Choosing Wisely – Foods That Help Lower Bad Cholesterol

High cholesterol has become one of the most common health concerns among people of all ages. Now, more than ever, healthcare professionals are repeatedly stressing the importance of choosing the right foods to help lower bad cholesterol and maintain the good. While the food you eat is not the only consideration here, (exercise plays a part in it as well), it can play a bigger role than you may think.

HDL is what is considered the good cholesterol and LDL is known as the bad. The objective is to keep both your HDL and LDL at certain levels, which has probably been stressed by your doctor during each visit. Newer cholesterol recommendations urge people to keep their overall cholesterol below 200 milligrams, which is a bit lower than has been specified in the past. The good cholesterol, or HDL, should be above 40 milligrams, with a new sliding scale set for bad cholesterol or LDL. People without known heart disease factors should keep their LDL below 130 milligrams, while those with more than one risk factor for heart disease such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, or low HDL cholesterol levels should keep their LDL levels below 100 milligrams.

There are several ways to lower your overall cholesterol levels, and selecting foods that keep the cholesterol in your blood low is a good place to start. There are several foods that can help you do this, and numerous ways to prepare them that will start you down the right path. It may be difficult, but it will be worth it in the end.

Start by using only low or nonfat fairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese. Regular dairy products are high in saturated fats, which will raise your cholesterol levels. The more you use low or nonfat products, the more used to it you will become.

Limit your intake of saturated fats. No more than 5 percent of your daily calories should come from this. That equals about 10 to 11 grams a day.

Avoid foods with added trans-fat. This fat comes from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil that is often found in fried or processed foods such as crackers and baked goods.

Base most of your meals around beans, vegetables, whole grains, and fruits. Minimize your intake of low saturated fats such as the dairy products mentioned above.

Include soy protein in your diet in place of animal protein. Recent studies have shown that 25 grams of soy protein a day can actually help to lower cholesterol.

Limit your sugar intake. Sugar turns quickly to fat, which will not help to lower your cholesterol one bit. While it is okay to eat them sometimes, keep it to a minimum.