List of Low-Fat, Low Salt & Low Cholesterol Foods

Salmon with vegetables, olive oil and herbs
A salmon fillet on a cutting board. (Image: Karisssa/iStock/Getty Images)

A diet that is low in fat, salt and cholesterol is considered heart healthy. You should consume less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol -- which comes from animal fat -- daily, advises the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. Likewise limit trans fat to 1 percent of daily calories and saturated fat to 7 percent. The American Heart Association recommends 1,500 milligrams per day of sodium, or roughly 3/4 of a teaspoon. Many foods are low in cholesterol, salt and fat.

Fruits and Veggies

Fresh vegetables and fruits are low in calories, sodium and cholesterol. Produce also does not have cholesterol, saturated fat or trans fat, according to “American Dietetic Association Low-Salt Cookbook.” These foods tend to be high in vitamins as well. There are a few exceptions -- olives, coconuts and avocados, which all are high in fat. If you purchase frozen fruits or veggies, check labels to ensure the product doesn’t have added sugar, salt or butter. If you’re on a low-salt diet, avoid veggies packed in brine because they’ll be high in sodium.

Fat Free Dairy

Fat free milk is low in calories, fat and cholesterol. Seek milk products such as cheese and sour cream that are marked both fat free and low sodium, recommends the American Heart Association. According to Ohio State University, you may use 1 percent milk products on a low-fat, low-cholesterol and low-sodium diet meant to boost heart health, but you must avoid 2 percent milk products.

Fish

Fish are generally low in calories, fat and cholesterol. However, you need to be cautious in preparing fish so you don’t add undesired fat and calories to it, according to Ohio State University. Broil, bake, grill or poach your fish for best results. The fish that do have a higher fat content, including salmon, have omega-3 fatty acids. Such fats are heart healthy, prompting recommendations to eat fish three times weekly.

Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices are low in fat, calories and cholesterol. In fact, if you are trying to cut calories and salt from your diet to improve heart health, herbs are a good way to add flavor to your food, recommends Ohio State University. For example, ginger is good in fruits and chicken; thyme adds flavor to lean meats, sauces and soups; turmeric is good on fish and rice; cinnamon enhances the flavor of fruit; and dried mustard is good on a variety of meats and poultry, salads, broccoli and cabbage and in sauces, according to the American Heart Association.

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