If you're trying to improve heart health by lowering your cholesterol and losing weight, the best diet is one that ups your fiber and decreases unhealthy saturated and trans fat. Fiber in food helps drag cholesterol out of your body and aids in weight control, while decreasing your intake of unhealthy fats helps prevent cholesterol from rising and saves calories if you replace them with healthy, lower-calorie options. Consult a dietitian to help you design a meal plan that fits your exact health goals.
Limit Unhealthy Fats
Foods high in saturated and trans fat not only raise cholesterol levels but also tend to be high in calories. That includes bacon, butter, high-fat meat, whole milk, cheese, fried foods, pastries and cookies. For better cholesterol, the American Heart Association recommends reducing your caloric intake of trans fat foods to as little as possible and saturated fat to less than 7 percent of calories.
Focus on Fiber
Fiber already has a reputation for helping lower cholesterol, but a 2015 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine also found that focusing on increasing your fiber intake is an easy dietary change that can help promote weight loss. To get the weight-loss and cholesterol-lowering benefits, include foods high in soluble fiber such as Brussels sprouts, okra, eggplant, apples, pears, oranges, strawberries, oats, barley and beans.
- Harvard Health Publications: Making One Change - Getting More Fiber - Can Help With Weight Loss
- Harvard Health Publications: 11 Foods That Lower Cholesterol
- American Heart Association: Know Your Fats
- Annals of Internal Medicine: Single-Component Versus Multicomponent Dietary Goals for the Metabolic Syndrome: A Randomized Trial