When beginning a low-cholesterol diet, it is helpful to refer to a list of high-cholesterol foods (and high-saturated fat foods) to avoid. Diets high in saturated fat and cholesterol can contribute to high total cholesterol and high LDL ("bad") cholesterol level in the body, increasing your risk for coronary artery disease caused by atherosclerosis (plaque build-up in the arteries).
Remember that it is never too late to adopt healthier eating habits. Use this handy sheet on which foods to limit in your diet to start improving your diet today!
EGGS AND MEAT
Limit whole eggs. The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than one whole egg daily. Use egg whites or egg substitute for recipes calling for more than one whole egg. (Note that you do not have to eliminate eggs entirely.)
Limit high-fat cuts of beef; top loin, T-bone, tenderloin, porterhouse, brisket, rib-eye, and flank steak. Choose meats labeled "choice," "select," and "lean."
Avoid "organ" meats such as liver and sweetbreads, which have as much as 375 mg of cholesterol per 3 ounce serving.
Limit processed and luncheon meats such as bologna, ham, hot dogs, sausage, and packaged lunch meats; they are are high in saturated fats and sodium.
Avoid duck and goose (lean, skinless breast or leg are lower-fat choices). Avoid frying in duck or goose fat.
Limit your intake of whole-fat dairy products such as butter and whole milk, as well as 2% fat dairy products (such as yogurt and cheeses).
If you are used to drinking whole milk, or using full-fat dairy products, try switching to low-fat or 1% milk and dairy products. Once you feel comfortable with low-fat or 1%, try skim milk or non-fat dairy products.
Cut back on foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans fat in your diet. Check the food labels of packaged foods for the terms "hydrogenated" or "partially-hydrogenated oil." If these terms appear as one of the first five ingredients, it would be advisable to avoid or limit those products.
Limit French fries and other fried dishes made with partially hydrogenated or saturated fats. Try baked sweet potato "fries" for a healthier alternative.
Limit cakes, cookies, crackers, pastries, pies, muffins, and doughnuts (especially those made with made with partially hydrogenated or saturated fats). When baking at home, consider low-fat recipes to make your desserts more cholesterol-friendly.
Keep in mind that your new cholesterol-friendly diet does not have to be as restricted as you may have expected it to be. Although it does involve limiting or avoiding the foods listed above, there are plenty of new foods and recipes to ADD in as well.