You want to enjoy a long, healthy life, and you know that eating right can help you achieve that goal. One key aspect of health: Monitoring your cholesterol. And that’s where eating right can help. The American Heart Association (AHA) emphasizes that by making lifestyle changes, you can take strides toward having healthy cholesterol levels.
Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about your own condition and discuss dietary changes first. With that in mind, here are some positive shifts you can make to your diet to improve your cholesterol levels based on the AHA’s guidelines:
1. Limit total fat intake to less than 25 to 35 percent of your total calories each day. For breakfast, consider a bowl of low-fat, heart-healthy oatmeal. This cereal contains soluble fiber, which can help reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad,” cholesterol. Try Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Rolled Oats.
2. Limit saturated fat intake to less than 7 percent of total daily calories. This guideline can be particularly tricky when it comes to condiments such as salad dressing and mayonnaise. However, Walden Farms makes fat-free salad dressings, such as Walden Farms Calorie Free Blue Cheese and fat-free mayonnaise, such as Walden Farms Honey Mustard Mayonnaise.
3. Limit trans fat intake to less than 1 percent of total daily calories. When it comes to this guideline, beware of crackers and cookies. We’re crackers about Suzie’s Agave Sweetened Kamut Puffed Cakes. They’re low in calories, big in munch-ability! As for cookies, you can’t miss with Miss Meringue Meringue Fat-Free, Gluten-Free, Vanilla Cookies. They’re just sweet enough and melt on your tongue for a sensation you’ll love.
To keep your cholesterol at the optimum levels, get the rest of your fat from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Examples include:
- Unsalted nuts and seeds, such as Organic Unsalted Sunflower Seeds
- Fish (especially oily fish, such as salmon, trout and herring, at least twice per week), such as Wild Planet Wild Alaskan Salmon
- Vegetable oils, such as Bragg Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Joanne Eglash, Vitacost.com’s Diet Diva, has a master of science in holistic nutrition and more than 15 years experience as a nutrition consultant, blogger, author and journalist. She has written for a wide range of publications and websites, including ediets.com, Natural Health magazine, Shape magazine, Success magazine, Energy for Women and Chefs. Joanne is currently the national Diets columnist for the online news and entertainment site, Examiner.com, and a features food columnist for Yahoo.