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Lifestyle Cholesterol Management (cont.)

How do I manage my cholesterol through my diet?

Patient Comments

Diet and other lifestyle changes affect your blood cholesterol levels. Changing daily habits may prevent the need to take medication to control cholesterol levels. Cholesterol-lowering medications are available, but they should be used in addition to and not as a substitute for exercise and dietary changes. Lifestyle changes should be employed first and continued for a lifetime.

Diets high in saturated fat are linked to high total blood cholesterol levels and pose an increased risk for heart disease and other vascular diseases. Simply put, reduce all fats in your diet, paying particular attention to saturated fats.

The American Heart Association suggests that fats should represent no more than 30% of total calories you consume in a day, but 25% or 20% is even better. Most of the fats in the diet should be unsaturated.

  • Decide how many total calories you need a day to maintain your desired weight. As a rule of thumb, you multiply your desired weight in pounds by 11, if your life is sedentary; 13 if moderately active; and 15 if active. The total gives you your recommended daily calorie count.
  • Determine how many grams of fat you should eat in a day (see chart). Don't get distracted by trying to measure the grams of saturated and unsaturated fat (this information is on food labels). Simply focus on total grams of fat.
Grams of Fat Allowed Per Day
Daily Calorie IntakeGrams of Fat Using Guide of 20% of Calories from Fat Per day

Certain foods really do have health benefits for controlling cholesterol and overall heart health beyond providing basic nutrition. The Department of Health and Human Services identifies these food choices.

  • Broccoli (heart health, blood pressure, cholesterol, cancer)
  • Fish or fish oil (heart health, blood pressure, cholesterol)
  • Green leafy vegetables (heart health, blood pressure, cholesterol, cancer)
  • Oranges or orange juice (heart health, blood pressure, cholesterol, cancer)
  • Carrots (heart health, blood pressure, cholesterol, cancer)
  • Garlic (heart health)
  • Fiber (heart health)
  • Oats/oat bran/oatmeal (heart health)
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/21/2016

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The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Lifestyle Cholesterol Management:

Cholesterol Management - Diet

How do you manage your cholesterol through your diet?

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What lifestyle changes have been successful at lowering your cholesterol?

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