Question: I just found out I have high cholesterol. I want to try lowering it through diet, can you help?
Terese Scollard, R.D., L.D., Providence Health & Services Nutrition Services
GoodHealth News - Providence Health Plans
Answer: Congratulations for taking an active role in your health! In improving your cholesterol levels, you're also reducing your risk of coronary heart disease. Coronary heart disease leads to heart attacks and is the number one cause of death for both men and women.
These steps can help improve your cholesterol. Make these changes in moderation and as part of a balanced diet.
- Reduce saturated fats and trans fats in your diet. Choose very soft or liquid margarine, olive and canola oils instead of butter, stick margarine and shortening.
- Check labels of crackers, cakes, chips and cookies for partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated fats – if it's on the label, leave it on the shelf.
- Eat fish two or three times a week. Fish, such as salmon, tuna and halibut, contains omega-3 fatty acids, which help improve cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
- Eat 10 to 25 grams daily of soluble fiber such as oatmeal, ground flaxseed, avocados, broccoli, apples, peaches and dried prunes.
- Use egg substitutes or egg whites instead of whole eggs. For protein, turn to lean meats and skinless poultry, and low-fat dairy products.
- Incorporate whole grains (look for 100 percent whole grain on the label), fruits, vegetables and legumes into your daily diet.
Remember that 30 minutes of daily physical activity, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and quitting smoking are also very effective in reducing your cholesterol levels.