Diet Menus to Lower Cholesterol
Creating low-cholesterol diet menus is relatively easy. If you are trying to reduce your cholesterol remember, you only want to consume 200 mg per day or less of dietary cholesterol. If your cholesterol is well controlled but you are looking to prevent the onset of high cholesterol, aim for no more than 300 mg of dietary cholesterol per day.
Identifying Foods That Contain Cholesterol
The easiest way to determine if a food contains cholesterol is whether or not it comes from an animal that has a liver. The liver produces cholesterol, so if there is no liver there is no cholesterol. For example, grains, fruits and vegetables do not have a liver so they do not have any cholesterol.
Any kind of animal product will have cholesterol, but the amount will vary depending on the type of animal. For example, beef tends to be higher in cholesterol than chicken or pork. The cut of meat will also be important to evaluate. If it has a lot of marbling, or fat swirling through the meat, then it tends to be higher in cholesterol. You want to look for the leanest cuts of meat possible.
Next you want to look for high-fiber foods. The higher the fiber content of your diet the better (barring any GI problems). When mixed with liquid in our bodies, soluble fiber creates a gel that attaches itself to cholesterol and helps remove it from our arteries and blood stream. Insoluble fiber is the “roughage” that helps to excrete this unwanted cholesterol from our bodies through our bowel. Foods that are rich in fiber are your fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. Always remember to consume adequate amounts of water when increasing your fiber intake to avoid any GI distress.
Dairy foods come from an animal such as cows and goats. Since these animals have a liver, these foods contain cholesterol. Always use the reduced-fat version of your favorite dairy products. For example, skim milk or 1% milk is the way to go over whole milk or even 2%. Look for reduced-fat cheeses, yogurt, and sour cream.
Supplementing your diet with foods rich in Omega 3s can be very useful in trying to decrease your cholesterol levels. Foods such as walnuts, salmon, soybeans and flaxseed are all great way to increase your intake of Omega 3s.