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Cholesterol Lowering Dieting Tips

High blood cholesterol is a serious condition that can lead to heart disease when left untreated. It can plague anyone. In fact, one in every four American adults has been diagnosed with high blood pressure. The good news is that there are several steps people can take to lower it.

Being diagnosed with high cholesterol should not be a cause for alarm because dietary changes can still play a huge role in lowering it. High blood cholesterol is important because it is a major risk factor in heart disease. Heredity, age, sex and diet can affect one’s blood cholesterol levels. The key to lowering blood cholesterol is watching food intake. Incorporating a few changes in one’s diet plan can lower the risk for stroke and heart disease. It is important to choose foods that are packed with nutrients and vitamins. Processed foods should be avoided by all means.

What is a cholesterol diet plan?

A comprehensive cholesterol diet plan requires individuals to consume less than 200 milligrams of cholesterol per day. In addition, 25 to 35 percent of daily calories should be fat. It is also important to be physically active while on a cholesterol diet.

What to avoid when on a cholesterol diet?

• Saturated Fat

Saturated fat can raise an individual’s blood cholesterol. Although trans fat can also be a contributing factor to high blood cholesterol levels, saturated fat is usually the main culprit. It can be found in fatty meat cuts, poultry including the skin, some vegetable oils, whole milk and lard. Individuals should keep their intake of saturated fat to less than 7 percent of their calories per day.

It is important to read food labels when shopping. This can help individuals with high blood cholesterol levels compare food with lower saturated fats, trans fats and total number of calories.

People who are trying to lose weight in order to lower their blood cholesterol level should also pay close attention to the number of servings in each container. Learning the label language also helps individuals find heart healthy products.

• Sodium

Reducing sodium intake can also lower blood pressure. Although there are many low fat foods out there, they are usually high in sodium. Before putting an item in the cart, it is important to check the label. Fruits and vegetables are the best example of foods with low saturated fat, calories and sodium.

• Alcohol

Moderate intake of alcohol is also necessary to combat high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. Too much alcohol intake will increase the risk of heart disease and damage the heart and liver.

What is an ideal cholesterol diet?

• Breads, Cereals and Whole-grains

A daily diet plan should include 6 or more servings of grains or breads each day depending upon a person’s calorie needs. This food group is high in complex carbohydrates and fiber. It is also low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Acceptable foods include whole-grain breads, cereals, rice, potatoes, pasta and low-fat crackers.

• Vegetables

Three to five servings of vegetables a day can lower blood cholesterol levels. Vegetables are essential sources of fiber, vitamins and nutrients. Canned vegetables may also be considered, but it is important to read the label as they may contain more salt or fat.

• Fruits

Fruits are good sources of fiber, vitamins and other nutrients. Canned or dried fruits should contain low levels of sugar. It is ideal to include two to four servings of fruits every day.

• Dairy Products

Dairy products are a good source of calcium and protein. These include whole milk, cheese, yogurt, buttermilk and sour cream. It is ideal to include two to three servings of dairy every day.

• Eggs

Egg yolk intake should be limited to 2 or fewer yolks per week. This is due to the fact that yolks are high in dietary cholesterol. Egg whites have no cholesterol and contain fewer calories.

• Fish, Meat and Poultry

Five or less ounces of these products each day is ideal to maintain or lower blood cholesterol levels. Poultry products without skin and lean meat cuts should be eaten because they have less fat, and they are also a rich source of iron and protein. It is important to only consider lean meats as they are low in saturated fat.

• Fats and Oils

Not all fats are bad for one’s health. Although nuts are high in calories, they can be eaten in moderation because they contain unsaturated fat. Examples of unsaturated fats include salad dressings, seeds and vegetable oil spreads.

A Cholesterol Diet Plan Combined with Daily Physical Activity

• Thirty minutes of brisk activity such as walking at least four days a week

• Moderate stretching exercises that can increase flexibility and release muscle and joint tension

• Strength exercises that can improve muscle and bone density at least twice a week

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