The foremost thing to do when you are detected with high cholesterol levels is to make changes in your groceries shopping list. Taking medications for lowering cholesterol to safe levels are always advisable. However, combining it with lifestyle and food changes can drastically help you get your desired cholesterol numbers.
Few years back my mother suffered from cholesterol problem which led to heart and other health problems. To help her bring cholesterol numbers back to normal range, we decided a perfect Groceries Shopping guide and foods to avoid for people suffering from cholesterol. Sharing, this Groceries Shopping guide which will fill your diet with high-quality ingredients and nutrient-rich foods.
Fruits and Vegetables For Cholesterol
The first thing to include in your Groceries Shopping guide is wide variety of healthful Fruits and Vegetables. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, other nutrients as well as fiber, which lower cholesterol levels. It should be your first choice when you need something to eat. Prefer fresh and raw fruits and veggies, however, if they are unavailable have frozen or canned without added sugars, saturated and Trans fat, or salt. Do not buy plenty of fruit juice as it will not contain the needed fiber the whole fruit has and is not as good at satisfying hunger. The fruits and vegetables to include in your Groceries Shopping guide to help people suffering from cholesterol are:
- Bell peppers
- Leafy greens
- Summer and winter Squash
- Green peas
Note – For citrus fruits you must check with your doctor about potential medication interactions. Include vegetables in diet to intake cholesterol lowering fiber and phytosterols.
Dairy and Dairy Substitutes
Dairy products are great source of calcium but avoid eating cream, and select low-fat (1%) or fat-free (skim) products. Avoid buying foods such as butter, cream and ice cream and eat them on special occasions in small amount. These foods are high in saturated fat as compared to whole milk. Also, avoid eating egg yolks. Your groceries shopping list can include the following Dairy and Dairy Substitutes products.
- Low-fat or non-fat Buttermilk
- Fat-free, low-fat or reduced-fat cheeses
- Fat-free or low-fat Cottage cheese
- Skim or 1% Milk
- Fat-free or 1% Yogurt,
- Egg whites or egg substitutes
- Soy milk
- Almond milk
Note – For Soy and almond milk check label, whether they are fortified with calcium and other nutrients and also select unsweetened products to avoid intake of additional sugar.
Meat, Meat alternative, Poultry and Fish
Adding some of the below mentioned products in your groceries shopping guide is must. Eat more of heart healthy fish and limit meats with fats cuts. Avoid fatty meat foods such as corned beef, ribs, steak, pastrami, ground meat, hot dogs, sausage, bacon, and processed meats like bologna. Also limit intake of organ meats like liver and kidney.
- Fish, high in omega-3s such as salmon, herring, trout, tuna, sardines, etc.
- Lean cuts and lean ground round Beef
- Skinless, boneless, lean Chicken or turkey breasts
- Red meat or park labeled round
- Wheat gluten meat
Note – For additional intake of omega-3s eat at least one serving of grilled or baked fish at least twice a week or two serving once a week.
Beans, Whole Grains, Soups and Condiments
Beans and whole grains contain fiber to help people lower your cholesterol levels. This category food is rich in fiber and is must in your groceries shopping guide.
- Canned and reduced-sodium beans such as black, garbanzo, kidney, navy, and pinto
- Dried Beans
- Low sodium Broth made using chicken, beef, or vegetable
- Whole-grain Cereals
- Ground or whole Flaxseed
- Whole wheat pastry Flour for baking
- Grains such as wheat berries, polenta, bulgur, and quinoa
- Oat bran
- Whole, steel-cut Oats or oatmeal
- Low-fat or fat-free Pasta sauce
- Whole wheat breads or tortillas or pitas
- Whole wheat Pasta
- Brown, wild, or brown basmati Rice
- Brown rice cakes
- Low-sodium Soups
- Soy flour
- Tomato paste
- Low-sodium Barbecue or soy sauce or Ketchup
- Reduced-fat or nonfat Mayonnaise
- Rice, red wine, apple cider or raspberry vinegars for delicious salad dressings.
Note – Include at least 3 grams of fiber per serving and buy breads which are fortified with plant sterols. Select cereals that have 5 or more grams of dietary fiber and lesser than 8 grams of sugar per serving. Buy products with low amount or no salt in condiments and sauces, even little salt adds to have intake of plenty.
Fats and Cooking Oils
Your groceries shopping guide for lowering cholesterol must include healthier oils, such as olive and canola instead of butter for cooking. Buy any of your preferred fats and cooking oil from the list mentioned below. Avoid or limit saturated fats and oils, such as butter, lard, palm and coconut oil and bacon drippings. Also foods such as margarines, snack crackers, cookies, chips, and shortenings must be avoided for people with cholesterol problems as they are high in Trans fats or hydrogenated vegetable oils. For added benefit use fats and oil in limited amount.
- Trans-fat free Margarine fortified with plant sterols
- Olive or canola Oils
- Fat-free cooking spray
- Fruit puree, or yogurt as fat replacements for baking
- Reduced-fat or nonfat or tahini-based Salad dressings
- Vegetable oils
Note – Select vegetable oils to help lower bad LDL cholesterol and improve good HDL cholesterol levels.
Nuts, Seeds and Legumes
Buy nuts, seeds, legumes products as mentioned below for lowering cholesterol to eat for snacks or meals.
- Assorted or raw almonds, walnuts
- Dried fruits
- Nut butter such as peanut butter, almond butter, etc
- Flax, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower and other seeds
- Soybeans (edamame)
Note – Carrying handful of dried fruit, nuts or seeds will work as a healthy food on the go.
Spices, Herbs and Seasonings
Using salt for cooking will only add too much salt intake which does no good for lowering cholesterol. Instead it will increase your blood pressure. So your groceries shopping guide must include zesty spices and fresh/ dried herbs to add flavor to your food. You can buy any of your preferred spices or seasonings as mentioned below:
- Bay leaves
- Meridian fennel
- Cayenne or Black pepper
- Chili powder
- Curry powder
- Garlic and onion powder
- Red pepper flakes
- Other Sodium-free seasonings
Note – Herbs, spices and seasonings are low fat and low salt ways to add flavor to your food.
It is better for people suffering from cholesterol to cut down sugar intake. Sugar is full of calories and will add only pounds in people with cholesterol problem. However, if you wish to satisfy your sweet tooth use healthier options as mentioned below:
- Brown rice syrup
- Moderate amount of Honey
- Sugar-free maple syrups
Note – It is always better to use less amount of any kind of sweeteners.
In addition to above foods to avoid for lowering cholesterol levels, avoid fast foods such as hamburgers, French fries, fried chicken, and tacos. These foods are loaded with total fat and saturated fat. You may include beverages such as black tea or green tea in your groceries shopping list.
The aforementioned groceries shopping guide for people suffering from cholesterol is inclusive list. Taste preference differs from person to person, some foods are better for some people while others are not. So, buy those foods that may blend with your eating habits. Also, do not forget to consider foods that should be avoided for people suffering from cholesterol. Happy shopping for living healthy!!