Cholesterol is a waxy-like substance found in each cell of the body. Consuming too much cholesterol in the diet increases cardiovascular issues. Avoiding the intake of certain foods reduces the risks.
Cholesterol performs important functions, including:
However, high cholesterol in the blood may cause health issues, such as high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. Implementing lifestyle changes and reducing the amount of cholesterol in the diet is important to decrease high cholesterol or maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
This article discusses what causes high cholesterol, foods to avoid, and some low cholesterol-containing foods and low cholesterol lunches.
Cholesterol is attached to certain proteins as it transports throughout the body. The combination of the waxy-substance and proteins is called a lipoprotein.
There are different types of lipoproteins based on what is attached, but the two main types of cholesterol are:
Genetic factors can lead to high blood cholesterol levels. This means that some individuals will produce excessive amounts of cholesterol — particularly LDL cholesterol — leading to high levels of blood cholesterol. This is called genetic or familial hypercholesterolemia.
Certain lifestyle factors can influence cholesterol levels. For example, eating foods that contain high amounts of cholesterol, saturated fat, and trans fat have all been shown to increase blood cholesterol levels.
These can be found in the following foods:
Other lifestyle factors that can contribute to high cholesterol include smoking tobacco products and inactivity.
Some medical conditions may also cause high cholesterol, including:
Individuals who want to reduce their blood cholesterol levels can make some lifestyle changes to accomplish this.
These strategies include:
Increasing the consumption of soluble fiber can decrease cholesterol levels. This is because soluble fiber turns into a gel and attaches to cholesterol in the small intestine. This gel helps push it through the digestive system for the body to dispose of through feces.
Foods that contain high amounts of soluble fiber include:
Individuals with a family history of high cholesterol levels should consult their doctor to determine if they are at risk of inheriting this condition. If so, they can work together to develop a strategy to minimize their risk.
Foods low in cholesterol are typically lower in fat. This means that plant-based foods and low-fat proteins are excellent low-cholesterol options.
Processed foods can also sometimes have cholesterol. People can check this by reading the nutrition label and paying attention to the serving size.
Examples of food groups that are low in cholesterol include:
Reducing the consumption of foods that contain cholesterol can help decrease blood cholesterol levels.
Some examples of low cholesterol lunch ideas include:
Read on for a diet plan to help lower cholesterol.
Research has also explored the benefits of the traditional Mediterranean diet.
The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid lists eating foods in various quantities and frequencies:
The study demonstrated that this type of diet protects against cardiovascular disease and decreases LDL cholesterol levels.
Read more here for a Mediterranean meal plan.
Cholesterol is a natural substance found in the body which has many important functions. However, having high levels of cholesterol in the blood can be problematic as it raises the risk of cardiovascular disease.
There are many strategies that may help decrease or maintain a person’s cholesterol levels, including diet.
By incorporating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and decreasing the consumption of foods containing cholesterol, saturated fat, and trans fat, individuals can help control their cholesterol levels.
Last medically reviewed on January 16, 2022



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