If you are trying to lose weight, either for health reasons or just because you want to look great in those form-fitting jeans you bought, you already know that having a low-cholesterol diet is one of the cornerstones of healthy eating.

Overall, a low cholesterol diet should serve to decrease your consumption of total dietary fat, decrease cholesterol, limit the consumption of salty foods, and decrease the total number of calories consumed. Meanwhile, you should increase the amount of fiber, legumes, and fish oils in your diet.

If you are interested in putting together low cholesterol diet menus for you and your family, here are 7 tips for a successful menu:

1. Avoid butter and stick margarine:

Butter is an enemy of healthy eating because it contains what is known as trans fat, or saturated fats. These fats are solid at room temperature, unlike the healthier unsaturated fats which remain liquid.

Along with butter, avoid stick margarines. Instead, eat the spreads found in tubs, since they contain mono-unsaturated and/or poly-unsaturated fats.

2. Avoid packaged and fast foods:

Almost all fast foods and many pre-packaged foods are very bad for you. They generally contain everything that you should be avoiding, including saturated fats, high sodium, and refined sugars.

3. Avoid refined sugars and high-fructose corn syrups:

High-fructose corn syrup is made from corn that has been processed. It, along with refined white sugar (sucrose), is found in very high quantities in many foods available today – much more than are bodies are supposed to be consuming. Eating both of these sweeteners really packs on the pounds, and it also contributes to both weight gain and cholesterol buildup.

4. Avoid enriched flour:

Not all carbohydrates are bad for you. In fact, complex carbohydrates such as those found in vegetables and fruits are actually very good for you. In terms of bread products, for example, you will want to steer away from those that contained enriched flour and toward those that contain whole wheat or grains. Essentially, enriched flour contains very little fiber or complex carbohydrates.

5. Eat fish and fish oils:

In terms of what you should be eating more of, fish oils should certainly be near the top of your list because they can actually lower your cholesterol levels. Salmon, lake trout, mackerel and herring are excellent. If you do not eat fish at least 3 times per week, try taking Omega-3 fish oil supplements instead.

6. Eat more fiber:

Fiber, especially what is called soluble fiber, is actually fermented by the good bacteria in your colon and helps to lower your blood cholesterol. To get the fiber you need, eat at least 30 grams of healthy fruits and veggies each day.

7. Other good stuff:

Other excellent foods for a low-cholesterol diet include beans, legumes, low-fat cheeses, and lean meats. Specific examples would be lean beef with minimal marbling/fat, skinless turkey & chicken, seafood, cottage cheese, beans, peanut butter, lentils, tofu, and low-fat yogurt made with skim milk.

Consider each of these 7 tips as you put together low cholesterol diet menus for your family. Combined with the proper exercise, eating such a diet can get you healthier checkups at the doctor and have you looking great in those jeans in no time.

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