Printable Low Cholesterol Food List (PDF)
Even in otherwise healthy individuals, high cholesterol levels might result in serious health concerns in the long run.
A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that about one in every three Americans has high cholesterol, a risk factor shown to significantly increase the likelihood of developing heart disease.
A high-cholesterol diet can also raise your risk of stroke, and there are no warning signs to alert you to this risk. The content of this article is intended solely for general information purposes. If you are experiencing high cholesterol, it is recommended that you consult with your physician.
How Can You Lower Your Cholesterol in a Healthy Way?
A high LDL cholesterol level leads to an increased risk for heart disease and stroke since it can promote plaque to build up in the arteries, a disorder known as atherosclerosis.
A blood test can determine if you have high cholesterol, and your physician may advise you to engage in physical activity or take medication in addition to eating a healthy, low-cholesterol diet.
Even though there are several diets ideal for hypertension and weight loss management, you could also lower your HDL by following a low cholesterol diet not linked to any other diet plan.
A low cholesterol diet advocates consuming veggies, fruits, nuts, whole grains, lean animal proteins, seeds, and healthy fats.
The diet restricts the consumption of harmful fats and foods with high carbs. Increasing fiber and decreasing unhealthy fats to lose weight.
Besides helping to lower cholesterol levels, the diet also minimizes plaque accumulation.
Specific dietary or lifestyle changes a physician recommends may help decrease LDL levels and offer a more favorable HDL-to-LDL ratio. Let’s look at a couple of examples to decrease cholesterol levels.
- Consume more fiber: Research shows that taking in more fiber, the particularly soluble fiber in beans, fruits, and oats, can help decrease the levels of LDL cholesterol.
- Boost physical activity: Being more physically active is a brilliant way to decrease cholesterol levels. Aerobic exercise seems to be the best way to decrease LDL.
- Cut weight: Cutting excess weight is one of the best ways to decrease cholesterol levels. It can increase HDL while decreasing LDL, which is ideal for your well-being.
- Limit unhealthy habits: Limiting unhealthy habits such as smoking can considerably cut LDL levels. Smoking increases LDL cholesterol levels as well as the risk of heart disease.
- Boost dietary omega-3s: Taking more omega-3-rich foods such as salmon or omega-3 supplements such as fish oil tablets has been proven to raise HDL and drop LDL.
- Take more fruits and vegetables: Studies show that people who eat more fruits and vegetables have lower LDL cholesterol levels and are less likely to contract heart disease.
There are numerous other ways to reduce high levels of cholesterol. But using some of the methods illustrated above can result in a considerable decrease in cholesterol and lead to other health benefits such as weight loss.
Is Cholesterol Bad For You?
Cholesterol is a waxy material in the body and animal products such as dairy, eggs, and meat.
It has various vital roles, such as bile production, hormones, and vitamin D, necessary for breaking down fats.
Cholesterol is a vital part of all cells in your body, offering cell membranes elasticity and vigor.
The human liver generates all the cholesterol needed to function well, but cholesterol can also be introduced into the body by taking animal products.
Since cholesterol doesn’t augur well with body liquids such as blood, it’s ferried by particles known as lipoproteins, including HDL (high-density) and LDL (low-density).
LDL is commonly known as ‘Bad Cholesterol’ because it’s linked with plaque buildup in the arteries, while HDL is ‘Good Cholesterol’ and helps remove surplus cholesterol from the body.
When extra cholesterol is taken inside the human body, it compensates by decreasing the cholesterol it naturally brings in.
On the contrary, when dietary cholesterol consumption is low, the body boosts cholesterol production to ensure an adequate level of this important substance.
Not only about 25% of the cholesterol in your body comes from dietary sources; the rest comes from the liver.
What are the Various Types of Fat?
Generally, people should aspire to a diet that rallies high HDL and low LDL cholesterol levels.
However, fat intake impacts this balance because fatty acids attach to liver cells and standardize the production of cholesterol.
You should take note of not only the general amount of fat in your diet but also where the fat is coming from. Let’s look at the types of fat found in foods today.
- Saturated fats: Saturated fats are primarily found in dairy products and meat. They direct the liver to generate more LDL (low-density) cholesterol).
- Trans fats: Trans fats are solid vegetable oils. Manufacturers usually employ an artificial procedure known as hydrogenation to generate Transfats. Some foods containing transfats include baked goods, fried foods, and packaged foods.
- Unsaturated fats: Unsaturated fats are more common in beans, fish, nuts, plants, seeds, and vegetable oils. Specific unsaturated fats can help increase the level at which the liver reabsorbs and breaks down LDL (low-density) cholesterol.
Low Cholesterol Food List
Green Leafy Vegetables
Dietary fiber found in leafy green vegetables is essential to a healthy diet. Most veggies are high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber but also low in calories.
Diets high in fiber provide many health benefits, such as a lower risk of overweight, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and cognitive dysfunction.
