10 Dietary Strategies for Lowering Cholesterol

It’s important to keep in mind that your body needs cholesterols to build healthy cells. But if you have high levels of cholesterol, this can increase your risk of having heart disease. You can develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels with high cholesterol. These deposits make it difficult for enough blood to enter your arteries because they’ll eventually grow. Sometimes, these deposits can form a clot from breaking, which can lead to a stroke or heart attack. 

Obesity, inactivity, and an unhealthy diet are some of the factors that you can control, but they contribute to harmful triglyceride levels and cholesterol. But it’s important to monitor your genetic makeup, despite it being a factor beyond your control. This is because it might be more difficult for your body to break LDL cholesterol down in the liver or eradicate it from your blood. Therefore, to prevent you from experiencing severe conditions of high cholesterol, it’s important to choose a healthy diet that will help you keep track of living a healthier life. Here are 10 diets for high cholesterol to choose from: 

Portfolio Diet 

This modified vegan diet includes a “portfolio” or a variety of foods shown to lower cholesterol. According to its theory, these cholesterol-lowering foods are eaten together. The diet as a whole can help lower LDL cholesterol within a healthy diet. According to Today’s Dietitian, the portfolio diet recommends, primarily from plant-sterol enriched margarine, to include 2g plant sterols, 50g soy protein along with regular physical activity, and 10 to 25g soluble fiber from a variety of plant foods. 

The foods that were listed above are shown to lower cholesterol, according to David Jenkins, the founder of the diet and a professor in the Departments of Nutritional Sciences and Medicine at the University of Toronto in Canada. Additionally, instead of animal-based products, the Portfolio diet uses soy foods as substitutes. This diet excludes dairy, meat, eggs, and poultry.

Mediterranean Diet

This diet is the perfect choice to lower your cholesterol because it emphasizes plant-based protein. Fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts and lentils, and fish are plant-based proteins that can help lower your cholesterol levels since they’re high in fiber. Also, it keeps you full so you’ll less likely to feel hungry throughout the day and it helps your digestive system to continue moving.

If you want to meal-prep your meals week, Emily Lachtrupp from EatingWell recommends starting with 1 cup of nonfat plain Greek yogurt, 1 small and sliced peach, and 2 tablespoons of chopped walnuts, amounting to 279 calories for breakfast. You can eat 1 medium pear that has 101 calories for your morning snack. Be sure to try eating 1 serving of white green and veggie salad that has 360 calories for your lunch meal. As for dinner, intake 405 calories by selecting 1 serving of sheet-pan chili-lime salmon with potatoes and peppers. Make 2 servings of Apple-Cinnamon Overnight Oats for days 2 and 3 as your breakfast meal. For your lunch on days 2 to 5, you can prepare Chicken Chickpea Grain Bowl with Lemon Vinaigrette. 

TLC Diet

The Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes Program, well-known as the TLC diet, is created to improve cholesterol numbers in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Many people have adopted a heart-healthy eating regimen due to the diet plan of the TLC program. This type of diet helps preparing, choosing, and cooking foods healthier and easier. 

In adapting the TLC diet to your lifestyle, it’s important to increase soluble fiber like in oats, fruits, and beans, and decrease saturated fat and cholesterol. It also adds sterols and stanols found in avocado oil, olive, nuts, whole grains, and legumes. This diet aims to lower your daily intake of saturated fat. Too much intake of saturated fat can increase LDL cholesterol in the blood. This is why the TLC diet recommends adding sterols and stanols and soluble fiber to your daily needs. 

Vegan Diet

Choosing on applying a vegan diet means you’re choosing to make big sacrifices, and this means eliminating dairy, money, seafood, eggs, poultry, and meat that are animal products. Legumes, seeds, whole grains, nuts, and fruits and vegetables are plant-based foods that are encouraged by the vegan diet. Numerous studies show that lower cholesterol levels are linked to vegan diets. 

As a matter of fact, compared with omnivorous diets, vegan and vegetarian diets were associated with lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Moreover, in decreasing cholesterol levels, healthy vegan diets focus on nutritious and high-fiber foods like seeds, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables. However, it’s important to be aware that many vegan-friendly foods may contain excessive amounts of added sodium, trans fats, artificial ingredients, and sugar and they’re also highly processed. 


