Diets for people with high cholesterol are easy to come by, either from one’s physician, or by simply looking on the Internet where there are a number of sites that carry information on the subject. There are some guidelines that anyone with high cholesterol (LDL) should follow regarding their daily intake of food. Less than 7% of the day’s total calories should come from saturated fat; 25-35% or less of the day’s total calories from fat; less than 200 milligrams of dietary cholesterol a day; no more than 2400 milligrams of sodium per day; and just enough calories to achieve or maintain a healthy weight and reduce blood fat level. Diet plans and menus are available that will keep track of all of these things for anyone with a high cholesterol problem.
On the positive side, there is also a list of low cholesterol foods to help keep the LDL numbers down. Either fat free or 1% dairy products are safe, and meats with little or no fat are permissible. Fish and shellfish and skinless poultry are permitted, as well as whole grain foods, fruits, and vegetables. Preparation is important, so even a lean steak that is chicken fried is not allowed, and french fries are no longer a food of choice. In other words, baking, broiling, poaching, grilling or roasting is preferred. Foods may be lightly stir-fried or sauteed in cooking spray, small amounts of vegetable oil, or reduced sodium chicken broth. Overall, diets for people with high cholesterol are not as difficult as one might think. While thinking about those items that can be included in a menu, it’s a good time to remember from whence all our sustenance comes. “He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;” (Psalm 104:14)
Unfortunately, a list of low cholesterol foods does not include hot dogs or sausages, and lunch meats like bologna or salami. For people who are fond of any of those will feel the loss for a while, but the improvement in health that results from not including them in a person’s diet will compensate for the deprivation. The food industry is taking great strides to help people get their cholesterol counts down. It is now possible to buy no fat margarine, salad dressings, and yogurt, and these items remain quite tasty. Stores even carry fat free ice cream so no one has to give up frozen desserts altogether.
High cholesterol doesn’t usually have any symptoms a person can identify. A blood test is the only way a person’s level can be determined, and most physicians require that lab work as part of a routine physical. The first line of defense against this problem is found in the diets for people with high cholesterol, so the doctor has on hand all the dietary information a patient needs to begin eating in a way that will bring those numbers down. In many cases, this problem accompanies weight gain. There are exceptions, but most people who are overweight also have a high LDL problem.
The dangers inherent in having high fat levels in the blood are heart disease and stroke, and those can be life-threatening problems. Even when a person survives after a heart attack or stroke, the changes in his life after that event will be significant. Avoiding those things by sticking to the list of low cholesterol foods is obviously the best gift a person can give ones self. However, diets for people with high cholesterol are not the only answers for high LDL levels. Exercise is equally important, and may require a substantive lifestyle change. The couch potato will have to move around. The short walk to the corner store once a week may have to be extended to a mile or more and increased daily to reap the desired benefits.
There are instances where diets for people with high cholesterol and an exercise program are not enough. If that is the case after six months or a year of trying, then a person’s physician will usually prescribe a medication to bring the LDL levels to an acceptable level. There are several on the market from which to choose, and the doctor will decide which to prescribe according to the individual case. Taking medicine does not mean that a person doesn’t need to pay attention to the list of low cholesterol foods any more. The dietary requirements will remain the same, and the exercise program should stay in place as well.
Poor diet and sedentary lifestyles are not the only causes of high LDL counts in one’s blood stream. The tendency toward having this problem is sometimes genetic in origin. A parent often passes this on to children, so anyone who knows one of his parents is battling this problem will need to be conscious of this when talking to his doctor. Once the problem is identified, the list of low cholesterol foods can be obtained and the new regimen begun.