Best Diet Plan For Lowering Cholesterol

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Best Diet Plan For Lowering Cholesterol – A low cholesterol diet is an eating plan that helps you lower your cholesterol (also known as LDL or “bad” cholesterol) and triglyceride levels, while eating foods you like. Check out this guide to learn how to lower cholesterol naturally through diet changes.

How to Lower Cholesterol with Diet

What is cholesterol?

Your body needs some cholesterol to work properly. But if you have too much in your blood, it can stick to the walls of your arteries and narrow or even block them. This puts you at risk for coronary artery disease and other heart diseases.

Cholesterol travels through the blood on proteins called lipoproteins. One type, LDL, is sometimes called the “bad” cholesterol. A high LDL level leads to a buildup of cholesterol in your arteries. Another type, HDL, is sometimes called the “good” cholesterol. It carries cholesterol from other parts of your body back to your liver. Then your liver removes the cholesterol from your body.

What are the treatments for high cholesterol?

The treatments for high cholesterol are heart-healthy lifestyle changes and medicines. The lifestyle changes include healthy eating, weight management, and regular physical activity.

How can I lower cholesterol with diet?

Heart-healthy lifestyle changes include a diet to lower your cholesterol. The DASH eating plan is one example. Another is the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet, which recommends that you

Choose healthier fats.You should limit both total fat and saturated fat. No more than 25 to 35% of your daily calories should come from dietary fats, and less than 7% of your daily calories should come from saturated fat. Depending upon how many calories you eat per day, here are the maximum amounts of fats that you should eat:

Calories per DayTotal FatSaturated Fat
1,50042-58 grams10 grams
2,00056-78 grams13 grams
2,50069-97 grams17 grams
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Saturated fat is a bad fat because it raises your LDL (bad cholesterol) level more than anything else in your diet. It is found in some meats, dairy products, chocolate, baked goods, and deep-fried and processed foods.

Trans fat is another bad fat; it can raise your LDL and lower you HDL (good cholesterol). Trans fat is mostly in foods made with hydrogenated oils and fats, such as stick margarine, crackers, and french fries.

Instead of these bad fats, try healthier fats, such as lean meat, nuts, and unsaturated oils like canola, olive, and safflower oils.

Limit foods with cholesterol. If you are trying to lower your cholesterol, you should have less than 200 mg a day of cholesterol. Cholesterol is in foods of animal origin, such as liver and other organ meats, egg yolks, shrimp, and whole milk dairy products.

Eat plenty of soluble fiber. Foods high in soluble fiber help prevent your digestive tract from absorbing cholesterol. These foods include:

  • Whole-grain cereals such as oatmeal and oat bran
  • Fruits such as apples, bananas, oranges, pears, and prunes
  • Legumes such as kidney beans, lentils, chick peas, black-eyed peas, and lima beans

Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can increase important cholesterol-lowering compounds in your diet. These compounds, called plant stanols or sterols, work like soluble fiber.

Eat fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids. These acids won’t lower your LDL level, but they may help raise your HDL level. They may also protect your heart from blood clots and inflammation and reduce your risk of heart attack. Fish that are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, tuna (canned or fresh), and mackerel. Try to eat these fish two times a week.

Limit salt. You should try to limit the amount of sodium (salt) that you eat to no more than 2,300 milligrams (about 1 teaspoon of salt) a day. That includes all the sodium you eat, whether it was added in cooking or at the table, or already present in food products. Limiting salt won’t lower your cholesterol, but it can lower your risk of heart diseases by helping to lower your blood pressure. You can reduce your sodium by instead choosing low-salt and “no added salt” foods and seasonings at the table or while cooking.

Limit alcohol. Alcohol adds extra calories, which can lead to weight gain. Being overweight can raise your LDL level and lower your HDL level. Too much alcohol can also increase your risk of heart diseases because it can raise your blood pressure and triglyceride level. One drink is a glass of wine, beer, or a small amount of hard liquor, and the recommendation is that:

  • Men should have no more than two drinks containing alcohol a day
  • Women should have no more than one drink containing alcohol a day

Nutrition labels can help you figure out how much fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, fiber, and sodium is in the foods that you buy.

10 Best Diet Plans To Lower Cholesterol

You’re taking a new look at food, with a goal of bringing down your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol level. One thing that may make it easier is to have a plan that sets you up for success, and which has research backing it up.

