Want to lower your cholesterol without compromising on taste? Most people fear that “good for my cholesterol” means bland (and tasteless) food. However, a low-cholesterol diet doesn’t have to be all oat bran and tofu.
Here are some simple ways you can replace the foods you already eat to fight cholesterol and have a little fun.
01 of 10
Sprinkle with walnuts and skip the toast
According to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), high consumption of highly processed carbohydrates is associated with higher levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, also known as bad cholesterol.
For a healthy salad, replace toast (high in unhealthy fats and processed carbs) with walnuts, which contain polyunsaturated fats, the good fats that lower LDL and raise HDL (also known as good cholesterol). The NLM recommends that moderate amounts of polyunsaturated (and monounsaturated) fats, rather than saturated and trans fats, are better for your health.
02 of 10
Drink red wine, not cocktails
Moderate alcohol consumption, like this large study published in the American Journal of Circulation in 2017, can lead to a small increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, also known as “good” cholesterol, according to the NLM.
But you may want to swap cocktails for red wine, which contains antioxidants like flavonoids that are thought to lower LDL and raise HDL. In addition, a 2022 study published in the journal Foods noted that wine consumption increased HDL concentrations and serotonin and dopamine levels.
However, due to the harmful effects of alcohol, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends limiting daily consumption to two drinks (for men) or one drink (for women).
03 of 10
More edamame and nuts, less cheese and crackers
As a pre-dinner snack, avoid crackers and cheese, which are high in saturated fat, one of the main causes of high cholesterol. Instead, almonds have been shown to lower LDL. A 2017 study from Pennsylvania found that regular consumption of almonds increased HDL cholesterol levels while improving the way cholesterol is removed from the body.
There’s also edamame, a low-fat, cooked baby soybean that’s popular in Japanese restaurants. A 2019 study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that one cup contains 25 grams of soy protein, which lowers LDL by a small but significant amount. Buy them frozen, put them in boiling water, and drain after 5 minutes: that’s it.
But if you’re really into cheese, choosing low-fat or low-fat cheese might be a good choice, too.
04 of 10
Vinegar and lemon juice beat the salad dressing
You probably know that high-fat salad dressing defeats the purpose of making healthy food choices. According to Medline Plus, cholesterol is found in animal foods, such as egg yolks and whole milk products, which are commonly found in salads.
Instead, opt for lower-cholesterol options like olive oil, vinegar, or lemon juice, says Medline Plus. Olive oil is the healthiest and best fat for cholesterol. Like all fruits and vegetables, lemons are a low-cholesterol choice.
05 of 10
Skip the margarine butter
One tablespoon of butter contains more than 7 grams of saturated fat, which is the recommended 2,000 calories per day, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). It contains 10% of your daily value of dietary cholesterol, and while it’s not as harmful as previously thought (according to a 2018 Nutrients study), it’s one of the main sources of high cholesterol (and atherosclerosis). So butter, other animal fats, and solid margarine may not be the best choices, according to the NLM.
Liquid vegetable oils such as olive, canola, sunflower, corn, and peanut oils are alternatives. Replace butter with vegetable oil; You will replace bad fats with good fats. Try using olive oil or white wine vinegar instead of butter when cooking.
06 of 10
Use turkey instead of beef
Red meat is a source of saturated fat and a source of dietary cholesterol, the two main sources of cholesterol in the blood.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), turkey contains 85% of the saturated fat of lean meat and can easily replace beef in most recipes.
07 of 10
Chicken is fine, fish is better
Although they contain less saturated fat than red meat, turkey and chicken are not completely free of cholesterol.
One of the best strategies for lowering cholesterol through diet is the power of low-fat, heart-healthy omega-3 fats