Dietary guidelines have changed and no longer define the exact amount of cholesterol allowed in a persons’ diet. (1) This can seem confusing when for years the message has been to cut foods high in cholesterol from your diet. Let me be the bearer of good news, if you want to eat steak and eggs, you can now eat them without any accompanying guilt. The caveat to this is that you are mindful the portion and how often you eat these cholesterol rich foods. Moderation in everything has been spoken so often it almost feels like the unspoken golden rule from kindergarten, and yes it applies here.
A balanced healthful diet should not have the largest portion of the meal or most commonly eaten foods be steak and eggs. The foods that should make up the lion’s share of your diet are vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes. These foods are high in soluble fiber, which has been shown to reduce cholesterol. (2)
The recommendation is 25-30 grams of fiber per day. If you incorporate fiber at every meal and with snacks, then you will have no problem meeting recommendations. An example of a days worth of fiber would be: ½ cup oatmeal, 1 medium apple with skin, 2 plain rye crackers, ½ cup kidney beans, ½ avocado, 1 ounce almonds, ¼ cup whole grain pasta noodles.
The main source of protein in your diet should be all types of seafood and then poultry, eggs, milk and yogurt. Lastly include red meat and sweets in small portions. When considering fats, focus on increasing the amount of mono-unsaturated fats like olive, canola, sesame and peanut oil.
I have just described the popular Mediterranean diet. My hope is that you now have an idea of how you could incorporate some it’s components. The reason for my hope is that this diet showed to reduce mortality from cardiovascular disease by 9% in meta-analysis. (3)
When making dietary and lifestyle changes such as including supplements to support heart health remember to maintain the right perspective and focus on what you can do and what you can have instead of what you cannot.
- 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 June 2017.
- Glore SR, Van Treeck D, Knehans AW, Guild M. Soluble fiber and serum lipids: a literature review. J Am Dietet Assoc1994;94:425-36.
- Sofi, F., et al. “Adherence to Mediterranean diet and health status: meta-analysis.” BMJ. 2008:337:a1344.