That’s where these 10 diets come in. They can help you lower your cholesterol and lose extra weight and still enjoy food that tastes great.

1. Mediterranean Diet

You’ll eat what people in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea have relied on for centuries: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, lean meats, and olive oil.

The proof is in the pudding: Scientific research suggests it’s excellent for heart health.

Many doctors use this as a go-to diet for people with high cholesterol. “The fact that it’s not a fad, it tastes good, it’s flexible, and adaptable make it easier to share with patients and set them up for success,” says James Beckerman, MD, a cardiologist in Portland, OR.

Heard about the Mediterranean Diet? “It’s not a fad, it tastes good, it’s flexible.” — cardiologist James Beckerman, MD

2. TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes)

This three-part plan (diet, exercise, and weight control) can lower your LDL cholesterol by 20% to 30%.

You’ll say goodbye to trans fats and avoid foods with saturated fat, but you won’t feel deprived. You’ll eat healthier versions of your favorite foods, like lean ham instead of bacon.

There’s even room for pancakes, peanut butter, and ice cream, as long as you keep portions in check.

3. DASH Diet

This easy-to-follow plan gets a stamp of approval from the American Heart Association and is proven to lower blood pressure.

Bonus: It works fast. In one study, people saw results in just 2 weeks.

You’ll eat foods like grains, fruits, and veggies, which give you fiber and other nutrients. And you’ll get lean proteins like low-fat milk products, beans, and fish. You’ll cut way back on sodium, added sugar, sweets, and red meat.

4. Mayo Clinic Diet

This plan just might become your new way of life.

You’ll choose high-fiber foods like oatmeal and oat bran, fish and other foods loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, nuts like walnuts and almonds, and olive oil, to help lower cholesterol.

Exercise and portion size are also big parts of this plan, which begins with a 2-week jump-start phase and keeps going forever.

5. Vegetarian or Vegan Diet

These plant-based diets could do a lot for your cholesterol, if you choose your foods wisely.

Vegetarians don’t eat any meat. Vegans don’t eat any animal products, including meat, eggs, dairy, or even honey.

Studies suggest vegetarians are less likely to get heart disease and high blood pressure. That’s because a diet with low or no animal products tends to be lower in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol.

But if you’re going vegetarian or vegan, you’ll still need to check food labels and keep sweets and fatty foods to a minimum.

You may also want to check with a dietitian that you’re getting enough protein and essential nutrients like iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, and zinc.

6. Flexitarian Diet

Like the idea of eating a mostly vegetarian diet, but with room for small portions of meat, fish, and poultry? That’s called a “flexitarian” diet. It has many of the health benefits of a vegetarian diet but room for flexibility.

You’ll fill about half your plate with fruits and vegetables. The other half will be a mix of whole grains and lean protein. Low-fat dairy products are also recommended, like milk, yogurt, and cheese.

7. The Engine 2 Diet

This is a plant-based diet created by a firefighter and former professional athlete. It’s a radical diet change to lower your LDL cholesterol levels and boost your HDL levels.

It’s not a very flexible plan. You’ll enjoy lots of whole grains, veggies, fruits, legumes, tofu, and soy products, but no meat, dairy, or processed foods.

8. Biggest Loser Diet

You can lower your cholesterol while losing weight, lowering your blood pressure, getting stronger, and boosting your energy with this diet, which is based on the hit TV show.

Exercise is a must. And if you want results like the people on the TV show, going the extra mile is key.

9. Weight Watchers

This is a great plan for long-term health benefits, especially if you want to manage your weight. It’s a well-balanced diet that can help you feel full and satisfied, so it’s likely that you’ll stick to it.

“You don’t want to ‘diet’ your entire life, but rather choose meals that are consistent with healthy life choices,” says Paul B. Langevin, MD, of Philadelphia.

The plan works best if you choose meals that are high in protein and fiber, and eat fewer carbohydrates and fats, Langevin says.

10. Dean Ornish Diet

Ornish’s plan comes in several levels. The strictest one is very low in fat and leaves out animal products.

In one small study, people who followed this ultra-low-fat diet lowered their cholesterol levels by more than 30%. President Bill Clinton said Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease inspired him to radically change his diet following emergency heart surgery.

