People looking to choose the best low-cholesterol diet foods have a wide variety of options to choose from. Whole grains are particularly good, as they are high in fiber and can help decrease cholesterol levels in the blood. Fruits and vegetables are other healthy options that are low in fat while providing many nutrients. Beans, nuts, and low-fat dairy can all provide low-cholesterol sources of protein, as can fish, egg whites, and lean meats. Certain types of oils like olive or canola are also fine for this type of diet, as they are unsaturated fats that will not increase cholesterol levels.
One of the best categories of low-cholesterol diet foods is whole grains. Breads, cereals, and pastas made from things like whole wheat, millet, or rye are all good options. Brown or wild rice, barley, and corn also provide good sources of fiber and are healthy for the heart. Oatmeal in particular is considered to be very good for decreasing cholesterol levels.
Fruits and vegetables are another important group of low-cholesterol diet foods. Dieters can include a wide range of fresh or frozen vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and carrots in their diet plan. Fresh, dried, or canned fruits like apples, peaches, and mangoes, as well as fruit juices are all healthy choices, though it is important to try to avoid products with added sugar.
Though meats high in fat should be avoided, there are many protein options in a low-cholesterol diet. Beans and other legumes like lentils are low in fat and high in fiber, while nuts and seeds provide both protein and healthy, unsaturated fat. Low-fat cheese, yogurt, or skim milk can all be included, as can egg whites or low-cholesterol egg substitutes. Dieters may choose lean meats with the fat trimmed off, and skinless poultry such as chicken or turkey. Fish and their oils, such as salmon, mackerel, and albacore tuna, are also considered some of the best low-cholesterol diet foods and should be eaten several times per week.
While including oils in a low-cholesterol diet may seem contradictory, certain types of oils can actually help decrease LDL, or unhealthy, cholesterol in the blood, and increase levels of HDL cholesterol. Sunflower, safflower, and corn oils are all high in polyunsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats can be obtained by eating canola, olive, or peanut oils.