Understanding Cholesterol Problems: Prevention
Prevent high cholesterol and lower your odds of getting heart disease with these tips:
- Keep your weight in check. If you're not sure whether your weight is in a healthy place, ask your doctor. If losing some weight would help, ask your doctor for advice on what types of activities you can do.
- Limit cholesterol to no more than 300 milligrams each day. Read food labels to see how much is in packaged foods.
- Make sure no more than 35% of your daily calories come from fat.
- Avoid all trans fats, as well as junk food.
- Exercise three to four times a week. Push yourself, if you can, but moderate exercise is better than none at all.
- Quit smoking.
How to Follow a Low-Cholesterol Diet
Make meat lean. Cut back on red meats that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol. When you do indulge, eat only lean meats with very little visible fat.
Your store's butcher may be able to help you select lower-fat cuts of various meats. Examples of lean beef include London broil, eye of round, and filet mignon. When eating red meat, enjoy unprocessed meats rather than processed meats like bacon and sausage, which are linked to greater odds of developing heart disease and diabetes.
Remove the skin from poultry. That's where much of the fat is.
Eat more seafood. It usually has less fat and cholesterol than other meat. Most shellfish are also low in fat, although some are high in cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of fatty fish (like salmon, tuna, or mackerel) each week for heart health. Those fish are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for you.
Limit fat, including whole-fat dairy products, mayonnaise, and hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils or fats (such as stick margarine). These products are usually high in saturated fats and may also contain trans fats, which can raise your cholesterol level.
Go liquid. For cooking, replace saturated fats that are solid at room temperature (such as butter and shortening) with liquid monounsaturated fats such as olive, canola, and flaxseed oils. There’s evidence that eating moderate amounts of monounsaturated fat -- found in such foods as nuts, seeds, and avocados -- may actually lower LDL cholesterol.
Favor fiber. You get fiber from plant foods. Good sources include grapefruits, apples, beans and other legumes, barley, carrots, cabbage, and oatmeal.
Get more value from plants. Foods rich in plant sterols can help lower cholesterol. Aim for two servings a day. Plant sterols are also added to some soft margarines, granola bars, yogurts, and orange juice.