Many people may find that tough to do. But Ornish also gives you other options that aren’t as strict, depending on your health goals.

“Some fats are good and necessary,” says Langevin. He says fats like fish oils, polyunsaturated oils, and omega-3 fatty acids, which are off-limits on the strictest version of Ornish’s plan, are good for you and necessary to keep your body functioning well.

What Are Some High Cholesterol Symptoms?

Unfortunately, high cholesterol is a silent disease, which means it has no symptoms. The only way to know if you have high cholesterol is to get a blood test from a medical provider. The side effects of high cholesterol can be serious because it builds up in our arteries as plaque, which limits blood flow to vital organs. High cholesterol can lead to chest pain, stroke or heart attack if untreated.

High Cholesterol Diet Guidelines

High cholesterol levels are often treated with a combination of prescription medication and diet and lifestyle changes. These healthy eating tips can help to lower your cholesterol to a safe level with or without the use of medication, depending on your individual needs. When you combine these basic high-cholesterol diet guidelines with other healthy lifestyle habits, like exercising daily, not smoking and drinking less alcohol, you’ll see your health improve and cholesterol levels return to a healthy range even faster.

Be selective with your fats

Though it sounds backward, foods high in dietary cholesterol (such as shrimp and eggs) don’t actually seem to raise our body’s cholesterol levels. To lower your cholesterol, limit foods with saturated fats (like red meat, processed meats such as hot dogs and sausage, and cheese and other high-fat dairy items) and instead, go for leaner white meat (like chicken and turkey) and plant-based protein options (like tofu and beans), and switch over to low-fat dairy products. Additionally, you’ll want to include more heart-healthy fats from foods like salmon, avocados, olive oil, nuts and seeds, which help to improve cholesterol levels.

A step that can have an even larger impact on lowering cholesterol levels is eliminating foods made with hydrogenated fats and partially hydrogenated fats (also known as trans fats), which are highly processed fats (commonly found in shelf-stable baked foods and processed peanut butter) that are associated with increased risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. The FDA has banned food manufacturers from adding trans fats as of January 2020, but still check ingredient lists and avoid products with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats listed.

Up your fiber intake

Increasing your fiber intake can help lower your cholesterol. We do this for you in the meal plan below-every day of the plan contains about 30 grams of fiber, which is the recommended daily amount. Most of us know that fiber plays an important role in keeping our digestive systems moving along, but it can also lower cholesterol by binding to the fat in our gut, which prevents our body from absorbing it. Good sources of fiber are fruits and vegetables, whole grains (like oatmeal and brown rice), as well as beans and lentils.

Eat more whole foods

By eating more whole foods, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and lentils, nuts and seeds and other healthy fats, there will be less room for the not-as-healthy foods that can increase cholesterol levels or contribute to other heart-related issues. Foods (ad drinks) containing excess sodium and added sugars can lead to high blood pressure and weight gain, both of which are precursors to heart disease. If your diet largely consists of healthy whole foods, then those times when you’re really craving a juicy steak or that doughnut will have less of an impact.

How to Meal-Prep Your Week of Meals

Set yourself up for success this week by getting some meal prep done in advance.

  • Prepare Meal-Prep Turkey Cobb Salad to have for lunch on Days 2 through 5
  • Make the Citrus Vinaigrette to have throughout the week.
  • Bake a batch of the Maple Granola to have throughout the week.

3-Day Meal Plan To Lower Cholesterol

Enjoy to your heart’s content.

DAY 1

Start Your Cholesterol-Reducing Meal Plan With Whole Grains and Fresh Fruit

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Breakfast at the Pritikin Center is a veritable bounty of fresh fruit like berries, hot whole-grain cereals like oatmeal, and other hearty treats that make up the Pritikin Eating Plan.

Breakfast

  • Oatmeal with Fresh Berries and Nonfat Milk or SoymilkOats are high in cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber. So are berries, all berries – blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries. How tasty!
  • Tea or Coffee, If DesiredIf you’d like, add a little nonfat milk or soymilk and/or a packet of sugar substitute. Good, proven-to-be-safe choices are sucralose (Splenda) and stevia (many brands are available, such as Truvia and SweetLeaf)

Mid-Morning Snack (If you’re hungry)

  • Baby Carrots and Broccoli with Greek Yogurt DipTo make this dip, combine in a small mixing bowl ¾ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt, 1 minced garlic clove, 2 tablespoons chives, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and a few grinds of black pepper. Use leftovers as a creamy, tangy, totally healthy topping for your baked potato on Day 2.

