Various research institutes have come to the conclusion that we don’t need to consume cholesterol. That is, we do not require cholesterol in our diets.
Don’t get me wrong, cholesterol is very important for our well being – it is a key component in cellular function. The catch is, we don’t actually need to consume it; our bodies produce sufficient amounts for its needs.
Having said that, the majority of Cholesterol in our diets comes from eggs (yolks), and animal products rich in fats, such as meats and full-fat dairy products, and honestly, these are the primary ingredients in most of our meals.
So, for those looking to lower their Cholesterol levels, or for those who would simply like to maintain a healthy diet, cholesterol free diet foods come in very handy…
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1) Egg Whites
Egg whites, unlike egg yolks have zero cholesterol levels but still come packed with high levels of protein and other essential nutrients. It may have been proven that the effect of egg consumption on blood cholesterol is minimal, but it doesn’t hurt to moderate your intake.
Either way, there are multiple egg white recipes for healthier breakfasts and desserts.
2) Nuts (Almonds, Walnuts, Hazelnuts)
Nuts like almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts are another cholesterol free health-food. They come packed with mono- and poly-unsaturated fats, which help keep your heart and its constituent vessels healthy, by improving general blood cholesterol.
For variety, you can mix a few nut-types and have them as a light snack. But be careful while including these in your diet, since they also come packed full of calories.
3) Potatoes & Sweet Potatoes
Baked or boiled, potatoes can make a great cholesterol free food. Therefore, depending on how they are prepared, potatoes are a surprisingly good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B-6, Potassium and other vital nutrients with no cholesterol.
Potato salad, for instance, combines celery, onion, whole-grain mustard, fat free mayonnaise, garlic powder, and some fat free sour cream to create a nice nutrient packed cholesterol free meal.
For those that can stand it, the soybean legume has been known to be a very good high-fiber and cholesterol lowering, alternative protein source.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agrees that 25 grams per day of soy protein may lower the risk of heart disease and also have a role in reducing the chances of getting some hormone-related cancers.
But don’t overdo it. Over-consumption of soy can lead to reduced absorption of calcium, magnesium, copper, Iron and Zinc.
5) Whole Grains (Rice, Oats)
Whole and unprocessed grains like rice and oats are great sources of minerals and dietary fiber, while maintaining very low to zero fat and cholesterol content.
However, care must be taken while preparing these grains, to avoid the use of high fat and cholesterol increasing ingredients like animal-based cooking oils and fats.
Tofu may not be the most popular food out there, but you cannot deny its merits. So, for those who don’t mind its taste, it comes with various cholesterol related advantages.
Soy falls within the Soy family and is made by coagulating soy milk and then compressing the result into soft white blocks. Therefore, just like soy, it comes packed full of nutrients and does wonders as a cholesterol free meal.
It can also be molded into various tasty, cholesterol free recipes for the tofu lover.
7) Skimmed Milk Yogurt
For those that don’t mind including dairy in their diet, skimmed milk yogurt is a good example of having your cake and eating it.
Yogurt made from skimmed milk has had its fat content greatly reduced, and as a result, has a considerable cholesterol-lowering effect.
So, have some for breakfast and don’t miss out on your calcium while trying to avoid a dairy diet.
Bananas are another nutrient filled cholesterol-free food. While providing a good source of fiber, specifically soluble fiber, they aid in slowing down the absorption of cholesterol in your blood, thereby reducing your LDL “bad” cholesterol levels.
Therefore, mixing a few into your breakfast cereal would be a very good idea for a tasty low cholesterol breakfast.
Avocados have always been known to be a very good source of healthy fats. Specifically, mono-unsaturated fat. They therefore play a vital and direct role in increasing your HDL “good” cholesterol while reducing your LDL “bad” cholesterol.
However, you need to be careful while including avocados in your diet; these fruits are considerably high in calories, so a little at a time would be a better idea than eating in excess.
10) Beans, Peas & Lentils (legume)
Beans, peas and lentils are collectively referred to as legumes. They are naturally fat free and high in dietary fiber content. Legumes are known to be a powerhouse recipe for lower cholesterol and all-round health.
Researches have directly linked the increased consumption of legumes to the reduction of LDL “bad” cholesterol, also suggesting a potential reduction in risk for heart-disease.
So you can never go wrong by having a few beans, peas and lentils in your low-cholesterol diet three to four times a week.
Mushrooms are another commonly forgotten but great source of essential nutrients, not to mention cholesterol free.
They can easily be added to almost any dish that you have prepared, adding directly to the nutrient value, without adding too many calories.
They are also a good source of Vitamin D and Iron, are very low in salt and sugar, are fat free and to top it off, they boost your immune system.
12) Tomatoes & Lycopene Vegetables
Tomatoes, carrots, watermelons and other lycopene containing fruits and vegetables are naturally antioxidant and come with zero cholesterol.
Studies say that consuming 25 milligrams of lycopene (the antioxidant that gives tomatoes their red pigment) daily can reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol by about 10 percent.
To take advantage of this, you can simply make a nice carrot, tomato and watermelon juice, using your blender, to have in the morning before or with your breakfast.
13) Garlic & Onions
For those that love the aromatic nature of garlic and onions, these two ingredients are known to reduce incidents of cancer and heart disease.
Surprisingly, scientists have found that garlic produces more beneficial cholesterol-related effects in women than in men, and in those with diabetes or heart disease than in healthier people.
So for those interested in a low cholesterol aroma-filled experience, a nice garlic and onion soup would take full advantage of all these properties.
Choosing Cholesterol Free Diet Foods
With all the cholesterol free diet foods available in the market, it is actually not that difficult to maintain a cholesterol free life.
But, it is also not compulsory.
You have the option of maintaining a balanced diet while keeping your cholesterol levels in check, with the help of the various foods above, combined with a regular exercise schedule.
Exercise increases HDL “good” cholesterol levels while reducing LDL “bad” cholesterol levels in the body.