Managing Cholesterol: Healthy Food Choices


  • When starting to manage your cholesterol, you will begin to make healthier food choices.
  • One change to make is to avoid foods with saturated fats and trans fats. These fats can raise your LDL levels, the bad kind of cholesterol, increasing your risk of plaque buildup.
  • Foods high in saturated fats include: butter, lard, and shortening, and fried foods, high fat dairy foods, and fatty meats.
  • Trans fats are in a lot of processed and packaged foods. Besides increasing your LDL, trans fats also lower your HDL, the good cholesterol, so you have two reasons to avoid them.
  • Instead of saturated and trans fats, choose foods with unsaturated fats. These fats don’t make your LDL levels go up. Unsaturated fats are found in oils like sunflower, corn, olive, and canola, nuts like walnuts and almonds, fish and avocados.
  • “We love yams. I cut them in very small slices and I put some olive oil and Mrs. Dash and I roast them.”
  • “My wife cut back on a lot of oil in the cooking. She would just use very little bit of oil cooking. We eat broiled foods rather than fried foods.”
  • Another change you can make to your eating habits is to eat more fiber. Fiber can help to reduce how much LDL Cholesterol stays in your bloodstream. You can add fiber to your daily routine by eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grain breads and cereals.
  • “I find myself going to the farmer’s market once a week … so that way I’m getting the chance to sample different fruits and vegetables that are in for the season.”
  • Use the food label to help pick the best foods for you… Look on the label for foods low in saturated fat, and trans fat, and high in fiber. And make sure you are eating the correct serving size.
  • Also, keep in mind that some foods low in fat are actually high in sugar or sodium. So it’s best to look at the whole food label to pick the healthiest choice for you.
  • Changing the way you have eaten for years can be difficult. Work with your healthcare provider to help find ways for you to make healthy food choices each day in order to reach your cholesterol goals. They may recommend visiting with a dietitian, or joining a healthy heart support group in your area.
  • Talking about your food choices with family and friends, planning meals, and cooking together can go a long way to meet your cholesterol goals.

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