The National Institutes of Health believes that a DASH diet can reduce blood pressure for only 4 days. This is why many studies believe that DASH is effective in reducing blood pressure. There are some components of the diet that are linked to improving the level of cholesterol by limiting sweets and refined carbohydrates, getting lots of fiber, eating fish and leaner cuts of meat, and getting lots of fiber. 

It’s important to keep in mind that small changes are still big steps toward progress. Try serving vegetables to each of your meals and snacks or add a piece of fruit to increase your fruit and vegetable intake. These changes are crucial if you’re still not ready to commit to the DASH diet. 

Ornish Diet

If you’re looking for a diet that doesn’t label foods as “good” or “bad” because there are no calorie restrictions (unless you’re trying to lose weight) then the Ornish diet might be good for you. This vegetarian diet has animal protein, low in fat, and also has refined sugar. It can eliminate fish, poultry, and meat. 

This diet encourages you to fill up egg whites, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, soy products, nonfat dairy, and whole grains. This diet is really more of a lifestyle plan, and nutrition is just one aspect of this diet. An Ornish diet encourages you to adjust to other aspects of your lifestyle such as stress management, love and social support, and exercise. 

Whole foods Diet

Choosing a whole foods diet can lower your cholesterol to improve your health, according to Penn Medicine. Foods of animal origin are higher in calories and contain saturated fat. Your “bad” or unhealthy cholesterol (LDL) can increase due to cholesterol and saturated fat. You may experience coronary artery disease or plaque formation in your arteries due to saturated fat. 

Foods that are low in saturated fat, lower in calories, and contain no cholesterol are fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Moreover, you can eat more food while you consume fewer calories which will aid in weight loss when you eat foods that are high in fiber since they can make you feel full with fewer calories. Whole grains such as steel cutouts and seed butter, tofu, beans, and whole grain pasta are some foods that are included in a whole foods plant-based diet.

Vegetarian Diet

One way to lower your high cholesterol levels is to cut meat and dairy from your diet. This is because animal products are the primary source of saturated fats that can raise your blood cholesterol level. Aside from high cholesterol, a vegetarian diet may lower your risk of having chronic health conditions like diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and high blood pressure. 

Vegetarian diets can lower your cholesterol since they’re high in fiber and low in total fat and saturated fat. Aside from high cholesterol, a study from the Journal of the American Heart Association published in 2019 revealed that there is a lower overall risk of heart disease on diets that included less meat and skewed vegetarianism. Which is why it’s important to get the right nutrients such as Vitamin B12, iron, Vitamin D, protein, and zinc, and incorporate them into your diet. 

Mayo Clinic Diet

You’ve probably heard or read medical information or tips on Mayo Clinic every time you scroll through sources in Google. If you’re suffering from high cholesterol, your medical-friendly Mayo Clinic website has its own diet plan that will help you reduce the effects of high cholesterol. Located on their website, Mayo Clinic recommends eating high-fiber foods such as oat bran and oatmeal. Since oatmeal contains soluble fiber, this can reduce your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol or the “bad” cholesterol. Soluble fiber can decrease cholesterol absorption in your body by taking 5 to 10 grams or more of it in a day. 

Mayo Clinic also suggests fish and omega-3 fatty acids reduce your triglycerides as well as reduce the risk of developing blood clots and blood pressure. While omega-3 fatty acids don’t affect LDL cholesterol levels, it’s recommended by the American Heart Association to eat at least 2 servings of fish weekly. By baking or grilling the fish, it avoids increasing unhealthy fats.

The Engine 2 Diet

According to former firefighter and author Rip Esselstyn, this plan could help save your life. The Fire Cadet and the Firefighter are on two 28-day diet plans. The Fire Cadet is a gradual diet plan approach, while the Firefighter is a more extreme version of a diet plan approach. In the fire Cadet plan, avoid eating refined, processed, and dairy foods on week 1. You’ll have to cut out fish, meat, chicken, and eggs in week 2. You’ll need to cut out olive, coconut, and granola as added or extracted oils on week 3. Then you’ll continue to eat more fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and seeds on week 4. 

Once you’ve approached the Firefighter plan, you’ll need to eat only vegetables, legumes, fruits, and whole grains for all 4 weeks. Right from the start, it’s strictly applied to cut out all refined foods and animal products you have in your refrigerator. As a high-fiber, low-sugar, low-fat, and low-calorie diet, it will help lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar. Research shows that it’s also an effective diet plan if you have heart disease.


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