Check out this list of the healthiest leafy green veggies to include in your low cholesterol diet list.
- Collard greens
- Beet greens
- Swiss chard
- Romaine lettuce
- Turnip greens
- Bok Choy
Other Low Cholesterol Veggies
- Sweet potatoes
Increasing your intake of fiber-rich fruits may help control your LDL cholesterol levels.
The high fiber content levels in the following fruits significantly reduce cholesterol levels.
- Citrus fruits
Lean Animal Proteins
Even following a low-cholesterol diet, it is permissible to consume animal products. It entails selecting meat and cuts with lower fat percentages than the norm.
- Skinned chicken breast
- Skinned turkey breast
- Pork tenderloin
- Top beef sirloin steak
Plant-Based Proteins Sources
Plants rich in proteins are a great alternative to meat proteins. They contain high fiber content, amino acids, and other essential nutrients.
The best plant-based protein sources to add to your low cholesterol diet list are:
Switching from refined wheat to whole grains in your diet has many health benefits.
They are high in dietary fiber, which can help improve cholesterol levels, cut the chance of developing diabetes, and help you maintain a healthy body weight.
The following whole grains should be on your low cholesterol food list:
- Brown rice
- Steel-cut oats
- Wheat berries
- Wild rice
Unsaturated fats are the healthiest since they lower cholesterol and decrease inflammation, which is a cause of cardiovascular disease.
Plant-based foods are the primary source of unsaturated fats. At room temperature, healthy fats are liquid.
The two primary types of unsaturated fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, and they include the following:
- Olive oil
- Canola oil
- Peanut oil
- Avocado oil
- Safflower oil
- Fish oil
- Flaxseed oil
- Sunflower oil
Nuts and Seeds
The following nuts and seeds contain nutrients and heart-healthy fats that can effectively reduce cholesterol levels and enhance cardiovascular health.
- Brazil nuts
- Sesame seeds
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
Herbs and Spices
Spices and herbs enhance the flavor of food and provide health-promoting properties in cuisines worldwide. According to clinical evidence, compounds in the following herbs and spices effectively lower cholesterol levels and maintain general health.
- Cayenne pepper
- Black peppercorn
Many distinct kinds of beverages have compounds that may be beneficial in lowering cholesterol levels or maintaining them in a healthy range. The liquids to include in your low cholesterol food list are
- Green tea
- Tomato juice
- Cocoa drinks
- Berry juice
- Veggie or fruit smoothies
Dark chocolate is a naturally sweet pleasure you should feel good about since it includes more cocoa than other chocolate products.
Each serving has significant amounts of flavonoids, which benefits your cardiovascular system.
According to a 2017 research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, consuming dark chocolate over time enhanced blood lipid profiles.
Choose a dark chocolate product with at least 70 percent or higher cocoa concentration.
Red wine has resveratrol, a polyphenol found in the skin of red grapes that may help prevent blood vessel degeneration by lowering the chances of heart attack and LDL cholesterol levels.
Drinking too much alcohol, on the other hand, can lead to a wide range of other health problems; therefore, while a glass of red wine with dinner is good, avoid exceeding the recommended limit.
Printable Low Cholesterol Food List (PDF)
|Low Cholesterol Food List|
|Green Leafy Vegetables|
|Other Low Cholesterol Veggies|
|Lean Animal Proteins|
|Skinned chicken breast|
|Skinned turkey breast|
|Top beef sirloin steak|
|Plant-Based Proteins Sources|
|Nuts and Seeds|
|Herbs and Spices|
|Veggie or fruit smoothies|
Which High Cholesterol Foods Should You Avoid?
Although certain cholesterol-rich foods are very nutritious and good for your wellbeing, others can be detrimental.
Let’s look at some of the high-cholesterol foods you should avoid.
One ounce of cheese comprises 27mg of cholesterol or about 9% of RDI. Although cheese is commonly linked to increased cholesterol, a couple of studies have revealed that full-fat cheese doesn’t negatively affect cholesterol levels.
Another 12-week study amongst 162 people revealed that high consumption of 3 ounces (80 grams) of full-fat cheese didn’t result in LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol compared to a similar amount of low-fat cheese or a similar number of calories from bread and jam.
Various kinds of cheese have varying dietary content, but most cheeses offer a good amount of calcium, B vitamins, protein, and vitamin A.
Since cheese has high-calorie levels, you should stick to the suggested serving size of 1-2 ounces at a go to keep your portions in check.
Eggs are among the most nutritious foods you can consume. They also have high amounts of cholesterol, with a single egg having 211mg or an RDI of 70%.
People often stay away from eggs because their cholesterol levels may skyrocket.
However, studies show that eggs don’t negatively affect cholesterol levels and that consuming whole eggs can cause increases in heart-friendly HDL.
