WebMD Feature Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD
A low-cholesterol diet is one of the surest ways to improve heart health. In fact, studies show you can slash your bad cholesterol by as much as 10% to 20% by giving your diet a makeover. The secret? Follow a diet rich in healthy fats like vegetable oils and fish. And avoid foods high in saturated fats and trans fats. How do you know which foods keep your cholesterol low? Here are nine tips to help you get started.
Look over the TLC diet and make a shopping list of your favorite cholesterol-lowering foods.
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Stock your pantry and your refrigerator with the right foods for a low-cholesterol diet. Buy your favorite canned or dry beans, fresh fruits, whole grains, vegetables, and vegetable juice.
For a low-cholesterol diet, toss the butter, trans fat margarines, and polyunsaturated oil. Replace them with canola oil, olive oil, or plant sterol spreads.
Look for products specifically created for low-cholesterol diets, like Minute Maid HeartWise orange juice and Benecol, Promise, Smart Balance, and Take Control margarines. These foods have been fortified with plant stanols and sterols that help to block the absorption of cholesterol.
Start your day with oatmeal. Experts agree this is one of the top cholesterol-lowering superfoods.
Try a cholesterol-free egg substitute instead of whole eggs.
For a tasty low-cholesterol dish, switch out the cream sauce on your fettuccine for lightly stir-fried vegetables.
Instead of using butter to keep your pan moist while cooking, use white wine vinegar. It doesn't change the flavor of foods and doesn't add fat -- a key to low-cholesterol cooking!
Don't lean on butter, sour cream, and other fatty additives for flavoring. Instead, reach for the spices -- either while cooking or at the table. Liven up your dishes with oregano, basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, coriander, or cumin.