A healthy, low-calorie meal plan can help you lose weight and lower your cholesterol. Click here to download and print a sample one-day meal plan.
We’ve included sample recipes you can try at home which are very low in cholesterol. Click here to download and print these healthy recipes. Enjoy!
When it comes to managing your cholesterol, you may need a little TLC. A Therapeutic Lifestyle Change can provide big benefits to those looking to lower cholesterol levels. September is National Cholesterol Education Month, and it’s time to learn how simple lifestyle changes can help you achieve or maintain a healthy cholesterol level!
The principles of the Therapeutic Lifestyle Change call for:
Achieving or maintaining a healthy weight. Losing excess weight can make a big difference in your total cholesterol levels and can even help you achieve a healthy cholesterol level. Focus on losing weight in a healthy manner by eating healthy along with regular exercise. This is the most effective way to lose weight safely. Start by eating healthy, balanced meals that include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate tool offers a sensible and balanced approach to healthy eating. Learn more on the MyPlate website. If you’re looking to begin an exercise program, try walking. It’s simple, effective and can be done by most people. Just 30 minutes on most days of the week can help you achieve or maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of chronic diseases.
Limiting intake of saturated fat, trans fat and dietary cholesterol. Specifically, less than seven percent of your daily caloric intake should be from saturated fat. Saturated fat is often found in animal products like meat and dairy. This includes fatty cuts of beef, lamb, butter, cheese and dairy products made with 2% or whole milk. These foods also contain dietary cholesterol. You should have less than 200 mg of dietary cholesterol each day. Some plant-based fats like palm oil and coconut oil contain saturated fat, but do not contain cholesterol. You should try to avoid any foods containing trans fat. These include baked goods, like doughnuts and some packaged chips and crackers. Trans fat is especially dangerous since it both lowers your “good” cholesterol and raises your “bad” cholesterol. Click here to download a list of healthy substitutions you can make when cooking.
Increasing intake of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat vs. saturated fat. Studies have shown these types of healthy fats can actually help improve blood cholesterol and also blood sugar levels. Omega-3 fatty acids fall into the polyunsaturated fat category and are found in some types of fatty fish like salmon. These also can help prevent coronary artery disease and reduce blood pressure.
Increasing intake of omega-3 fatty acids, soluble fiber, fruits and vegetables. Along with Omega-3’s and fatty fish, soluble fiber helps to lower your bad cholesterol and can lower absorption of cholesterol. Just five to 10 grams of soluble fiber per day can decrease cholesterol levels. Just 1½ cups of oatmeal has six grams of fiber. Add some fruit, like a banana, and you can easily add another four grams. And that’s just breakfast! Along with most fruit, vegetables are a good source of dietary fiber.
These simple lifestyle habits can make a big difference in your health. It’s also important to have your cholesterol checked each year to make sure it stays within a healthy range. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi’s Healthy You! wellness benefit provides an annual visit with a Network Provider at no out-of-pocket cost for preventive health screenings, which include cholesterol. Visit our Be Healthy section to learn more about the recommended screenings for your age and gender. If you are a Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi member, log in to our secure myBlue member portal for Healthy You! information specific to you.