If you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol and suspect that your eating habits are the main contributing factors, you should take measures and avoid a diet high in LDL (bad) cholesterol foods and triglycerides (which are what contributes to clogged arteries). This may not reverse things for you overnight, but it will surely be effective over the long run, ensuring overall health and preventing heart disease, heart attack, or stroke.
To adopt a diet low in cholesterol, your doctor may recommend the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (or DASH) eating plan or choose another similar therapeutic diet. Alternatively, you can simply follow the given steps to help lower high cholesterol:
1. Always pick healthier fats over the not-so-healthy ones
You need to put limits on the amount of fats you consume because only 25-25% of your total calorie count should be from dietary fats, and in the case of saturated fats, the intake should be less than 7% of the total calories consumed. Various forms of meats, processed foods, and dairy products contain saturated fats, which end up increasing your cholesterol levels. Foods like French fries, crackers, and margarine contain trans fats, which negatively affect good cholesterol levels as well. You can change your diet to include more lean meat, unsaturated oils, and nuts to help with high-cholesterol issues.
2. Supplement your diet to add insoluble fibers
When your diet contains soluble fibers, your digestive tract is protected against cholesterol getting absorbed. Some of the best foods you can count on in this category that are not part of a diet high in cholesterol are whole grain cereals (oat bran or oatmeal), fruits (pears, oranges, prunes, apples, and bananas), and legumes (lentils, kidney beans, and lima beans).
The maximum intake of cholesterol allowed on any given day should not exceed 200 mg. Cholesterol-rich foods are usually organ meat, whole milk-based dairy products, egg yolks, and shrimp, which should be consumed in moderation.
3. Eating fish that is rich in omega 3 fatty acids is a plus
This may not bring down the LDL levels in your body, but the good cholesterol levels go up, ensuring that clogging of the arteries is prevented, reducing the risk of a heart attack. Some of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids are fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel. You can eat them as regularly as twice a week, but keep in mind to not overdo it as it can lead to negative effects.
4. Last but not least, cut out salt as much as you can
The maximum amount of sodium consumption allowed in a day is about just 1 teaspoon, which equals about 2,300 mg. This, again, is not a way to reverse the effects of a diet high in cholesterol on your body, but it will help ensure heart health.
5. Fresh fruits and veggies
Two other dietary tips you need to bear in mind are to eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible to amp up on nutrients, and limit your alcohol consumption as it can affect your heart health by increasing cholesterol levels.