Eat a heart-healthy diet
A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, high-fiber foods, lean meats and poultry, fish at least twice a week and fat-free or 1 percent dairy products — and low in saturated and trans fats and cholesterol — is a delicious way to help your cholesterol levels
Eat at least 25 to 30 grams of dietary fiber each day — preferably from whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes.
At the same time, limit your intake of cholesterol from food to less than 300 mg per day. People with high LDL (bad) blood cholesterol levels or who are taking cholesterol medication should consume less than 200 mg of cholesterol per day.
To combat high blood pressure and for overall cardiovascular health, limit sodium to 2,300 mg or less per day. Middle-aged and older adults, and people with high blood pressure — need less than 1,500 mg per day.
French fries, doughnuts, cookies, crackers, muffins, pies and cakes are examples of foods that are high in trans fat. Don't eat them often.
Limit commercially fried foods and baked goods made with shortening or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Not only are these foods very high in fat, but that fat is also likely to be very hydrogenated, meaning a lot of trans fat.
Here are a few that have 3 to 4 grams of fiber:
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 cup strawberries
Raspberries are high in fiber, as one cup has 8 grams.
Here are some vegetable choices that have 3 to 4 grams of fiber:
- 1/2 cup peas
- 1/2 cup cauliflower
- 1 cup carrots
- 1 medium sweet potato
- 1/2 cup squash
Why is soluble fiber so important?
Soluble fiber has been shown to reduce total blood
cholesterol levels and may improve blood sugar levels in people with
diabetes. Best sources of soluble fiber are oats, dried beans and some
fruits and vegetables. Although there is no dietary reference intake for
insoluble or soluble fiber, many experts recommend a total dietary fiber
intake of 25 to 30 grams per day with about one-forth coming from soluble
fiber (6 to 8 grams per day).
Enjoy at least 30 minutes of physical activity more days than not. Walk, bike,
swim, jog, dance — whatever you love to do, do it. You don't need to get your minutes all at once — it's fine to break up your activity into 10- or 15-minute sessions.
Don't exercise right after meals, when it's very hot or humid, or when you just don't feel up to it.
Lifestyle Changes to Improve Your Cholesterol