High cholesterol - what to eat/what to avoid

  1. I had my yearly physical and just received a call from the doctor telling me my cholesterol is too high. It's 292. He didn't give me the breakdown (hdl vs ldl), but he said I need to go on medication. I am 43 and not overweight. I have one month before he tests it again and puts me on medicine. Does anyone have any ideas of what I should avoid eating or what I should be eating? I know Cheerios are good and oatmeal. I know I'm supposed to stay away from fried foods, dairy, red meat, saturated fat. Anything else? More importantly what is left to eat? salad with fat-free dressing, grilled chicken & fish, veggies, pasta with red sauce. What else? Any help would be appreciated.
  2. Did he say if your triglycerides were high? If they were then elimimate most sugar and carbs. Mine was quite high and I brought it down. Any carbs via veggies are good. Carbs via white flour or rice are bad. Also, I prefer the steel cut oats. They take longer to make but are "nutty" tasting. Yummy with blueberries. Also, eliminate fruit juice for this month. Those tend to be high in sugar carbs also without the fiber benefit.

    Don't worry - just get the breakdown from him.

    I also didn't eliminate all fat. I choose only good fat and found that works better for me. I noticed all "fat-free" items were higher in carbs/sugar. I drink 1% milk and also eat low-fat cottage cheese and low-fat or whole-milk yogurt. I've found that eating the good fats not only taste much better but for some reason make me seem more satisfied. I was always starving with "fat-free".
  3. Thanks for the info, Maxter. I've only been watching what I've been eating for two days and I am really very hungry. I will try what you are doing. I'll eat low-fat items instead of fat-free.
  4. Docs are pushing cholesterol lowering meds now. Sometimes they are needed and sometimes not. I would find out your break down before you consider doing ANYTHING. Was this a fasting cholesterol test? Did you fast starting after midnight the night before the test? If not you need to request they re-do the test after you have fasted. Find out what your hdl (good cholesterol) level is. IF it is nice and high (over 60) then you may have some other options. You just really really need to get some more info before you start any medication. Don't just trust your doctor blindly. I am not saying your doc doesn't know what he is talking about. I am just saying you need to research these meds, know your levels and know ALL your options. Sometimes going off these meds is dangerous so know all your options BEFORE you start. Change your diet and get lots of excercise. My doc recommended I do this for 6 months then retest before we consider meds.

    As far as diet- avoid all saturated fats and trans fats. Read all labels. Saturated fats and trans fats are in butter, margarine and animal fats. Good fats like olive oil, canola oil safflower oil flax seed oil are good things and can actually improve your bad to good cholesterol ratio which is a great thing. You do not want to avoid all oil. Eat your salads with olive oil and vinegar. Good fats are super good for your health.

    Don't starve yourself either. Eat high fiber. Eats lots of fruits and veggies (no butter!!) and whole grain breads. Do you like hummus? I have a great recipe I can pm you if you want me to. It has high fiber, uses olive oil and is very filling and yummy.

    Do you excercise? Aerobic excercise like walking or running is great and helps to lower cholesterol and improve the hdl to ldl ratio.

    As you can see I have don't a lot of research in this area. If I can help you any more let me know.
  5. crjhht......I couldn't have said this better myself. Mainly, don't go fat-free, and don't buy anything processed that advertises, "low-fat" because it is just loaded with extra sugars. What you should do is not eat anything processed. Period. Steamed veggies with herbs and chicken breast without skin and lean meat. My husband and I managed to lower our cholesterol significantly by just sticking to this type of diet, along with oatmeal in the morning. If you must use oil, olive oil is the best. It's actually very good for you. I have been told by my doctor that she wants to put me on lipitor, but I am fighting it, and I know I am winning. The problem is, that once you are on lipitor or any type of statin, the insurance companies will just love to raise your rates every chance they get. That shouldn't stop you from actually allowing yourself to take the medicine, but I would do everything I could to lower it myself. Pills are easy for doctors to prescribe, but they can't seem to prescribe the proper foods and exercises. Thanks for listening. Good luck.
  6. crjhht Good point with the fasting test. I was assuming it was. That makes a HUGE difference!

