provides fiber and vitamins and minerals.  Remember to eat 5 to 9 servings of fruit and vegetables every day.

  • Choose whole fruit rather than juice for the fiber
  • Choose high fiber fruits like apples, pears and berries
  • To normalize blood glucose levels and triglycerides, eat 3-4 servings of fruit per day

EAT VEGETABLES:  Vegetables are sources of high fiber and carbohydrates.  They are low in calories too.

  • 50% of your plate should be vegetables or salads
  • Choose leafy greens like romaine, spinach, collards and bok choy

EAT FOODS HIGH IN FIBER:  Fiber is the part of food that your body can’t digest.  Fiber can help fill you up and also lower your cholesterol level.

  •  Choose oatmeal, oat bran and whole oat cereals
  • Choose beans and lentils, salads and vegetables
  • Choose apples and pears

AVOID OR DECREASE REFINED CARBOHYDRATES:  White flour and sugar containing carbohydrates are caloric and can raise triglycerides and blood glucose levels.  Although these are often low in fat, portion-control is key to including these in your diet.

  • Eat less white pasta (choose whole wheat varieties)
  • Avoid large, white, bagels (1 bakery-size bagel contains 350 calories which is equal to 4 slices of bread!)
  • Include snacks that are controllable (ie: portion controlled): try low- and no-fat cheeses, whole fruit and vegetables.
  • Limit no-fat frozen yogurt and no fat cookies because these still may contain lots of sugar, and the calories can make weight loss more difficult
  • Aim for < 5 grams of sugar on food labels!
    • For yogurts, aim for < 10 grams of sugar

WORK ON LOSING WEIGHT IF YOU ARE OVERWEIGHT:  Weight loss often helps improve cholesterol levels and makes us feel better.  Even a seemingly small change in weight (5-10%) can have positive effects on your health.  Losing weight is often a gradual process.  Aerobic exercise burns calories and builds muscle. To lose weight, add 4-5 days – 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every week, like walking.

  • Portions are key
  • High fiber foods help you stay full longer
  • Eating vegetables, salads and lean protein helps
  • Keep portions of added fats small
  • Food records help you become more aware of your eating habits


  • Calcium if needed
  • Multivitamin and mineral