Cholesterol

The soft, fat-like substance found in each cell of the body and in the bloodstream can be a sneaky culprit. Although your body makes all the cholesterol it requires, excess can accumulate from diet, increased weight, lack of physical activity, family history, smoking and certain medications. To reduce your cholesterol it is time to increase the “good” and lower the “bad”.  Understanding the differences between HDL and LDL will help you on your path to success.

To Reduce Bad LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein) Cholesterol

Oat bran is highly recommended for binding and removing excess cholesterol from the body. Additional LDL lowering foods include: oatmeal and dried beans, including plain baked beans out of the can. Soybeans (organic) are great for reducing genetically induced high cholesterol at any age. Grapefruit (segments and membrane, not the juice) drives down cholesterol. Fresh oranges, apples, yogurt, skim milk, carrots, garlic, onions, barley, ginger, eggplant, artichoke, unripe plantain, shiitake mushrooms and olive oil beneficially reduce cholesterol. Substitute seafood, including shellfish, for meat and chicken. Strawberries and bananas are high in the cholesterol reducing complex carbohydrate, pectin.

To Raise Good HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) Cholesterol

Strong, raw onions are excellent HDL raising food. Try to have at least a half a medium onion per day. Substitute olive oil for other vegetable oils and saturated fats. Have alcoholic drinks, such as wine, beer and spirits in moderation (one or two drinks a day can boost HDL’s). Remember to drink responsibly!

Additional Suggestions

Strictly limit total fat, especially saturated fats like animal-type fats, coconut and palm oils as they counteract the effects of the above natural cholesterol-fighters.

Cholesterol Rich Foods

  1. For a low cholesterol diet restrict cholesterol to 50-100 g per day.
  2. For a moderately low cholesterol diet restrict cholesterol to 100-150 g per day.

The following lists contain increased levels of cholesterol.

Very high amounts of cholesterol: 150-2000mg/100g edible portion:

  • Brains
  • Butter
  • Caviar
  • Egg yolk
  • Whole egg
  • Heart
  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Lobster
  • Oysters
  • Sweetbreads (thymus)

High amounts of cholesterol: 50-150mg/100g edible portion

  • Beef
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Cream cheese
  • Hard cheeses
  • Cheese spread
  • Chicken
  • Crab
  • Fish
  • Lamb
  • Lard and other animal fat
  • Margarine (animal fat and vegetable fat combined)
  • Mutton
  • Pork
  • Shrimp
  • Veal

Moderate amounts of cholesterol: up to 50mg/100g edible portion

  • Cottage cheese
  • Low-fat cheese
  • Ice cream
  • Milk

References:

  1. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/AboutCholesterol/Good-vs-Bad-Cholesterol_UCM_305561_Article.jsp
  2. http://watchlearnlive.heart.org/CVML_Player.php?moduleSelect=hdlldl