A Heart-Healthy Low Cholesterol Diet Plan

The adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” holds especially true for managing cholesterol levels. Making the right food choices in your daily diet is far better than having to afford many visits to your doctor. Your levels of cholesterol may increase when you follow a diet plan made of a lot of foods that contain sugar, saturated and trans fats. Over 71,000,000 adults in America have bad levels of cholesterol at or over 200 mg/dL, based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Among these people, over 47,000,000 of them do not have this condition under control, making them vulnerable to cardiovascular diseases as a result of cholesterol accumulation inside their arterial blood vessels. In case your cholesterol levels place you in danger of heart related illnesses, implementing modifications in the meals you eat every day can certainly help. Your food intake has an effect on the 3 forms of lipids parts of your blood stream: low-density lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol, high-density lipoproteins (HDL) cholesterol in addition to triglycerides. Having a diet plan low in sugar and fats will let you reduce the triglycerides by 20 % and can as well produce positive changes to your LDL and HDL respectively the bad and the good cholesterol in accordance with the American Heart Association (AHA). Finding out about the healthy food choices as well as food preparation techniques will be helpful in developing a personalized eating plan designed to please your own preferences.

The fundamentals of a cholesterol lowering diet plan

Try to maintain your total cholesterol (quantity that features 20 % of the triglycerides in addition to the sum of the levels of LDL and HDL) lower than 200 mg for each deciliter of blood. A total over that limit in addition to supplemental risk variables for example diabetes, hypertension, age, inherited genes and gender elevate your probability to get cardiovascular issues. For dietary cholesterol 200-300 mg per day is recommended (no more than 300 mg of cholesterol daily is advised for healthy people and no more than 200 mg per day for adults having high LDL levels or people that are following a medical treatment for reducing their cholesterol). Stick to smaller quantities in case you deal with more than one risk factor of having cardiac arrest as well as cerebral vascular accidents. Restrict saturated fat to between 16 and 22 grams per day, trans fat (unsaturated fat with trans-isomer fatty acids) to 2 g each day, and a calorie consumption of sugar-added meals to about 100-300 mg daily.

How to lower cholesterol with diet in 15 simple and easy steps

Picture of cholesterol free foods

Picture of foods to include in your diet

Step 1

The initial step is to start controlling portions. The food portions are often too large, but there is a practical way to control portions: measuring with hands. To know if your serving of meat or fish is ideal, simply see it fits in a hand palm. As for a serving of fresh fruit, it should be approximately the size of a fist. Finally, a serving of cooked vegetables, rice or pasta, must fit into the cupped hand.

Step 2

Increase the amount of foods that are rich in fiber in your daily meal plan. Taking in 5-10 g of fiber daily cuts down on the intake of LDL, recognized as the bad cholesterol, in the blood stream. Begin the day with one and half cup of oat meal, that gives you about 6 grams of fiber. Another way to get plenty fiber is by eating raw fruits, beans, brown rice and also whole-grain breads.

Step 3

Cook and eat meals with egg-whites rather than whole eggs. The major amount of cholesterol in eggs is found particularly inside the yolk. Egg-whites supply the body with healthy proteins. Go for a couple of beaten egg-whites for a healthful egg breakfast. Change your dishes by including two egg-whites in your meals instead of one whole egg.

Step 4

Consume low-fat dairy products such as 1% or fat-free buttermilk and plain yogurt, Mozzarella, Provolone, Cheddar and part skim Ricotta. Drinking milk is important at any age. Many people reduce their milk consumption significantly as they get older, yet this can cause other health problems. The lower the percentage of fat in the milk, the better it is for your cholesterol. Skim milk may not appeal to everyone, so choosing 1 or 2 percent milk is still a very healthy alternative.

Step 5

Eat more fresh fruits. Everyone knows fruits and vegetables are essential for a heart-healthy diet. The added ingredient is the amount of fiber a particular fruit or veggie has since fiber works to further reduce a person’s cholesterol level. But which ones are the best? Two fruits that lead the list of high fiber foods are apples and pears. With a dietary fiber count of 4.4 and 5.5 grams respectively for a medium size fruit, choosing these over salty or sugary snacks positively contributes to your overall health. So, always have some fresh and cleaned fruits inside a kitchen counter bowl to enable you to quickly take one to have a healthy and safe snack not high in calories and free of cholesterol. But do not skin these fruits! Compared to meats, with skin is healthier than without skin.