Besides being rich in cholesterol, eggs are a brilliant source of massively absorbable protein and are loaded with valuable nutrients such as vitamins A and B and selenium.
Studies show that consuming 1-3 eggs daily is okay for healthy individuals.
3. Full-Fat Yogurt
Full-fat yogurt contains cholesterol and other nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, protein, vitamin B12, and zinc.
A single serving (240 grams) of full-fat yogurt comprises 31.9 mg of cholesterol or an RDI of 11%.
Fresh studies reveal that increased intake of full-fat fermented dairy products is linked to reductions in blood pressure and LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol and lowers the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Fermented dairy products such as yogurt are vital to intestinal wellbeing by positively affecting gut-friendly bacteria.
4. Pasture-Raised Steak
Pasture-fed steak contains protein, vital reserves, and vitamins such as B vitamins, iron, selenium, and zinc.
It has less cholesterol than feedlot beef and comprises considerably more omega-3 fatty acids with anti-inflammatory properties.
A 112-gram serving of pasture-fed steak comprises about 62mg of cholesterol.
Although processed meat is linked to heart disease, a couple of massive studies have found no correlation between consuming red meat and the risk of heart disease.
Sardines are filled with vital nutrients and are a convenient and tasty source of protein that can be included in a wide variety of meals.
A single 92-gram serving of these small fish comprises 131mg of cholesterol or an RDI of 44%.
However, it’s also packed with an RDI of 63% for vitamin D, 137% for B vitamins, and 35% for calcium.
In addition, sardines are a brilliant source of copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin E, and zinc, among other nutrients.
Shellfish such as clams, crab, and shrimp are ideal sources of B vitamins, iron, protein, and selenium. They also have high levels of cholesterol. For instance, an 85-gram serving of shrimp comprises about 166mg of cholesterol.
Moreover, shellfish have bioactive elements such as amino acid taurine and carotenoid antioxidants that help limit heart disease and LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol.
Cakes, cookies, ice cream, and other sweets are unhealthy foods with high cholesterol levels, calories, sugars, and unhealthy fats.
Regularly consuming these foods can negatively affect overall well-being and cause you to gain weight over time.
Research has connected added sugars to cancers, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
In addition, these foods are regularly devoid of the nutrients your body requires to flourish. These include healthy fats, minerals, proteins, and vitamins.
Instead, you can make your desserts at home, picking recipes that don’t need massive amounts of butter.
This also enables you to adjust recipes and reduce the amount of sugar utilized to two or three-quarters of the suggested amount.
When baking, you can also indulge in baked fruit as a dessert or swap applesauce for butter or eggs.
8. Fast Food
Consuming fast foods is a significant risk factor for many chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
Those who consume fast foods regularly tend to have more belly fat and cholesterol and higher levels of inflammation and blood sugar regulation.
Consuming less processed food and cooking more at home leads to lower body fat and weight and decreased heart disease contributing factors such as LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol.
Not all fast foods are the same. Here are some fantastic low sodium fast foods you can safely consume.
9. Fried Foods
Fried foods such as cheese sticks or deep-fried meats have high cholesterol levels and should be avoided whenever possible.
This is because they are filled with calories and have trans fats, which increase the threat of heart disease as well as being harmful to your well-being in so many other ways.
In addition, consuming massive amounts of fried foods has been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
10. Full-fat dairy
Butter, cheese, full-fat yogurt, and whole milk have high saturated fats. Moreover, cheese tends to have high amounts of sodium, which is a problem for most people.
So, reduce cheese intake to about 3 ounces a week and prioritize part-skim cheese such as mozzarella or Swiss when preparing meals.
Moreover, drink non-fat (skim) milk for your daily calcium intake. You can look for low-fat or non-fat plain yogurt variants and use avocado or olive oil instead of butter to prepare meals.
11. Processed Meats
Processed meats such as bacon, ham, sausages, and hot dogs have high cholesterol levels and should be taken in moderation.
High intake of processed meats has been allied to increased rates of cancers such as colon cancer as well as heart disease.
A massive study including over 600,000 participants found that each extra 50-gram serving of processed meats a day was linked with a 40% higher risk of contracting heart disease.
12. Red Meats
Mince beef, pork chops, ribs, roast beef, and steaks tend to have massive amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat.
If you have to take red meat, pick 90% lean beef or lean beef cuts such as filet, flank, sirloin, or tenderloin steak and concentrate on low-fat sources of animal protein such as baked, ground, lean, or skinless chicken or turkey
For the body to function correctly, it requires cholesterol.
However, if you have an excessive amount of it in your blood, it can cause various health problems, including an increased risk for coronary artery disease and other heart ailments.
Low cholesterol foods can help you lower your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, which is responsible for plaque accumulation in the arteries.
Plaque buildup can contribute to cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke if left untreated.
Many foods on the low cholesterol list are excellent and straightforward to add to your regular meals without compromising flavor or enjoyment.