How Should I Eat If I Have High Cholesterol?

How Should I Eat If I Have High Cholesterol?

How Should I Eat If I Have High Cholesterol?

Table of Contents

Written By:
Gena Pierce MS, RD, LD

Key Takeaways

Your doctor just informed you that you have high cholesterol, now what? In this post we will be sharing with you a few simple ways you can change up your eating habits to help support your new diagnosis of high cholesterol, and hopefully even help manage this diagnosis. 

1. Increase soluble fiber 

  • This type of fiber has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol significantly. Aim for 5 to 10 grams per day. Food sources include fruits, vegetables, beans/lentils, and whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat bread. A great example is kidney beans: ½ cup contains 3 grams of soluble fiber!

2. Choose lean protein and dairy sources

  • All animal products contain cholesterol and saturated fat. It is helpful to select lower fat options and to control portion size. Fish and seafood are naturally lower in fat. Poultry without the skin is also a good choice. Beef and pork tend to be higher in fat, so selecting “loin” or “round” cuts of meat will decrease saturated fat content. Portion size is important. 3-5 ounces per serving is suggested (slightly larger than a deck of cards).
  • Non-meat sources of protein are encouraged such as beans, nuts/seeds, tofu, etc., as they are low in saturated fat and cholesterol free. Reduced-fat dairy products like milk and cottage cheese are a great swap to reduce fat. 

3. Strive for heart-healthy, unsaturated fats 

  • These fats are typically found in plant sources such as nuts/seeds, avocado, olive oil, and canola oil.
  • Omega-3 fats are unsaturated and can be found in fatty fish such as wild salmon, trout, and sardines, as well as some nuts/seeds like walnuts, flax and chia seeds.

4. Avoid Trans fats

  • These are typically man-made from unsaturated fats that are processed. These fats will be listed on the ingredient list as “Partially Hydrogenated Oil.” 


5. Save sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages for special occasions. They should still be enjoyed - just in moderation!

  • You deserve to savor cake on your birthday or to experience your grandmother’s special cookie recipe. So enjoy!
  • Carbohydrates are needed for your body to function properly! Focus on incorporating more whole grains, beans/lentils, and whole fruits to provide fiber, vitamins and minerals your body needs.

6. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.

  • Two servings per day (men) and one serving per day (women). One serving is equivalent to 12 ounces beer, 5 ounces wine, or 1.5 ounces distilled spirits.

If you are interested in more information or desire custom guidance, our team of dietitians would love to assist you!

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