Step 6

Vegetables are good for your daily eating plan

Vegetables and fruits are highly recommended.

Increase the amount of veggies in your daily dishes because they do not have cholesterol and feature less fat or calories by nature. Consider preparing recipes made up of veggies or adding vegetables as sides to the dishes. Heat your veggies in a little volume of water or stir frying them in a single canola oil tablespoon. For further health advantages, season the veggies with natural herbs rather than salt. Fruits and veggies, wholegrain bakery, and staying away from salt in what you eat are well-known commonsense diet to keeping your heart healthy.

Step 7

Eating fish a couple of times per week is highly recommended. Fish has less saturated fat while being a very good supply of healthy proteins. A number of fish species such as halibut, tuna fish and cod contain significantly less LDL when compared with steak or chicken. By simply substituting your red meat with a single fish every week in your food plan, you may reduce your overall cholesterol score. Other fish such as herring, salmon and mackerel are an excellent source of N-3 (Omega-3) fatty acids which enable you to get shielded from cardiovascular issues. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for our health (brain function, blood pressure, heart health) but unfortunately our body cannot produce them. A minimum of three servings of Omega-3 rich fish on weekly basis is recommended. You can broil, grill or bake your fish rather than frying it or preparing it in oily sauces.

Step 8

Your body needs protein to maintain muscle health. For most people, their protein supply will come from meat. So, want to eat meat? There is considerably less fat and cholesterol in chicken than most red meats, unless the red meat is very lean. Look at a skin free poultry to get a nutritious meal loaded with proteins. Skinless chicken is preferred because the skin is the most fatty part. So, the simple and very flexible meat option is chicken. But, you do not need to eat only chicken. You can make low-fat choices like beef sirloin, round roasts or pork tenderloin and restrict your day-to-day meat consumption to 6 oz. Broil, grill or bake your lean meat and steer clear of adding greasy sauces. Refer to the paragraph below about the cholesterol content in different types of meat then choose those that have less cholesterol while maintaining your servings small.

Step 9

Eat nuts! Instead of potato chips, opt for a handful of nuts when you get hungry. Almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, pine nuts, peanuts and pistachios are rich in protein, fiber, antioxidants and healthy fats that help lower cholesterol levels, according to the American Dietetic Association.

Step 10

Eat healthier desserts. Not everyone is content with a piece of fruit for a dessert option, so there are low cholesterol alternatives that will satisfy a sweet tooth. Doctors put angel food cake on the list of foods for a diabetic diet. It has enough sugar to sweeten the sweet tooth while not overdoing it, plus is a very low cholesterol food. It can be topped with a fruit such as strawberries to make the body both healthy and happy.

Step 11

Avoid the consumption of foods that are loaded with trans fats in your diet plan, for example pastries bought at store. Meals that contain trans fats really increase your LDL levels. It is better to make desserts by yourself at home to ensure the use of only healthy and low cholesterol ingredients.

Step 12

A balanced diet should constitute of between 50 to 55% of carbohydrates. However, it is necessary to make a proper selection of them. You should reduce those quickly absorbed carbohydrates (sugars, sweets, kneaded pastry, etc.) and increase those that are slowly absorbed (seeds, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes).

Step 13

Drink more water to maintain your body cells well hydrated, which in turn prevents blood from thickening due to excessive amounts of cholesterol. Drink also sodium bicarbonate mineral water regularly during main meals because according to studies published by the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry in 2010, regular sodium-bicarbonated water consumption reduces total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol significantly. The researches explained that bicarbonated water increases the pH of the stomach, thus decreasing the release of the hormone cholecystokinin, which causes gallbladder pour less bile in the intestine and thus produces a lower lipid absorption.

Step 14

Want to drink alcohol? Drink red wine but moderately. Red wine in composition, presents a series of compounds containing aromatic rings with highly antioxidants properties, called polyphenols. The most important are tannins, found mainly in grape skins and seeds. According to studies published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2007, polyphenols inhibit LDL oxidation, which influence the delay in the onset of atherosclerosis, since the oxidized LDL form a plaque in the artery. Red wine also increase levels of HDL. These two features can produce improved cardiovascular health. A glass of red wine a day is enough to get these benefits. More than that (like with any other alcoholic beverages) can cause much damage to health and interpersonal relationships.

