Lowering levels of harmful cholesterol in your body is no longer as simple as avoiding foods that have high cholesterol content. To get the best results, you need a proper and well laid out low cholesterol diet plan.
Research shows that the quantity of saturated fat in your meal plan and what you replace it with is more important. Instead of eating foods that lower cholesterol, you should have health goals for your diet. Below is a simple diet plan to help you lose weight fast and live a healthy lifestyle.
Here are foods that lower cholesterol:
1. Eat Foods that Minimize Blood Cholesterol
Science has shown that foods rich in fiber help lower the amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream.
How Soluble Fiber Works
It creates a gel that holds together cholesterol in the stomach and prevents the body from re-absorbing it. That way, less cholesterol ends up in the blood.
You Can’t Do Without It
Beans are the best and most available soluble fiber source. Beans are ‘super fibers’ – imagine that eating just one cup of beans (any kind) per day can reduce your cholesterol levels by as much as 10% in 6 weeks.
Keep It Balanced
Although beans are good for lowering cholesterol, they shouldn’t be the only food in your low cholesterol diet. Mix things up a bit and eat a variety of foods that lower cholesterol. The options include yams, Brussels sprouts, berries, barley, oats, fruits, and vegetables.
2. Reduce Your Intake of Foods that Increase Blood Cholesterol
Your diet plan needs to avoid saturated fat-rich foods such as coconut oil, butter, fatty meats, egg yolks, organ meat, and dairy foods like cheese and whole or low-fat milk.
You should also avoid cooking with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils because it results in the formation of trans fatty acids, which raise the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and lower high-density lipoproteins (HDL) in the body.
3. Always Go For Plant Proteins Instead of Meat
If your goal is to lower the amount of bad cholesterol in your blood as much as possible and reverse the build-up of fats in your arteries, you should give up on meat.
Why Meat is Bad
Even the most lean cut meat such as skinless chicken contains a small amount of saturated fat and dietary cholesterol. However, if you must eat meat, limit your intake to once a week and a 3.5 ounce serving.
Alternatively, you can go for fish rich in omega-3 since they can reduce blood clotting and triglyceride levels. In case you miss fresh fish and decide to choose canned fish, select something with low-sodium and without added salt varieties.
Why Plant Proteins Are Better
Plant proteins such as beans and tofu contain soluble fiber to stop cholesterol from getting into the blood stream and are free from saturated fat.
4. Reduce Your Intake of Sugar, Industrialized Foods, and Salt
The main reason why you should eat foods that lower cholesterol is because it’s safe for your heart. Minimizing salt intake also has the same effects – taking too much salt increases your blood pressure and heart attack risk.
Industrialized foods and drinks such as potato chips and soft drinks can raise the triglyceride fat levels which are harmful to the heart.
Eating foods with high amounts of sugar can increase your risk of getting diabetes and heart attacks.
These items have been included in the diet plan because they tend to be used with foods that lower cholesterol. Try to minimize their consumption by finding alternatives; for example, instead of having soda with tofu, try drinking water.
5. Treat Yourself
Having a low cholesterol diet plan doesn’t mean that you should stop having a few treats. Doing so minimizes your chances of falling back into old unhealthy eating habits.
Below are a few healthy snack choices to help you deal with your cravings:
- Baked sweet potato with greek yogurt
- Celery sticks with pineapple serrano hummus
- Chocolate nonfat frozen yogurt
It’s not going to be easy for you to follow this diet plan, but you have to persevere. Try and try again until you get things right. Foods that lower cholesterol can also be tasty once you get the hang of things and start experimenting with ingredients.