Eat Healthy Fats: 9 Foods to Help Control Cholesterol

Did you know the type of fats you eat can have a big impact on cholesterol levels?

Pizza, french fries, baked good, fast food, red meat. These foods contain the kind of fat that can lead to high cholesterol and serious health problems.

Having high cholesterol puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke. Both are leading causes of death in the United States that claim the lives of about 857,000 people a year.1

The scary truth about cholesterol…

  • Total cholesterol. An estimated 94 million adults in the U.S. have total cholesterol levels higher than normal.2
  • Only 1 out of 3 adults with high cholesterol have the condition under control.
  • There are no symptoms. Many with high cholesterol don’t even know it.

How’s your cholesterol?

A simple blood test can measure cholesterol for:3

  • Total cholesterol. A measure of the total amount of cholesterol in your blood.(Healthy level for adults = 125 to 200 mg/dL)
  • LDL (bad) cholesterol. The main source of cholesterol buildup and blockage in the arteries. (Healthy level for adults = Less than 100 mg/dL)
  • HDL (good) cholesterol. HDL helps remove cholesterol from your arteries (Healthy level for adults = 40 mg/dL or higher)
  • Triglycerides. The most common type of fat in your body.

5 Types of Fatty Foods to Avoid or Limit to Control Cholesterol

Walk down the aisles at the grocery store and you’re bound to see dozens of product packages labeled “low-fat.”

Don’t be fooled. In most cases, the label just means the item is low in saturated or trans fat, and not a good source of healthy or unsaturated fat.

Here are 5 types of fatty foods to avoid or limit:

  • Meats: Beef, lamb, pork, sausage, bacon, hamburgers, hot dogs, steak
  • Full-fat dairy: Whole milk, cream, butter, ice cream, cheese
  • Animal and solid fats: Lard, vegetable shortening, hard-stick margarine
  • Baked goods using solid fats: Pie crust, cake, cookies, pastry, doughnuts, crackers
  • Coconut or palm oil: Non-dairy toppings and creamers

Is it healthy fat? Here’s an easy way to tell. If it’s solid at room temperature, it’s not healthy.

Add These 9 Healthy-Fat Foods to Your Diet

Fortunately, not all fat is bad. Healthy fats, or unsaturated fats, found in plant-based foods, protect your heart and brain, and help lower the risk for heart disease, stroke and other chronic diseases.4

Hungry for better health? Add these healthy fats to your diet:

  1. Olive oil
  2. Canola, soy, and other non-hydrogenated plant oils
  3. Trans fat-free, soft tub margarines
  4. Salad dressings made from non-hydrogenated vegetables oils
  5. Cold water fish, such as salmon
  6. Olives and avocados
  7. Nuts and seeds, including flax seeds
  8. Plant-based spreads, such as hummus or nut butters
  9. Fruits, vegetables, and legumes

Plant-Based Power to Control Cholesterol

Choosing foods with less trans fats and saturated fats will help lower your blood cholesterol levels and protect your health.

Plant-based foods are cholesterol-free, low in and saturated fat. They even help lower cholesterol because of their healthy fat and fiber content. Try:

    • Tofu
    • Avocado
    • Soy products
    • Legumes (peas, beans, lentils, etc.
    • Vegetables, nuts and seeds, and whole-grain foods are good sources of healthy fats, too.

Eat more healthy fats, and you’ll be healthier, feel better, and live longer.