What can you do to improve your cholesterol levels? Here’s a quick list to get you started.
* Reduce fat in your diet Buy leanest cuts of meat you can find. Regularly substitute poultry (without skin) and fish for red meat. Both are lower in saturated fat. Switch to low fat cottage cheese and yogurt, reduced fat hard cheeses and skim or 1 percent milk.
* Eat no more than four egg yolks a week An average egg yolk contains 213 milligrams of cholesterol!
* Eliminate fried foods Don’t fry foods. Roast, bake, broil, grill or poach them instead. Use fat free marinades or basting with liquids like wine, tomato or lemon juice. Use olive or canola oils for sautéing or baking. Both are very low in saturated fat. Use diet, tub or squeeze margarines instead of regular. Watch for term “hydrogenated,” which means some of fat is saturated.
* Eat vegetables and complex carbohydrates Lowest fat foods of all are vegetables, fruits, grains (rice, barley and pasta), beans and legumes. Try substituting some of these for meat and high fat dairy products. Don’t douse your pasta with butter or your potato with sour cream. Use tomato base sauces instead of cream base. Use lemon juice, low sodium soy sauce or herbs to season vegetables. Make chili with extra beans and seasonings while leaving out meat.
* Lose weight If you are overweight, chances are almost 100% that you have a problem with high cholesterol. You can lower your LDL and elevate your HDL just by dropping some pounds.
* Nuts to you! Do you like nuts? If you do, sprinkle a few on your cereal, bake them into muffins or pancakes or add them to casseroles or stir-fries. Walnuts and almonds are especially good. Eating about three ounces of walnuts a day is shown to decrease blood cholesterol levels by 10% more than an already low fat, low cholesterol diet.
* Eat chocolate Aha! All you chocoholics rejoice! Studies indicate that fat in chocolate is stearic acid and has no effect on cholesterol levels. The chocolate does not increase LDL and could raise HDL a wee bit. But chocolate is still high in fat and calories so don’t go overboard.
* Drink fruit juices Apparently some of non-alcoholic ingredients in red wine raises HDL and suppresses body from producing LDL. Purple grape juice works same way. The LDL lowering effect of red wine and grape juice comes from a compound that grapes produce normally to resist mold. The darker grape juice, better. Grapefruit juice does same thing and it may also help your body get rid of nasty plaque.
* Eat garlic Cholesterol lowering effects of garlic have been demonstrated repeatedly in people with normal and high cholesterol. Eat all garlic you can. It also seems to raise HDL levels as well. If you are worried about odor, take tablets instead.
* Take niacin - carefully It is proven effective for lowering LDL and raising HDL. It is also one of cheapest drugs available for lowering cholesterol. But, without medical supervision it may not be totally safe. A dose high enough to lower cholesterol can cause extremely high blood sugar or liver damage.