Lunch

  • Sweet Potato with a Dollop of Dijon Mustard (Low-Sodium)No time to bake a sweet potato? No worries! Microwave it. Simply pierce the skin 5 or 6 times. Then nuke for about 6 minutes, depending on the size of your sweet potato, rotating halfway through. It’s done when the skin puffs to a crisp finish and is soft to the touch. The flesh should be sweet and pillowy.
  • Big Salad of Romaine Lettuce, Red Onions, and Cherry Tomatoes Tossed with Aged Balsamic Vinegar and Grilled Tofu Cubes Grilled, Balsamic Tofu Cubes Recipe

Mid-Afternoon Snack (If you’re hungry)

  • A Big, Crisp Apple

Dinner

  • Big Salad of Baby Greens Tossed with Pritikin’s Tuscan Sunshine Italian Dressing Unlike many other salad dressings, Pritikin’s dressings are genuinely low in added sodium, sugars, and fats, and bursting with flavor from savory ingredients like ginger, herbs, and mustards. They’re developed by Pritikin’s chefs right in the kitchen at the Pritikin Longevity Center. Order them online in the Pritikin Foods.
  • Salmon with Sweet Chili Sauce Salmon with Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe
  • Garlic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts Vegetables are great sources of soluble fiber, with Brussels sprouts topping the list. Use the leftovers as a wonderfully “meaty” addition to tomorrow afternoon’s green salad. Garlic-Roasted Brussel Sprouts Recipe

Dessert (If you’re hungry)

  • Vanilla Yogurt (Nonfat, No-Sugar-Added, 1 Cup) with Fresh Raspberries

DAY 2

Breakfast

  • Egg-White Omelet with Fresh Salsa and Chopped Green OnionsEven simpler than making an omelet: Cook your eggs in the microwave. Lightly spray the inside of a microwaveable bowl with oil spray like Pam. Scramble your egg whites in the bowl. Add veggies, black pepper, or no-salt-added seasoning like Pritikin All-Purpose Seasoning. Nuke, covered, for about 1 to 2 minutes, depending on the heat of your microwave.
  • Half of Cantaloupe Filled with Cottage Cheese (Fat-Free, Low-Sodium)A good brand choice for fat-free, low-sodium cottage cheese is Friendship. There are also store brands.
  • Coffee or Tea, If DesiredIf you’d like, add a little nonfat milk or soymilk and/or a packet of Splenda or stevia.

Mid-Morning Snack (If you’re hungry)

  • PearKeep a big bowl full of fresh fruit – apples, bananas, pears, grapefruits, tangerines, grapes, and more – on your kitchen counter. Recent research found that people who have bowls of fruit on their kitchen counters weigh significantly less than people who do not.

Lunch

Homemade Soup is a Natural Choice For Lowering Cholesterol

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This “Homemade” Barley Soup may look as if it took hours simmering on the stove, but you can actually whip it up in just a few minutes.

  • Big Salad of Baby Spinach and Roasted Brussels Sprouts (saved from last night’s dinner)
  • “Homemade” Barley Soup for the NonCookYes, you can do this! In the freezer section of the grocery store, pick up a box of Tabatchnick Barley and Mushroom Soup – Low Sodium. While it’s heating up on the stove, toss in ½ to 1 cup of sliced fresh mushrooms and ½ cup chopped celery. Ladle your soup into a bowl and top with freshly diced green onions, if desired. So gourmet! So easy!

Mid-Afternoon Snack (If you’re hungry)

  • Big Handful of GrapesFresh fruit every day helps your heart, a large, 500,000-person study recently found. Those who ate fresh fruit every day had about one-third reduced risk of dying from a heart attack compared to those who rarely or never ate fruit.

Dinner

Veggie Burgers Can Lower Cholesterol

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If you think lowering cholesterol means saying goodbye to burgers, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by today’s lunch.

