Before reading about Low cholesterol Diet, firstly you need to understand the cholesterol. Many packed fatty food items have been labelled as “cholesterol free” or “no cholesterol”.
For example, you can see the labels of some very famous vegetable oils saying that they have no cholesterol. Why? What is so special with the cholesterol levels in a food item?
Why should we take care of this? What happens when we have the high cholesterol content in our body, and what happens when we have the low cholesterol?
Let us find the answers to these questions.
What is a low cholesterol diet?
People are very conscious about their eating habits in this sedentary lifestyle. They cannot give time to exercise and sports, due to which they control their food intake and the eating habits. Obesity is quite common in workaholics along with the other health issues.
When one eats a lot of saturated fats, the cholesterol levels increases. And, this is definitely not a good sign of health. The high cholesterol levels are closely associated with heart attacks and strokes. You should keep on checking upon your cholesterol levels so that you know the risks.
HDL cholesterol is the good cholesterol. If you have high levels of HDL, it is good for your health. But, if you have low levels of HDL, you are more prone to heart diseases. Medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes, smoking, obesity etc. result in low HDL cholesterol conditions. Like there is the good cholesterol, bad cholesterol also exists. It is termed as LDL cholesterol. High levels of LDL are not at all considered good for you.
When you make excessive use of saturated fats in your diet, the levels of cholesterol in your body are altered to a large extent. Thus, it is said that you should control the fat content and always use the good quality fats in your meals. The saturated fats we usually eat in our daily life are:
- Hard Margarines
- Full fat cheese, milk, cream and yoghurt
- Coconut and palm oils and coconut cream
- Lard, goose fat
- Fatty meat and meat products
And, the food items which have these saturated fats as the ingredient also contain the capacity to increase the cholesterol in your body. For example, cakes, puddings, pastries, biscuits and many other bakery products.
Low cholesterol diet includes the food items which check upon your cholesterol levels and do not put you at risk of heart diseases.
Low cholesterol diet plan
Plant food items are low in saturated fats. Thus, the plant based food items are beneficial for you and instead of the animal fats, you should opt for these.
- Whole grains and products
- Bread or oat bran cakes
- Barley products
- Beans- butter beans, black beans, kidney beans, lima beans, mung beans, pinto beans, navy beans, split peas and white beans
- Red and yellow lentils
- Sweet potato and mango
- Citrus fruits
- Soy alternatives to common dairy products
- Soya chunks
- Almonds, walnuts and other dry fruits
And there are still so many more!
Bringing down the levels of cholesterol doesn’t mean that you have to exclude the eggs, shrimps and meat. You just have to control your saturated fat intake. If you can do this, you can control the risks and avoid heart diseases.
Low fat low cholesterol diet
The question is that what to eat and what to avoid. We, as common people, cannot distinguish easily between the saturated fats and the unsaturated fats. Thus, it becomes hard for us to make our food choices. But, remember that we are educated and we can make wise choices. Why not choose our food wisely? Obviously, we eat food to live, not to lose our life.
Fats prove to be a good energy source, but some fats can be fatal for you in the long run. Be wise and choose the healthy fats. Remember, fat is high in calories and due to this reason you gain more weight if you take extra fats.
Take the least saturated fats and focus on the unsaturated ones. How to identify the saturated fats? They are usually solid at room temperature. Can you identify the oils you use which are solid at room temperature? They can be either animal fats or plant fats. Animal fats include beef, lamb, pork, poultry fat, butter, cream, milk, cheese, Ghee and other dairy products made from whole milk. These contain the dietary cholesterol and affect your body. Plant fats include palm oil, coconut oil and cocoa butter.
Your low cholesterol diet should include the following components:
- Become fruit lover!
Include lots of fruits in your diet. Fruits have water, sugar, fibre and various vitamins and minerals. The fruit smoothies will give you the zero cholesterol, and you will stay miles apart from the heart diseases.
- Do not forget the vegetables
Include vegetables in your diet as well. Eat the green leafy vegetables and the colourful rich lycopenoids. Even if you are making the meat curry, add vegetables or prepare salads. Your each meal should have at least one serving of vegetables included.
- Replace your saturated fats with unsaturated fats
The saturated fats are very active in increasing the bad cholesterol in your body. Do you know the consequences of high bad cholesterol? Recall what we told you in the beginning. Heart diseases and strokes! Thus, you should replace the saturated fats with unsaturated ones whenever possible. (Take another minute to scroll above and check the saturated fat list)
Have nuts and dry fruits. They are a good source of energy and nutrients. Use vegetable oils and minimal animal fats.
- Have the foods which have high fibre content
Include the whole grains and pulses in your diet plan. The brown bread, pasta and rice should be eaten not of the white bread. Have oats, barley, porridge, lentils, beans and peas. Fibre is also a key component of fruits. So, eat dried or fresh fruits, and stay healthy.
- Fish which already has oil should be preferred
Buy the oily fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel. Trout can also be included. Having these oily fishes once a week will bring no harm. Oily fish is full of flavours and the fats are unsaturated. On the whole, your health and fitness does not get disturbed.
You cannot resist the tasty bakery products and the yummy oily food all the time. Yes, you are on a low cholesterol diet, but if you treat yourself once in a month with saturated fat, it is okay. This much is permissible and you can have the healthy desserts and snacks always.
Low cholesterol diet recipes
If we are telling you what to eat, then we ought to tell you “how to make” as well. This is our duty to pass on the best information to you. Some low cholesterol food ideas we have for you and you definitely can try the ones you like. They are easy to make and full of flavours.
