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Kitchen Makeover for a Low Cholesterol Diet

Follow these 9 steps for a kitchen that makes it simpler to stick to your low cholesterol diet.

Low Cholesterol Diet Tip 4: Replace Refined Grains with Whole Grains. continued...

Instead, buy products made from whole grains or flours.

Whole grains (such as oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat flour, and barley) can bolster a low cholesterol diet in several ways. First, the grains themselves have no cholesterol or saturated fat. Second, oatmeal has lots of soluble fiber, which actually helps bind cholesterol and get it out of your body. Whole grains also have nutrients that help the heart (as well as the rest of your body) and, as complex carbohydrates, provide long-lasting energy to keep you going through the day. 

The fiber in whole grains can keep you feeling full longer, too. That can help you avoid bingeing on unhealthy foods. It can also help keep your total calorie consumption down, a key factor in controlling weight.

Low Cholesterol Diet Tip 5: Hide the Remaining Goodies Well.

Sure, you can put the packaged chocolate chip cookies for your kids on a high shelf in the kitchen. But if you can put them up there, it's probably pretty easy to get them down again.

Consider making not-so-healthy food even less accessible. Try storing it on a shelf in the garage, in the recesses of your freezer, or behind the pots and pans.

''The idea is that if it's harder to get to it, you'll be that much less likely to eat it,'' says Christine Gerbstadt, MD, a registered dietician and practicing physician at Altoona Regional Medical Center in central Pennsylvania.

Low Cholesterol Diet Tip 6: Bring on the Fruits and Vegetables.

Clean the leftovers out of the vegetable bins, and stock up on a variety of fruits and vegetables, in all colors of the rainbow. Fruits and vegetables are rich in soluble fiber, as well as phytochemicals, which have been shown to help prevent heart disease.

Low Cholesterol Diet Tip 7: Make Healthy Foods Accessible.

Wash and chop fruits and vegetables and store them in plastic containers in the refrigerator, so  you can grab them whenever you're hungry. You can also put out bowls or baskets of fruits (such as apples, pears, and plums) for easy access.

''If you make it easier to eat, you'll eat it,'' Gerbstadt says. ''No one wants to pull a melon out of the refrigerator and cut it up. So just do it ahead of time.''

Low Cholesterol Diet Tip 8: Get a Few Good Tools.

Having nonstick frying pans allows you to cook with less butter and oil. Buying your own oil pump allows you to make ''cooking spray'' from the oil of your choice. Good knives (that is, sharp ones) make chopping easier. A steamer lets you to cook vegetables without oil, while still keeping them crisp.

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Is Your Cholesterol Level Heart Healthy?
What is your LDL (low-density lipoprotein) level?

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or
Answer:
Desirable
0-199
Borderline
200-239
High
240+

Your level is currently

Congratulations! Your total cholesterol level is in the Desirable range, and your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is optimal.

Congratulations! Your total cholesterol level is in the Desirable range, and your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is near optimal.

Your total cholesterol level is in the Desirable range, but your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is borderline high. If your LDL goes higher, your total cholesterol level could become Borderline High. Consider reducing the amount of foods you eat with saturated fats and increasing physical activity. If you get more exercise, your level of "good" HDL cholesterol may increase, which could also help to keep your levels of LDL and total cholesterol in check.

Your total cholesterol level is in the Desirable range, but your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is High. This may mean that your level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good" cholesterol, is too low. It is best to have a high level of "good" HDL and a low level of "bad" LDL. The HDL helps keep your LDL level in check. Ask your doctor for your HDL level. If your HDL is low, increasing your physical activity can increase it, which may help reduce your LDL level.

Your total cholesterol level is in the Desirable range, but your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is Very High. This may mean that your level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good" cholesterol, is too low. It is best to have a high level of "good" HDL and a low level of "bad" LDL because the HDL helps keep your LDL level in check. Ask your doctor for your HDL level. If your HDL is low, increasing your physical activity can increase it, which may help reduce your LDL level.

Your total cholesterol level is Borderline High, but fortunately your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is optimal. This could mean you have a high level of high-density lipoprotein, or "good" HDL cholesterol, which protects against heart disease. Or you could have other non-measured increases in LDL-like particles that can increase heart disease. Your LDL level also could be optimal if you are taking a statin medication. Please check with your doctor to get your complete lipid profile and see if you may need additional treatment. In the meantime, find more information on WebMD's Cholesterol Health Center.

Your total cholesterol level is Borderline High, but fortunately your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is near optimal. This could mean you have a high level of high-density lipoprotein, or "good" HDL cholesterol, which protects against heart disease. Or you could have other non-measured increases in LDL-like particles that can increase heart disease. Your LDL level also could be optimal if you are taking a statin medication. Please check with your doctor to get your complete lipid profile and see if you may need additional treatment. In the meantime, find more information on WebMD's Cholesterol Health Center.

Your total cholesterol level is Borderline High. Your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is Borderline High, too. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels!

Your total cholesterol level is Borderline High. Your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is High. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels!

Your total cholesterol level is Borderline High. But your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is Very High. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels!

Your total cholesterol is High, but your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is optimal. This could mean you have a high level of high-density lipoprotein, or "good" HDL cholesterol, which protects against heart disease. Or you could have elevated secondary lipids, such as non-HDL particles that increase the risk of heart disease. Your LDL level also could be optimal if you are taking a statin medication. Please check with your doctor to get your complete lipid profile and see if you may need additional treatment. In the meantime, find more information on WebMD's Cholesterol Health Center.

Your total cholesterol is High, but your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is near optimal. This could mean you have a high level of high-density lipoprotein, or "good" HDL cholesterol, which protects against heart disease. Or you could have elevated secondary lipids, such as non-HDL particles that increase the risk of heart disease. Your LDL level also could be optimal if you are taking a statin medication. Please check with your doctor to get your complete lipid profile and see if you may need additional treatment. In the meantime, find more information on WebMD's Cholesterol Health Center.

Your total cholesterol level is High. Your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is Borderline High. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels!

Your total cholesterol level is High. Your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is High, too. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels! If you are struggling to bring down your total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels, your doctor may prescribe medication, such as statins. Following medication, dietary, and exercise instructions should result in improvements.

Your total cholesterol level is High, and your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is Very High. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels! If you are struggling to bring down your total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels, your doctor may prescribe statins or other cholesterol-lowering medications.

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