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Dietary Guidelines to Help Lower Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a type of fat that the body produces and needs. High-density lipoprotein (HDL), or good cholesterol, carries cholesterol to the liver to be disposed of or recycled for cell production. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or bad cholesterol, can increase the risk of heart disease and is impacted by food choices, family history, inactivity, and age. Follow these dietary guidelines to help lower your cholesterol:


Reduce Intake of Saturated Fat

Consume less than 5-to-6% of your daily calories from saturated fats, as it can increase your LDL cholesterol level. Certain products from animals, including butter, red meat, and full-fat dairy, are common sources of saturated fat.


Avoid Trans Fat

Although trans fat increases the shelf life of food, it’s more harmful to your health than saturated fats. Not only does it increase LDL, it also decreases HDL. Commercially prepared fried and baked foods often contain high amounts of trans fat.


Limit Intake of Total Cholesterol

Eat less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day. If you have heart disease or are taking cholesterol-lowering medication, limit to less than 200 milligrams per day. Egg yolks, organ meats, and full-fat dairy products contain high amounts of cholesterol.


Replace Bad Fats with Unsaturated Fat

Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat may help lower cholesterol. Polyunsaturated fat can be found in plant oils like sesame, soy, corn and sunflower seeds, and these can be used to replace unhealthy saturated fats. It can also be found in salmon, tuna, and mackerel. Monounsaturated fat can be found in peanut oils and avocados.


Sample Meals


  • ¾ cup of oatmeal
  • Banana
  • Orange juice

Oatmeal, bananas and orange juice contain 0 grams of dietary cholesterol and will keep you full till lunch. Also, they all contain dietary fiber that can lower LDL cholesterol levels.


  • Half a tuna sandwich
  • Cup of low-sodium soup
  • Apple

This wholesome meal is only about 500 calories. Add lettuce, tomato and light mayo for only 7.5 grams of fat.


  • Baked salmon
  • Mixed greens salad with blue cheese, cherries, walnuts
  • Half a cup of brown rice

Salmon is full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. The delicious and leafy salad is packed with dietary fiber.

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