Step 15

If you control fat and cholesterol at home, you do not have to leave that far away when you go to the restaurant. You must choose the menu well and reduce portions. Choose foods that are grilled, baked or steamed, avoid fried foods and sausages. In addition, practice portions control, for example by requesting middle portion of a plate.

Cholesterol content of different types meat to help you make heart healthy selections

You do not have to remove meat from your recipes to improve your cholesterol. Knowing the cholesterol content of different types of meat will help you make healthy meat choices for your cholesterol and your heart. The following figures are for a 3 oz. serving.


- The brisket: 80 mg of cholesterol – Top round: 75 mg – Beef sausages: 40 mg of cholesterol

- Rib eye and eye round roast, stew beef and cubed steak cuts: 50 mg of cholesterol


Yummy but healthy chicken breast recipe

Make heart-healthy meat choices like this tasty chicken breast recipe.

- Chicken breasts: 60 mg of cholesterol – Drumsticks, wings and thighs: 100+ mg

- Chicken gizzards: 235 mg of cholesterol – Roast turkey breast: 80 mg

- Duck: 60+ mg of cholesterol


- 1 cut of pork spare rib: 100 mg of cholesterol – Pork chops, center roasts: 60 mg

- Bacon: 80 mg of cholesterol – Cube steaks, tenderloins and stew meat: 60 mg

- Pork sausage: 60 mg of cholesterol


- Lamb legs: 65-78 mg of cholesterol – Lamb chops: 59-78 mg – Roasted ribs: 50-77 mg – Lamb brain: 1,736 – 2,128 mg of cholesterol

Wild Game and Exotic Meats

- Ground venison: 83 mg – Broiled venison tenderloin: 75 mg – Ground bison: 71 mg of cholesterol

- Bison Ribeye 67 mg of cholesterol – Ground ostrich: 71 mg – Ostrich tenderloin: 80 mg of cholesterol

Keep in mind that frying your meat selections in oils or any other fat may significantly elevate the amount of cholesterol. The most healthy and recommended ways of cooking meat are: steaming, boiling and broiling.

Low cholesterol menu ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks


Tasty and healthy breakfast oatmeal recipe

In your diet you can go for a delicious nutritious and healthy oatmeal recipe for breakfast.

- You can begin your day by taking some fruits. Then, go for a cup of milk preferably skim with a piece of soy cheese added to a piece of whole-wheat toasted bread or a low-fat muffin with a slim layer of tub margarine (manufactured with sterols) on top. We recommend tub margarine instead of butter because it is has less cholesterol (even zero cholesterol) and moreover many food producers are actually incorporating plant sterols to tub margarine which can be effective in reducing blood cholesterol.

- Another breakfast meal choice good for your blood cholesterol can be a serving of prepared oatmeal capped with 1/4 cup of seedless raisins and 2 tablespoons of flax seed. Add a serving of yogurt fortified with sterols and finish your meal with a juicy orange. Oatmeal, oranges and raisins are loaded with fibers that have the properties of reducing the quantity of cholesterol absorbed by the body. Eating 5-10 grams of dietary fiber on a daily basis can help decrease total cholesterol along with LDL levels.


The majority of animal foods hold not only saturated fat but also cholesterol. To stay within the above advised recommendations, refrain from high-fat lunch meats and always maintain servings small.

- You may follow a Mediterranean diet plan to lower your cholesterol. Focus your lunch meal on fruits and veggies to have a salad. Pick dark and leafy vegetables for example green spinach or kale for additional soluble fiber. Two days per week, top your greens with skin-free cooked chicken or barbecued salmon to give you wholesome supplies of fats of animal origin.

- Another meal for lunchtime good for cholesterol can incorporate a sandwich of 3 oz of tuna fish with whole-wheat bread and topped with a tomato slice and portion of lettuce. Include a few carrot cuts and a glass of low-fat yogurt to have a lunch meal full of natural goodness. Certain yogurt beverages are also plant sterols fortified. A different noon-time meal may include a serving of black bean soup, a tossed low or nonfat salad dressing in addition to a portion of fruit. Certain fruits such as bananas in fact reduce bad cholesterol in addition to safeguard you from coronary heart diseases.

