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Your Heart-Healthy Grocery Shopping List

Healthy eating starts with having the right heart-healthy foods in your kitchen. They help lower cholesterol and keep your blood pressure in check. If you aren't sure which foods to buy, print this list to take to the supermarket.

Refrigerator Essentials

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: Loaded with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, fruits and veggies also have fiber, which lowers cholesterol and improves heart health. Pull them out first when you want something to eat. Remember, you need 5 cups of fruits and vegetables a day.

  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Eggplant
  • Grapes
  • Kale
  • Oranges
  • Pears
  • Squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini

Dairy and Dairy Alternatives: Dairy is a great source of calcium. Just skip the cream, and choose low-fat or nonfat options.

  • Buttermilk, low-fat or nonfat
  • Cheese, nonfat or reduced-fat
  • Cottage cheese or ricotta cheese, nonfat or 1%
  • Cream cheese, nonfat or light
  • Creamers, nonfat
  • Milk, skim or 1%
  • Sour cream, nonfat
  • Yogurt, nonfat or 1%

Soy milk, almond milk, and other non-dairy products may also be options. Check to see if they're fortified with calcium and other nutrients. When shopping for these drinks, choose the unsweetened products to avoid added sugar.

Meat, Poultry, Fish, and Meat Substitutes: The American Heart Association suggests two servings of fish a week. Eat more heart-healthy tofu and other soy protein, too. Limit fatty cuts of meat.

  • Beef, lean cuts and lean ground round or sirloin
  • Chicken or turkey breasts and tenders, skinless, boneless
  • Chicken or turkey, ground
  • Fish, high in omega-3s, such as herring, mackerel, salmon, trout, tuna
  • Pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat
  • Seitan
  • Tempeh
  • Tofu

Frozen Foods: When your favorite fruits and veggies are out of season, choose frozen ones for nutritious desserts, side dishes, and snacks.

  • Fruits without added sugar (for example, frozen blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries)
  • Soybeans (edamame)
  • Vegetables and vegetable blends without added sauce, gravy, or sodium

Pantry Essentials

Beans, Grains, Soups, and Sauces: Beans and whole grains offer fiber to help lower your cholesterol.

  • Barley
  • Beans, canned, reduced-sodium: assorted cans of beans such as black, garbanzo, kidney, navy, and pinto
  • Beans, dried: Choose your favorite beans.
  • Broth, reduced-sodium chicken, beef, or vegetable
  • Cereals, whole-grain (Note: Choose cereals that have 5 or more grams of dietary fiber and fewer than 8 grams of sugar per serving.)
  • Cornmeal
  • Flaxseed, ground or whole
  • Flour, whole wheat
  • Grains such as wheat berries, couscous, polenta, millet, bulgur, and quinoa
  • Oat bran
  • Oats, rolled, steel-cut, or Irish
  • Pasta sauce, low-fat or fat-free
  • Pasta, whole wheat, spelt, or kamut (Note: These whole-grain pastas come in bowtie, fettuccini, lasagna, spaghetti, fusilli, spiral, elbow macaroni, and ravioli varieties.)
  • Rice: brown, wild, and brown basmati
  • Soups, low-sodium, and 98% fat-free cream of mushroom
  • Soy flour
  • Tomato paste
  • Tomatoes, whole or diced, reduced-sodium
  • Vegetarian or nonfat refried beans

WebMD Medical Reference

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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