Medical research shows that by simple diet changes, you can lower cholesterol levels in your blood and help protect yourself against heart disease. On its own, the body produces some cholesterol, but the foods you eat can add significant amounts of cholesterol to your blood. Cholesterol rich foods include meat, eggs, and dairy products. Other foods such as animal and chicken fats, and even some vegetable fats, are high in cholesterol-raising saturated fats.
A simple blood test determines your cholesterol level. A level of 240 milligrams per 100 milliliters of blood serum is generally considered a normal cholesterol level for adults; however, some specialists advocate a norm of 200 milligrams.
Formerly, diet changes to lower cholesterol were recommended only for those whose levels were higher than normal. Now many doctors believe that everyone can benefit from cutting back on such foods as red meats (beef, pork, lamb); organ meats (liver, kidneys, sweetbreads, and brains); egg yolks (limit yourself to four per week); dairy products containing butterfat (butter, cream, whole milk, cream cheese, regular cottage cheese, hard cheeses, ice cream); animal fats (lard, bacon); and vegetable fats (coconut oil, palm oil).
Here are some other cholesterol cutting practices.
Avoid fried foods.
Use safflower, sunflower, soybean, corn, cottonseed, sesame, or olive oil in cooking.
Switch to skim or low-fat milk and other low-fat dairy products.
Get more of your protein from legumes, such as dried beans, split peas, lentils, and chick peas.
Use nonstick pans so that you need much less fat when cooking foods. Trim visible fat from meats and
poultry; discard poultry skin. Substitute soft margarine for butter but check labels; saturated fats are higher in some than in others.
Cut down on sweet baked goods most are high in fat.