    Start to work on what you are eating. Get the full story from your doc. I would also give it 60 days before retest. (You can lower tri's in 30 days)

    I completely agree with the drug thing. I am so sick of looking in magazines and on tv and seeing all these drugs being pushed.

    Good luck!
  7. Seafood is also high on cholesterol (like shrimp and crabs). High cholesterol runs in my family and a couple of my bros are taking meds. I've been threaten a few times too by my doc so I've been watching what I eat. I have to say that exercise (threadmill 3-5 times a week)and watching what I eat has lowered my cholesterol. Goodluck to you.
  8. Kat...couple things..before you go on meds why don't you try some natural products. My husband uses Red Yeast Rice and also Niacinamide 500mg tabs and they have helped. They are both found in health food stores or in a vitamin store. Do some research online about them or go into the store and ask some questions.

    Also, if you find your triglycerides to be high you need to omit sweets at all costs. My hubby did that as well. It nearly killed him. He allowed himself one treat on the weekend. He was very strict and did not cheat. He also watched his carbs. He ate them earlier in the day and not after 3pm if at all possible. He did not cut them out, but ate them earlier to allow his body to break them up etc. His triglycerides went down big time.

    These two things both have helped him and his #'s go down tremendously. He also did cardio on the treadmill. He spent longer times on there...not necessarily fast paced, but more for distance to get to the burning calorie stage.

    I would say he dropped easily 50-75 points. It was not easy, but he did it. He still ate meat, breads, fats etc., but in moderation. It was the combinations of the natural pills, sweet restriction, no late carb eating, and exercise.

    Good Luck...you can do it!
  9. I did fast prior to the test. I was told not to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before. I appreciate all the info you ladies have shared with me. I am going to take your advise and start exercising more and watch what I eat. I really would like to avoid taking meds if at all possible. The doc did not mention anything about my triglycerides so I guess the number was okay. I'm going to call the office monday morning and find out what the hdl/ldl numbers were. Thanks again for the info.
  10. Don't take the meds until you've tried all you can do on your own. They're very hard on your body. It sounds like you're on the right track with high fiber and cutting back on high cholesterol foods.

    I've lowered my by cutting out dairy (just nonfat milk now) and eating chicken and fish for protein. And, don't forget cardio exercise really helps too. Try fish oil caps. A former coworker said she lowered hers a lot doing that. So I'm trying it. I go back in for my yearly physical in Oct. so I'll see how I've done so far.

    Give youself time, one month is not that long to retest. Try six months and I bet you'll see a big difference if you watch what you eat.

    Good luck!
  11. My DH has high cholesterol, and recently started on meds. And of course, we are modifying his diet. Unfortunately, there is only so much you can do before genetics kicks in. All the suggestions above are good. Also, try soy products. Cutting out dairy products and using soy, such as soymilk, etc. Make tofu your friend :smile:.

    But please, after you try the methods (and I wish you the best!!!), and if you still have high cholesterol, I urge you to listen to you doctor. There are instances of young people thinking they can't possible have a heart attack, and opting not to take high cholesterol meds that could have saved them. Sorry about being grim, it's just that I have personal family experience... :sad:
  12. Thanks for the advise. I will take the medication if all else fails.
  13. The american heart association can provide all kinds of pamphlets about what to eat and what to avoid.

    Obvious things to avoid: fried foods, shrimp, lobster

    18002428721 is the AHA national call center.. if you call, they should be able to send you brochures on healthy eating plans, more information about cholesterol, etc.. And it's a free service that they do.

    If by chance you have a problem getting the info from AHA, let me know :flowers:
  14. Thanks so much for this info. I'm going to give them a call.