The most immediate way to lower your cholesterol is with your diet. Most people think of a diet as something you do for a while and then stop, which is why dieting itself it the primary reason people gain even more weight after they’ve lost it. You must think of your new “diet” of eating lower cholesterol foods as more of a permanent lifestyle change. This is the only way you can ever hope to reduce your cholesterol permanently.
Those who view a cholesterol-reducing diet as a temporary thing will soon face the original risks inherent in not making these dietary changes permanent, i.e. elevated risk of heart or circulatory problems. Those who take these changes seriously, however, will be rewarded with better health and longevity. The added benefit of this lifestyle change is learning how to lower cholesterol without drugs and the potential side effects of those drugs.
The first thing to consider in making these dietary changes is making a list of foods you should avoid. Foods which lower cholesterol levels include all food with saturated fat. Dairy products are a prime culprit, but there is a lot of good nutrition in milk aside from the fat. Consuming low fat milk is a great way to avoid most of the saturated fat and still benefit from the good stuff in the milk, like calcium, Vitamin D, and protein.
Also on this hit list is meat, especially red meat. Eat chicken and turkey without the skin, and not deep-fried or sautéed in butter. Try to avoid red meat altogether, but if you just can’t live without it, choose a small portion of lean beef instead of the devilishly tasty “marbled” steak. Stay away from all trans fats, like shortening, hydrogenated margarine, and certain oils in processed food.
Processed foods in general should be avoided for a variety of other reasons, but often have trans fatty oils in the ingredients. Cookies, cakes, chips, and crackers usually fall in this category, and a steady diet of them will raise your LDLs (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides, while lowering your HDLs (good cholesterol).
Second, make a list of foods that accelerate you towards your goal of lower cholesterol. The list is long, but you can get started with sensible and regular portions of fish, oatmeal, walnuts, almonds, and oat bran. These foods have been shown to be effective in lowering LDLs and raising HDLs. An apple a day really is good for you, and helps with lowering LDLs (it’s in the skin). Avocados are an excellent source of high quality fat, which your body needs to maintain itself (your brain is made of mostly fatty tissue).
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.