Campus Alert: Find the latest UMMS campus news and resources at umassmed.edu/coronavirus

Search Close Search
Page Menu

Lowering your Level of LDL

(Low Density Lipoprotein – “Lousy Cholesterol”)

Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and reducing LDL cholesterol could help prevent it.  Decreasing LDL levels can be easy and there are many ways to go about making dietary changes.  In the past, public health messages have been directed at particular foods that needed to be reduced or eliminated.  We now know that along with reducing certain foods, there are many foods, when increased, help to achieve a beneficial cholesterol profile.

Saturated Fats:

  • Beef, pork, lamb
  • Dairy with fat (use low or fat free)
  • Cream-based soups, sauces & dressings
    (Choose Broth, tomato & Vinaigrettes)
  • Fried foods
  • Butter
  • Cheese

Trans Fatty Acids (seen on ingredient labels as partially hydrogenated vegetable oils)

Most things with a shelf life:

  • Baked goods:  cakes, cookies, crackers, pies
  • Margarine and shortening
  • Chips and other snack foods

Foods to increase to help lower LDL

Soluble Fiber:  lowers LDL cholesterol by binding bile acids

  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Fruit, especially apples, pears, avocados
  • Ground flaxseed (refrigerate)
  • Legumes or beans:  kidney, chickpea, pinto
  • Psyllium:  Metamucil®
  • Brans:  oat bran & rice bran

Insoluble Fiber:  great for digestive health yet does not lower cholesterol:  wheat, vegetables, and all of the above are good sources of insoluble fiber.

Other LDL-lowering strategies

Vegetables:  contains some soluble fiber, mostly insoluble fiber.  Lots of nutrients!
Fish:  Great substitute for red meat and can help improve HDL and Triglycerides.  Recommend 2-3 servings per week.
Weight Loss:  For most, a 5-10% weight reduction helps lower LDL.    
Smart  Balance Omega-Plus Margarine has phytosterols and omega-3 fatty acids, good for lowering LDL, also good for HDL and triglycerides.  No hydrogenated oils. Use daily for best results.