This page will be devoted to providing a diet for high cholesterol. But first I want to clear up a couple myths.
Our bodies actually generate cholesterol. In fact our diverse systems provide about 75 % of the amount we need.
Next we need to differentiate between blood, (serum) cholesterol and the dietary version. The two distinct variations led to misinformation about the best diet for high cholesterol over the years.
Part of the problem arose with the HDL and LDL numbers and ratios. High density cholesterol, (HDL) is the good kind and low density (LDL) is the "bad kind."
In reality they really are the same thing. But the low density type is much more susceptible to oxidation and inflammation. People whose blood cholesterol levels have more small, dense particles face an increased risk of heart attack. But once again, it is the inflammation that is the trigger.
The next myth that distorted the values of a diet for high cholesterol was that dietary cholesterol directly influenced blood cholesterol. This led to many doctors and nutritionists placing eggs on the demon list along with all fats.
But independent research uncovered the facts. Eggs are not so bad after all. And there are such things as healthy fats. In some people eggs might increase blood cholesterol levels, but that increase is usually in both good and bad types. The ratios don't change. Ratio imbalance is a good indicator of possible heart risk.
So with those two myths settled, we can move on to the best type of diet for high cholesterol.
Since we know that inflammation is really our target, we need to follow a diet plan that works to limit inflammation.
By following that process, we will in turn keep those pesky low density particles, the bad kind, in check.
The USDA offers an image that details what they consider to be acceptable in a diet for high cholesterol. That image is just below.
I would suggest that before following this concept, you should read "Grain Brain" by Dr. David Perlmutter. In that edition, featured in our list of classic books, you'll learn that grain is a major driver of many chronic diseases including dementia related conditions. We need to limit grain consumption.
The best diet for high cholesterol is also the best choice to defeat heart disease, type 2 diabetes and many other chronic diseases.
Therein lies the simplicity. It all comes down to the same plan. You don't have to bounce around from fad to fad. You don't need to subscribe to the latest pitch from a paid celebrity.
I've included a link to some more great information about this incredibly diverse healthy eating option.
Foods included in this diet for high cholesterol are not processed, nor are they deep fried. The evidence is very clear. "Western diets" lead to much greater instances of high LDL cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
We've devoted an entire section to this easy to follow, diverse food plan. The Mediterranean diet has all the essentials in a diet for high cholesterol.
The Mediterranean plan is just that. A complete plan that includes leisurely dining and regular exercise. Stress is a major contributor to all the ailments I just listed. Racing in to grab a quick dinner and racing back out is not conducive to good health.
The main ingredients are of course vegetables, fruit, beans, nuts, olives and olive oil, hard cheese, yogurt, poultry, fish, eggs, lean meat and wine.
I've included a fairly complete list of foods found in this plan. You'll find plenty of choices.
Please check out the page about omega 3 fatty acid as well. Now that we've dispelled those myths, we can get back to very important sources of nutrition.
Eating together as a family can help set good examples that carry on to the next generation. We have a child obesity problem in America. That problem leads to many conditions later in life that can be avoided. You just need the information. And the willingness to act on it.
Dr. Chauncey Crandall, author of "Fix It", uses a very similar method in his cardiovascular diet plan. It will serve well as a diet for high cholesterol.
He agrees that protein is important. The exception would be a patient with a major cardiac event that required a complete diet of fruits and vegetables. He also agrees that inflammation is a much bigger cardiac risk. Which isn't a concern because the Mediterranean diet will help you avoid that problem.
Remember that he speaks from experience. Along with being a well known cardiologist, he also had a heart attack at age 48. So he teaches what he actually does himself to return to good health and to stay there.
A typical lunch would include a salad with a piece of chicken or fish. He uses a small amount of salad dressing, always on the side. This one will be tougher for me. I used to dump a lot of blue cheese on top. Not anymore. I've been warned and intend to heed that early warning.
Dr. Crandall will mix it up for lunch at times by making a sandwich of hard cheese, avocado and sliced turkey.
Just like all of us, he admits to hunger pangs by mid afternoon. He always has a bowl of walnuts or almonds nearby. I've been doing this one for a while. It works. Maybe an apple tossed in there as well.
For dinner he recommends fish, (not deep fried), steamed vegetables and a bowl of fruit. He includes a piece of dark chocolate once in a while.
On the weekend he and his wife enjoy a little variety but get right back to it during the work week. That sounds fair.
Variety is the key. The Mediterranean Diet offers choices. A diet for high cholesterol that will work is in that variety of choices. I listed two great books to help you. You can do it.