The body uses cholesterol for a variety of purposes, but most people get far more cholesterol in their diet than they need for optimum health. A high level of blood cholesterol is associated with an increase in the risk of heart disease. You can usually lower your cholesterol level significantly by making some basic changes in your diet. Be aware of what you can eat on a low-cholesterol diet.
Whole grains are low in cholesterol and are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates. These include barley, corn, oats, quinoa, rice and wheat. Products based on whole grains can also be low in cholesterol but this depends on the other ingredients. Whole grains are also high in dietary fiber, which can help lower your cholesterol level.
Legumes include beans such as garbanzo beans, lentil beans, pinto beans and kidney beans. These foods are important in a low-cholesterol diet because they’re high in protein and fiber while still being low in cholesterol. This allows you to replace some of the red meat in your diet with beans.
Cooking oil that’s made from animal fat can be very high in cholesterol. You can reduce your intake of cholesterol by replacing these cooking oils with vegetable oils. The best choices of cooking oil for a low cholesterol diet include peanut, canola and olive oils.
Foods that come from animals, especially red meats, are generally high in cholesterol. Organ meats are also high in cholesterol and you should generally avoid them as much as possible. Red meat can still be a small part of a low-cholesterol diet if you select lean cuts of meat and trim the fat.
Whole eggs are very high in cholesterol but the cholesterol is concentrated in the yolks, leaving the whites almost free of cholesterol. You can still use the whites by separating them from the yolks or by using egg substitutes. These products are generally made from egg whites that have been dyed yellow.