Eating healthy foods might help you lower high cholesterol. Many people whose cholesterol is high because they eat too many fatty foods are able to lower their cholesterol with diet changes.
Try these healthy food choices to help lower your cholesterol.
Meats, poultry, fish, and protein from vegetables
White-meat chicken and turkey (remove the skin before eating)
Lean cuts of meat, like round, sirloin, and extra-lean ground beef
Fresh fish and shellfish (don’t batter or fry)
Pork leg, shoulder, and tenderloin
Dry beans and peas
Breads, grains, rice, pasta
Whole wheat bread and bagels
Soft corn tortillas, low-fat flour tortillas, and whole wheat tortillas
Whole-grain crackers and soda crackers
Oatmeal and other high-fiber, low-sugar cereals
Brown rice and whole wheat pasta
Milk, yogurt, cheese
Fat-free or low-fat milk
Fat-free or low-fat yogurt with little added sugar
Cheese that is low-fat or nonfat
Margarine or spread with no trans fat (usually soft or liquid margarine)
Low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt
Fruits and vegetables
Fresh fruits like apples, bananas, oranges, and pears
Fresh vegetables like carrots, greens, peppers, and broccoli
Frozen vegetables, or canned vegetables with no added salt
Frozen or canned fruits with no added sugar or in light syrup or juice
Avoid serving fresh vegetables with butter or cheese.
Fats, sweets, oils
Low-fat or nonfat salad dressings
Canola, peanut, or olive oil
Natural peanut butter (with no hydrogenated oil)
Avoid packaged desserts, especially those with palm or coconut oil.
Some margarine spreads can help to lower cholesterol levels. These margarines contain plant stanol or sterol esters from wood pulp or soybean oil.
These margarines can help lower cholesterol levels, particularly in people who have high cholesterol levels or who consume too much fat in their diets. They work by blocking the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines and may work best in combination with other therapies, including medicine, to lower cholesterol.
Raymond JL, Couch SC (2012). Medical nutrition and therapy for cardiovascular disease. In LK Mahan et al., eds., Krause’s Food and the Nutrition Care Process, 13th ed., pp. 742-781. St Louis: Saunders.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD – Internal Medicine Martin J. Gabica, MD – Family Medicine Kathleen Romito, MD – Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerRhonda O’Brien, MS, RD, CDE – Certified Diabetes Educator Colleen O’Connor, PhD, RD – Registered Dietitian