  • Meatless Burger Topped with Slices of Roasted Red PepperVeggie patties have only about half the calories of red meat patties, and 0 artery-clogging saturated fat. Good low-sodium, high-soluble-fiber choices are Engine 2 Pinto Habanero and Tuscan Kale White Bean, available at Whole Foods Markets.Top your burger with slices of roasted red bell pepper. So smoky and savory! Roast 5 or 6 peppers at a time so that you can use them throughout the week on salads, in soups, or as a side dish.Here’s how: Preheat your broiler to high and roast your whole peppers under the broiler on an aluminum-wrapped tray for 15 to 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes as their skins darken to black. Remove. Cool. Then remove skins, stems, and seeds, and slice. Refrigerate leftovers.
  • Baked Potato with the Greek Yogurt Dip Saved from Yesterday’s Mid-Morning SnackOr top your baked potato with nonfat sour cream and chives.

Dessert (If you’re hungry)

  • Passion Fruit

DAY 3

Breakfast

  • Homemade MuesliGrate 1 apple or pear. Mix with ¼ cup of dry rolled oats and ½ cup of nonfat, plain Greek yogurt. Allow to stand for 15 minutes or refrigerate overnight. Stir in a packet of Splenda or stevia, and top with a tablespoon of flaxseeds.
  • Coffee or Tea, If DesiredIf you’d like, add a little nonfat milk or soymilk and/or a packet of Splenda or stevia.

Mid-Morning Snack (If you’re hungry)

  • Navel Orange or 2 to 3 Tangerines

Lunch

Snacks and Salads with Edamame Lower Cholesterol

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Edamame is the base for a great salad, but it’s also a favorite cholesterol-lowering snack at the Pritikin health resort.

  • Asian Edamame SaladThis salad is “heavy” enough to serve as a one-dish meal. It also packs some nice tang, nuttiness, and crunch. You can often find edamame (soybeans) in both the refrigerated and frozen sections of supermarkets.For the dressing, whisk together a tablespoon of rice vinegar, a pinch of wasabi, and a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger. Toss with ¾ cup edamame, ¼ chopped cucumber, ¼ cup chopped celery, and a handful of sliced radishes.
  • Steamed Asparagus

Mid-Afternoon Snack (If you’re hungry)

  • Corn on the CobMicrowave, husk and all, for 3 to 5 minutes. Alternatively, microwave a husked ear of corn by wetting a paper towel and wringing it out. Wrap the ear in the moist towel and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.

Dinner

  • Trout Fillets with Mango SalsaServes 2.
    Season two 4-ounce trout fillets with Pritikin Fish Seasoning or other salt-free seasonings, such as lemon pepper. Place in a 350-degree oven and bake till meat is opaque and flakes easily with a fork, about 20 minutes. Top with Mango Salsa. What flavor! To make it, combine 2 cups chopped mango, 1 cup chopped cucumber, 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes, ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro leaves, 2 tablespoons of lime juice, and half of a very finely diced jalapeno, seeds removed.  Leftovers make superb toppings for veggie burgers or other fish, such as salmon and tilapia.
  • Big Salad with Kale and Sliced Apple, Tossed with Pritikin’s Heavenly Horseradish BalsamicOrder Heavenly Horseradish Balsamic in the online Pritikin Market.
  • Super-Simple White Bean SoupLightly mist a heavy nonstick pot with oil spray. Over high heat, sauté a half-pound of diced carrots till they start to brown, stirring constantly. Add 4 cloves of minced garlic, a teaspoon of salt-free Italian seasoning, and a pinch of red pepper flakes (more if you like it hotter). Stir for another minute. Add a 15-ounce can of no-salt-added diced tomatoes and 1-1/2 cups of water. Simmer till carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in a 15-ounce can of white beans (no salt added) and heat through. Finish with black pepper. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers.

The Chocolate Dessert That Lowers Cholesterol

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Think life isn’t worth living if you have to say “no” to chocolate dessert? Fortunately, it’s not a choice you have to make with this meal plan to lower cholesterol. You can still enjoy many of your favorite foods!

Dessert (If you’re hungry)

  • Chocolate Nonfat Frozen Yogurt (1/2 cup)A good brand choice is Stonyfield Nonfat After Dark Chocolate. Do keep your serving to a half cup. Any more and you’re swallowing a lot of added sugar.

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