- Tomato Onion Cucumber Salad
Take about 4 rich red plum tomatoes and chop them in your own way. Lengthwise slicing is generally preferred. Peel about one-fourth of a red onion, and slice it into very thin pieces. Take a cucumber and peel it. Slice it into thin pieces as well. You will need about 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and very little red wine. If you don’t wish to use red wine, it can be skipped. Have conventional spices and salt for seasoning.
Dress the vegetables which are already cut with olive oil. Use the seasonings and let the salad stand for 15 to 20 minutes. Till then you can prepare your main course. Afterwards, toss the contents of the salad and mix them thoroughly. Serve it along with your meal.
- Roasted Cauliflower
This is another side meal you can consider along with your main course food. You need a cauliflower. Cut it into small pieces, in form of small florets. Also, take some extra virgin olive oil, of about one-fourth cup. 4-5 cloves of garlic should be present in chopped state. Take very little crushed red pepper and some salt to taste. Use any leafy vegetable- whether thyme leaf, mint leaf, coriander leaf or spinach leaves.
Now, take a pan and heat the olive oil. Add cauliflower florets and toss them. Add garlic and red pepper as well. Add salt to taste and the leaves. Toss the contents again and again. Roast until the cauliflower becomes golden. It should become soft and tender. It will take about 20 minutes, but what you will get at the end is healthy and good for your heart.
- Corn Beany Salad
As the name suggests, this name is all about corns and beans. Take the cooked beans and corns, which are already boiled and tender. The moment you take them in mouth, the beans melt and the corns become so soft. You just love the taste. Now, you are not taking this plain salad. Obviously, add some seasonings and roasted vegetables such as carrots and beetroots. Add as many flavours as you like. Just remember that you have to avoid the saturated fats.
- Frosty Fruit Smoothies
Various fruit smoothies can be easily made, which are zero in cholesterol content and least in fats. They are rich in vitamins and minerals, and the best means to provide you with a healthy and tasty meal. Just check out some of our healthy smoothie recipes here.
- Vegetable Soups
There are a wide range of soup recipes available on the internet. We have an exclusive recipe for you. Jot down the ingredients. Gather them and be ready to cook the yummy soup.
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- A tablespoon of finely minced garlic
- 2 Carrots which are peeled and cut into small pieces.
- 2 Potatoes which are peeled and chopped into small pieces.
- A few fresh green beans which are either broken or chopped into very thin pieces.
- Take chicken or vegetable broth
- Take about 2 tomatoes, which are red and pulpy. Chop them into small pieces as well.
- Take corn with kernels removed
- Have with you the spices, especially black pepper
- The parsley leaves should be chopped
- Take about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
Time to cook! Heat the olive oil in a pot on a medium flame. Once the oil is heated, add the garlic and a little salt. Let it sparkle up and then add the carrots, potatoes and green beans. Cook till the vegetables soften up and release water. Add the vegetable or chicken broth, whichever you have taken. Heat and bring to simmer. Now, add the tomatoes and corn kernels. Sprinkle pepper and cook for a few minutes more. Reduce the heat and cook till you can see all the contents become tender and soupy. You should know the thickness of your soup. Add the seasonings and spices according to your own desire. Add parsley and lemon juice. Garnish when you have served the soup in bowls.
Low cholesterol diet menu
Your low cholesterol diet menu involves the details of the meals you are going to take in a day. Your breakfast, lunch and dinner should be organised in such a way that your heart is kept secured, your body remains healthy and your mind functions at your best.
We understand the importance of the low cholesterol diet you have to follow and thus we have our advice. If you are on a perfect low cholesterol diet plan, you will slowly get used to having fruits and vegetables, and your dependency on the saturated fats will lower down.
Your breakfast options are just countless! If you have a habit of eating eggs, then you can switch to vegetable omelettes and then sautéed vegetables. Have oat meal and dry fruits. Have fruits, chopped or in form of frozen smoothies.
Lunch time requires something that fills your stomach and matches your taste. At the weekends, you can have the oily fish dishes. Have beans and whole grain breads. Soy foods like tofu are cholesterol free and thus, you can use them along with the vegetables. Low fat yoghurt can support you in your low cholesterol diet process.
Fish is an option usually people opt for their dinner. Have the meat products of minimal cholesterol amounts. You can have the steamed vegetables, salads or soups as the side meals. You can also have baked potatoes, parmesan cheese and other soy products in the dinner.
Include nuts, popcorns and whole grain burgers and pizza with healthy base as snacks. Enjoy smoothies and fresh fruit juices. Cut down the cholesterol levels!
Low cholesterol diet guidelines
It is easy to remember things on tips. Let us just go through the tips we discussed before and some additional information on your low cholesterol diet.
- You have to minimise the consumption of fats and oils. For cooking, use good quality oil and in considerate amount. You do not have to use 8 tablespoons of oil for cooking a vegetable or making a soup. Use in low quantity.
- Avoid butter, lard, palm oil and coconut oil.
- The salad dressings you use such as mayonnaise have the fat content. Use the cholesterol free ones or the ones having low fat. Prefer making the dressings at home.
- Limit the consumption of chocolate.
- You have to always choose for the products which are low in fat or completely devoid of fat.
- Use vegetable oil, such as olive oil
- Have nuts on average. Do not exceed the limit.
- Always read the labels of the fat containing products you buy. Check the cholesterol level and make wise choices.
- You have to eat the oily fish, chicken or lean meat. If you are having red meat, then take it once in two weeks or so.
- Avoid the organ meat such as liver
- Avoid bacon, sausages, ribs etc.
- Take low fat cheese and yoghurt
- Avoid the sauce and dressings which are made up of cream
- Eat fruits and vegetables a lot.
- No deep fried foods are allowed
- Rather than frying, steam the vegetables.
- For flavours, use herbs and leaves. Do not use oil marinades.