What foods should I avoid if I want to lower my cholesterol?

Fat is an essential nutrient needed to help our bodies function properly. The key is to maintain a level of fat intake that our body needs without going overboard. It is important to remember that there is a difference between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol. Saturated and trans fats are linked to elevated LDL, or bad, cholesterol and lower HDL, or good, cholesterol.

Saturated fat is usually solid at room temperature; major food sources include meat such as beef, lamb, pork, chicken skin, and hot dogs, dairy fats from whole milk, hard cheese, ice cream, butter and sour cream and oils such as coconut oil, chocolate, and palm oil.
To lower your low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C), try to follow a diet that is low in saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars and salt. You don’t have to eliminate these foods from your diet entirely, just have a little less of them. Make reading food labels a habit. You’d be surprised by what’s in some of the food you eat! Here are a few tips:
  • Limit foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans fat in your diet. Instead, try olive oil. If you can keep your saturated fats to a minimum (about seven percent of your diet), studies have shown you can decrease LDL-C by as much as 10 percent.
  • Cut back on foods high in dietary cholesterol like whole milk, shellfish, or “organ” meats, like liver. Replace them with skim milk and salmon. Some studies show this may lower your LDL-C by five percent.
  • Cut back on added sugars, like sucrose, glucose, and fructose. Try natural sugars like those found in fruits.
  • Finally, you should try to eat less than 2,300 mg (just over one teaspoon) of salt or sodium per day. People with high blood pressure should have less than 1,500 mg per day.
Many fried foods and commercial baked goods contain cholesterol-raising trans fats that are main culprits of high cholesterol. It is important to cut back on the cholesterol and total fat, especially saturated and trans fats.

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Continue Learning about Cholesterol



We need cholesterol, a fatty, waxy substance because our cells use it to form the membrane -- a critical part of the cell. But because it is fatty, it does not dissolve in the blood, but is carried to your cells by certain protein...

s. We get concerned about cholesterol when there is too much of it, particularly when there is too much "Low-Density Lipoprotein" or LDL cholesterol. This type of cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for coronary heart disease. On the other hand, there is High-Density or HDL cholesterol, which is "good" cholesterol, and good levels of HDL are associated with less risk of stroke and heart attack.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.