- Other ideas for a noon-time meal to maintain safe cholesterol levels are 2 ounces of skinless chicken breast served over a romaine lettuce salad with almonds, green spinach and blueberries; brown rice topped with black beans and sliced pepper and tomato cuts, salsa and about 1 ounce of Parmesan cheese.


Heart-healthy fish dinner recipe

Quick and heart-healthy fish recipe for a wholesome dinner meal

At dinner, refrain from using butter or shortening because loaded with trans-fat. Opt instead for extra virgin olive oil or canola oil to prepare your dishes to improve your cholesterol. In case you are a meat lover, make efforts to consider it as a side dish instead of a primary one. When you need more substantial protein supplies, think about salmon, tuna fish or halibut that have less unhealthy fat with less cholesterol. Some dinner menu ideas to reduce your cholesterol are:

- A barbecued trout dished up over a serving of nutritious brown rice with a cup of steam broccoli for a healthy and balanced dinner meal, or grilled salmon served with sweet cooked potato in addition to broccoli. Trout and salmon with other sorts of cold-water fish, for example large mackerel and tuna, have healthy omega-3 essential fatty acids that can be good for improving the levels of cholesterol. You may possibly feed on a couple of chicken fajitas topped with mock sour cream on another dinner time, then have a serving of frozen corn or else greens plus chopped turkey served over a whole wheat pasta in mariner’s sauce.

- You can go without meat by having a bowl of fiber-loaded vegetarian chili, 2 servings of blended veggies using balsamic vinegar with a teaspoon of organic extra-virgin olive oil, an ounce of whole grain roll with a refreshing glass of a juicy orange drink. The anti-oxidants in organic extra-virgin olive oil will also help reduce your cholesterol.


Go for veg-derived foods free of supplemental fat or sweeteners. An idea of snack that helps maintain good cholesterol levels is a mix of a refreshing and delicious smoothie with icy banana pieces plus a splash of almond milk free of sweeteners. Blend along with fat-free cottage type cheese plus garlic powder for a celery dip. Organic seeds and nuts, despite the fact that they are full of calories, are nutritious supplies of fat and if consumed without excess may also help control your levels of cholesterol.

Some herbs that can decrease total cholesterol, LDL, and can also improve HDL levels


Garlic can help decrease total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol as well as triglycerides levels. It is an organic blood thinner which can support an easy blood flow in the arterial blood vessels. A thick blood may result in cholesterol build up as well as plaque on the arterial walls. To be able to obtain the cardiovascular rewards from garlic, consume between 500 and 1,000 mg of garlic on a daily basis. You may split this quantity in three comparable servings during the day. You can take your garlic in dietary supplement form, in tincture form or by consuming the herb on its own. In herb form incorporate it into your meals to have a wholesome flavoring. Keep in mind that garlic can have interaction with other blood thinners.

Green tea

Herbs to improve cholesterol

Herbs that can lower or improve cholesterol levels

Green tea is recognized for the significant levels of anti-oxidants it provides. Anti-oxidants aid to get rid of cholesterol plaque buildup out of the arterial walls. It is also able to increase HDL levels (the good cholesterol) while decreasing LDL (the bad cholesterol). Consume green tea as a drink or in form of dietary supplement. Take a minimum of 600 mg of green tea on a daily basis to be able to get its cholesterol-improving benefits.

Olive leaves

You can take advantage of olive leaf with its extracts because it has the attributes of decreasing LDL cholesterol. This herb consists of unsaturated fats that may decrease your LDL cholesterol level without impacting on your level of HDL cholesterol. You can purchase olive leaf extracts in form of tincture, then include it in your diet with salad dressings or sauces.


Ginger is a blood thinner like garlic herb and it can be beneficial for maintaining heart healthy by preventing blood clots. Additionally, it can reduce bad cholesterol levels, as reported by the University of Maryland. As for garlic, it is advisable to not take it with other blood thinners. You may take it as supplement or as a juice and also add it to many meals in your diet.