A Guide to Cholesterol-Free Foods
Find delicious ways to keep cholesterol off your plate and out of your heart.
Cut Out the Harm, Not the Flavor
Cholesterol is a compound that’s vital to life. However, too much of it can be detrimental to your health. Maintaining a healthy balance of good and bad cholesterol is particularly important to good heart health.
Click “next” to begin avoiding bad cholesterol and focusing on incorporating good cholesterol into your diet.
Rice, Beans & Grains
Most starches—including rice, beans, and bread—contain little or no cholesterol. However, ingredients added in their preparation (for example, lard in refried beans or butter on bread) may contain animal-based fats high in cholesterol.
Unfortunately, most meats are high in cholesterol, but potatoes are still fair game. Like beans and breads, be wary of how potatoes are prepared. French fries are often cooked in vegetable oil, which is low in cholesterol, but high in fat. When cutting cholesterol, remember this: baked is best.
Make friends with fungi. There are numerous ways that different mushrooms can be prepared and substituted for meat. We suggest trying mushrooms as a pizza topping (watch the cheese, however, because there’s plenty of cholesterol there), or swapping out that burger patty with some chewy portabella mushrooms. No matter how you fix them, mushrooms will do your heart good.
When in season, avocado should be a staple in your diet. High in omega-3 fatty acids, this creamy fruit helps lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol levels. Avocado tastes great and works hard for your health—it not only helps your heart, but your brain and blood as well.
Like avocado, many fresh water fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help you lower your cholesterol. There’s a wide variety of omega-3-rich fish available, meaning you can easily switch up your meals. Try grilled salmon for dinner one day and fish tacos (with lots of avocado, beans, and rice) the next.
Garlic is not only excellent to eat—it helps keep your blood clear of cholesterol as well. If you’re looking for a devilishly delicious snack, try simmering whole cloves of garlic in olive oil until they’re ready to spread on bread, crackers, or other low-cholesterol foods.
Like garlic, the potent onion contains antioxidants. While they’re delicious served grilled, sautéed, or cooked in any way, raw onions contain the highest amount of heart-healthy nutrients. So, eat away, but pack some breath mints.
Fruits & Veggies
Eating fresh fruits and vegetables has more to offer than just low cholesterol. They’re full of vital nutrients that keep you healthy. Try mixing a medley of tasty fruits for a fruit salad or a variety of fresh veggies for a spicy salsa. Keep your refrigerator well stocked with fresh produce for a quick snack, side dish, or main entrée, if you’re feeling creative.
Not everyone is going to do cartwheels over tofu, but when prepared properly, tofu can be a decent substitute for meat in many dishes. Tofu acts like a sponge: it can absorb spices, marinades, and soup bases to add more flavor and texture to your meal.
When it comes to meat, fish, chicken, and turkey will be your best bets for lowering your cholesterol. However, avoid the skin, organs, and the dark meat. Some poultry, such as goose and duck, have high amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat.
Avoiding high cholesterol doesn’t mean you have to give up eating. However, it does mean you have to keep a watchful eye on nutritional labels and get more creative with your cooking. The more you’re willing to experiment with foods, the less bored you’ll get with your menu, and the more your heart will thank you.