Healthy Diets to Reduce Cholesterol Levels

You can never completely eliminate cholesterol from your body and, even if you could, that's not something you would want. You body needs some cholesterol for the production of hormones, as well as for creating necessary digestive juices and for producing vitamin D. So, for these reasons, maintaining a steady supply of HDL cholesterol is important.

Yet, a high concentration of LDL cholesterol is what can get you into trouble. Also known as the bad type of cholesterol, a high content of LDL over an extended period can damage your arteries, which raises the risks of developing heart disease. Additionally, your risk of experiencing a stroke is also increased with a higher LDL cholesterol count. Unfortunately, you won't know that you have a high cholesterol problem, unless you get regular check-ups from your family doctor. If your doctor does warn you that your cholesterol is too high, the problem can be managed through lifestyle changes, such as adopting a special cholesterol diet.

What is HDL Cholesterol?

Before you can begin to adopt a healthier diet, you must first understand the difference between HDL and LDL cholesterol. When it comes to HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, a higher number means you’re healthier. The reason for this is that HDL cholesterol acts as a countermeasure to LDL cholesterol, keeping it in check and replacing it in the body, when levels begin to rise. HDL prevents the build-up of LDL cholesterol in your arteries and, in so doing, prevents the increased risks of heart disease and stroke. Sometimes, your doctor may prescribe drugs, known as a statin, to help give you HDL levels a significant boost. Otherwise, increased physical activity can have a positive impact on your HDL levels, which will give your body what it needs to fight bad cholesterol rises.

What is LDL Cholesterol?

Conversely, you want to maintain a lower level of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol in your body, because a higher concentration can adversely affect your health. As previously stated, it builds up in the walls of the arteries, raising the risks of heart disease and stroke. Heart disease, in turn, can cause a variety of heart-related problems, such as high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, cardiac arrest, congestive heart failure, and arrhythmia. To maintain a healthy balance, your LDL cholesterol should remain under 190, otherwise your doctor will prescribe statins and recommend immediate lifestyle changes. In some cases, you may be prescribed a statin, even if your LDL is currently under 190. This is because your doctor will estimate a 10-year assessment to determine your future risks. He may find reason to suspect that your LDL cholesterol will rise, if immediate action isn't taken.

Different Diets Available to Help Reduce Cholesterol

Soluble Fiber Diet

Eating a high concentration of soluble fiber helps limit the damage LDL cholesterol can do, because it forms a gel in the body that soaks up the LDL. By absorbing it, soluble fiber prevents it from reintegrating into the system and attacking the artery walls.

Foods rich in soluble fiber are:

  • Beans
  • Oats
  • Yams
  • Barley
  • Berries
  • Brussels sprouts

Limit High Cholesterol Foods

Another dietary change you should make is to reduce the amount of foods you eat that are high in cholesterol. If you can completely eliminate these foods from your diet, that would be preferable. At the very least, limit how much of these items you eat:

  • Foods rich in saturated fats (fatty meats, butter, tropical oil, and dairy products)
  • Organ meats and processed meats (hot dogs, sausage, bacon)
  • Trans fats, which is primarily found in vegetable oils
  • Other cholesterol-rich foods, such as egg yolk

Protein Diet

One issue people face in adopting healthier diets is a lack of protein, when certain foods are eliminated. Yet, there are nutritious sources of protein that can be substituted for processed meats and other high cholesterol foods.

  • Skinless chicken breast
  • Beans
  • Tofu
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Fish (salmon, sardines, herring, and trout are good choices)

Additionally, cutting industrialized ingredients from your diet can also lower your LDL cholesterol. This includes sugar, salt, and similar manufactured ingredients. While it may not be possible to eliminate these products completely, avoid processed foods that have added salt or added sugar.

Living a healthy lifestyle begins with adjusting one's diet to get a better control of your cholesterol levels. If you can alter your diet to lower LDL levels on your own, you may not need drugs to help get your levels balanced. However, it's always wise to consult your doctor, before making any lifestyle changes.

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This article should not be considered as medical advice. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional advice from a certified doctor or other qualified healthcare provider. Always speak with a doctor before starting, stopping, or changing any prescribed care or treatment plan. provides this reading material as a helpful resource, but it should never be a substitute for professional medical advice, care, diagnosis or treatment from a medical physician, a certified personal trainer, a therapist, a dietitian, or a nutritionist. If in a medical emergency, call a doctor or dial 911 immediately.