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How do you plan meals on a low-cholesterol diet?

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Plan meals for a low-cholesterol diet by following a research-based regimen such as the Mayo Clinic Diet, the Mediterranean Diet, the Vegetarian Diet, the Dean Ornish Diet or the Flexitarian Diet, advises WebMD. These diets are designed to lower levels of low-density lipoproteins, also known as "bad" cholesterol.

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The Mayo Clinic Diet emphasizes high-fiber foods such as oats and nuts, and foods with high omega-3 fatty acids like fish, says WebMD. The Mediterranean Diet is a flexible, tasty, adaptable diet based on what people in the Mediterranean have been eating for hundreds of years. Whole grains, vegetables, fruits, fish and lean meats make up the heart of this diet. The Vegetarian Diet eliminates eating meat, which means consuming less cholesterol, total fat and specifically saturated fat. This diet requires paying careful attention to getting enough protein and nutrients such as vitamins D and B12, zinc, iron and calcium.

The Dean Ornish Diet is designed at different levels, from the strictest one which cuts out all animal products, to less-rigorous ones that allow fish and polyunsaturated oils, explains WebMD. One small study of people who used this diet showed a 30 percent reduction in cholesterol. The Flexitarian Diet is based on the concept of a vegetarian diet that allows for eating small portions of meat, fish and poultry. Half of a meal is composed of fruits and vegetables, and the other half is a mix of whole grains and lean protein. Dairy products such as cheese, milk and yogurt are encouraged.

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