Sample menus for lowering cholesterol can help you embark on the road to healthier living.
Good Fats and Bad Fats
Most people have heard the terms good fats and "bad fats". Unsaturated fatty acids, which are often referred to as "plant fats", are actually considered healthy. These fats, like monounsaturates and polyunsaturates, do not raise cholesterol levels. However, the fats to watch out for are saturated fats, also referred to as "animal fats", and trans fats, which are usually found in processed foods. These saturated and trans fats increase cholesterol levels that can be dangerous to your health.
Trans fats are especially dangerous in that they have been found to increase the risk of heart disease. Unfortunately, trans fats are in many of the foods we love, such as chips, cookies, crackers, and even microwave popcorn. Because it can be difficult to know which foods are good for you and which foods are bad, sample diets for lowering cholesterol help you see how to make healthier choices and help to maintain a healthy food plan without all of the guess work involved in reading labels.
Sample Menu for Lowering Cholesterol
There are numerous sample diets for lowering cholesterol available on the Internet. Your doctor probably has diet pamphlets, booklets, and other publications available for you as well. If he hasn't volunteered this information, ask him. The key to successfully lowering your cholesterol is not only to avoid foods that contain saturated and trans fats but to also choose foods, like whole grains, that actually lower your bad cholesterol levels. Hopefully, you have already worked out a dietary plan with a certified dietician, but for more meal planning options, check out the following sample menu for lowering cholesterol.
- Toasted whole grain bread, including loaf bread, muffins, etc.
- Small amount of pure peanut butter or small amount of reduced fat margarine.
- Coffee (If you need a sweetener, choose Nutrasweet; for cream, use skim milk.)
- Pulp-free orange juice
- Salad with low fat dressing
- Sandwich made of whole grain bread or pita bread, lean meat, lettuce and tomato.
- Instead of a sandwich, you could have broiled, grilled, or steamed fish, like mackerel, salmon, or tuna, or skinless chicken breast served with boiled, grilled, or steamed vegetables.
- Fruit or low-fat yogurt for dessert.
- Coffee or green tea.
- Supper should be similar to lunch.
- Broil, grill, or steam fish or skinless chicken
- If you add bread, be sure it is whole grain.
This is of course only one of many diet menus that you could follow to reduce your cholesterol levels. The following tips may help you as well.
- Feel free to add spices (not salt, however) which will flavor your food without adding unhealthy fats.
- Avoid frying foods. Even good oils, such as canola or olive oil, have some saturated fats.
- Vegetables like carrots and onions can actually lower cholesterol, so use these whenever possible in your meals.
- Exercising several times a week is a key ingredient in lowering cholesterol levels. Be sure to consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program, however.
- Snacks could include unsalted nuts, sunflower seeds, low-fat yogurt, and fruit.
The basic guidelines for lowering cholesterol are simple, and include the following:
- Avoid foods that contain high fat contents, particularly those with saturated fats.
- Look for fats that contain unsaturated fats.
- Avoid high-cholesterol foods, such as organ meats, egg yolks, and some poultry products.
- Choose foods that contain complex carbohydrates, including whole grain breads, cereals, and pastas, dried beans and peas, vegetables, and fruits.
- Maintain a healthy weight and exercise!