This guide provides basic information to help you start lowering your cholesterol until your appointment with a registered dietitian, a nutrition expert. These are general guidelines that may be tailored to meet your needs.
Eating healthy often means making changes in your current eating habits. A registered dietitian can provide in-depth personalized nutrition education to help you develop a personal action plan.
High Blood Cholesterol = Increased Risk for Heart Disease
- Too much cholesterol leads to a build-up of fatty materials and debris (called plaque) on the walls of the arteries supplying blood to the heart and other organs.
- Plaque can narrow the passageway inside the artery and block the flow of blood to the heart muscle, causing a heart attack.
- You can reduce your risk by eating foods low in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol; exercising regularly; and losing weight, if necessary.
Goals for Lowering Cholesterol
- Decrease the total amount of fat you eat to 30% or less of your total daily calories.
For a person eating 2000 calories a day, this would be 65 grams of fat or less per day.
- Substitute unsaturated fat for saturated fat.
Saturated fat is usually solid at room temperature and comes from animal fats, coconut and palm oils. Some sources of saturated fat include butter and lard.
Unsaturated fat is liquid at room temperature and comes from plants. Some sources of unsaturated fats include olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, safflower oil and corn oil.
- Limit cholesterol intake to 300 milligrams (mg) or less per day.
- Choose foods high in starch and fiber such as whole-grain breads, cereals, pasta, rice, fruits and vegetables.
- Eat a variety of foods to get all the nutrients you need. Here is an example of the number of servings you should eat from each food group every day:
- 2 to 3 servings of dairy products
- 2 to 3 servings of protein (lean meat or fish)
- 6 to 11 servings of breads and grains
- 3 to 5 servings of vegetables
- 2 to 4 servings of fruits
- use fats and sweets sparingly
If you want to lose weight, aim to select the lower number of recommended servings, but remember to select from all food groups daily.
Breads & Grains
6 or more servings/day
- English muffins
- Rice cakes
- Low-fat crackers (such as matzo, bread sticks, rye crisps, saltines)
- Hot and cold cereals
- Spaghetti, macaroni, noodles
- Any grain rice
- Plain baked potato
Fruits & Vegetables
5 or more servings/day
- Fresh, frozen, dried or canned fruits
- Fresh, frozen or canned vegetables
2 or more servings/day (3 to 4 servings for pregnant or breastfeeding women)
- Skim or 1% milk
- Low-fat buttermilk
- Evaporated skim milk
- Low-fat yogurt
- Low-fat cottage cheese
- Cheese with no more than 3 grams of fat per ounce
Meat, Fish, Poultry
Up to 7 oz. per day(cooked weight)
- Lean cuts of meat with fat trimmed*
- Chicken and turkey without skin*
- Egg whites or egg substitutes
- Dried beans
- *Bake, boil, broil, roast or grill
Fats and Oils
In limited amounts
- Olive, canola or peanut oils Tub margarine
- Fat-free salad dressing
- Fat-free baked goods
Sweets and Snacks
In limited amounts
- Sherbet, sorbet, Italian ice, popsicles
- Low-fat frozen yogurt
- Angel food cake
- Fig bars
- Jelly beans, hard candy
- Plain popcorn
The next step is to make an appointment with a registered dietitian, a nutrition expert. A registered dietitian will evaluate different health factors to determine your individual nutritional status; review your diet history targeting cholesterol and fat sources; explain product selection, label reading, cooking methods, menu planning and dining out; and develop an individualized treatment that will meet your needs.
To make an appointment with a registered dietitian in the Department of Nutrition Therapy, please call 216.444.3046.
Nutrition Hotline: 216.445.2710
For More Information
If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at 216.444.8282.
We will be happy to answer your questions.