Control Bad Cholesterol Levels with a Healthy Diet

In addition to adopting a diet to control bad cholesterol, it's also important to do physical exercise in order to fight the effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
Control Bad Cholesterol Levels with a Healthy Diet

Last update: 05 April, 2021

Have you been told you have a health problem and need to adopt a different diet to control bad cholesterol? If so, don’t wait too long. Furthermore, the sooner you improve your lifestyle habits, the better you will feel.

Therefore, here we’ll tell you more about the importance of adopting and maintaining a healthy diet and some aspects of its role in controlling cholesterol levels. So, don’t miss out!

Your diet, cholesterol, and your health

Although diet has a limited influence on cholesterol levels, correcting some habits can slightly improve the lipid profile.

An image of a heart with bad cholesterol.

A high cholesterol level consists of levels equal to or higher than 200 mg/dl. However, the problem becomes even more serious when levels surpass 250 mg/dl.

However, these values are currently being questioned. This is because experts currently attribute the cardiovascular risk to the oxidation process of LDL lipoprotein, not to total cholesterol.

While a large number of cases result from genetics, dietary changes are our greatest tool for regulating cholesterol levels.

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fatty substance that we essentially need to live. In addition to forming a part of cellular membranes, it’s the precursor for several hormones, bile acids, vitamin D, as well as other essential substances.

Cholesterol mainly comes from the organs such as the liver and intestine. In addition, your body also absorbs animal-based cholesterol from your regular diet.

When cholesterol builds up in the artery walls, it inflames the area and encourages the formation of atheroma plaque. These are responsible for conditions such as atherosclerosis.

However, the latest studies cast doubt on this relationship. In fact, an article published in 2017, links LDL cholesterol oxidation with increased cardiovascular risk, not the lipid profile itself.

This oxidation process, among other things, is linked to:

  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes
  • Liver and kidney problems

Risk factors of bad cholesterol

There are many high cholesterol cases that originate in genetics. Furthermore, the condition can affect various members of a given family, or parents can pass it on to their children. In such cases, the body “produces” more cholesterol than it needs.

Other related causes are:

  • Poor dietary habits (a diet rich in saturated fats and sugar)
  • Obesity or diabetes
  • Tobacco use
  • Sedentary lifestyle

A diet for regulating cholesterol levels

In order to design a proper diet for controlling cholesterol levels, we have to remember some basic factors:

  • The patient’s age
  • The patient’s weight and possible metabolic disorders
  • Their current state of health (if there are any other diseases)

Keeping these factors in mind, you should base your diet on diverse and healthy foods. This is because the nutrition that these foods provide should satisfy the body’s needs.

In this sense, it should be your doctor who should investigate the reasons for your high cholesterol levels and propose a treatment and a diet to follow.

Foods to avoid to control bad cholesterol

  • Sugar and sweets
  • Baked goods
  • Ultra-processed food
  • Prepackaged or fried foods
  • Foods that contain hydrogenated oils or fats

Recommend foods to control bad cholesterol

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Lean meat (chicken or turkey)
  • Legumes (beans, peas, lentils)
  • Omega 3 foods or oily fish
  • Whole grains (oats, barley, rice)
  • Unsaturated fats (olive oil, avocado oil, nuts, and seeds)

Both the fiber and omega-3 fatty acids present in oily fish help control the lipid profile, according to a study published in the Archives of Medical Research.

A healthy lunch to control bad cholesterol.

There are a lot of menus out there for people who need to regulate their bad cholesterol levels. However, as we mentioned before, a diet should meet each individual’s specific requirements.

Considering that there are basic recommendations for lowering LDL, we’d like to suggest a balanced and delicious menu below.

Breakfast

  • Oats with milk and fruit
  • Black coffee
  • Wheat bread toast with extra-virgin olive oil and tomato slices

Mid-morning

  • Small wheat bread and canned sardine sandwich
  • Pickles
  • Toasted nuts (not fried, no salt)

Lunch

  • Lentil and brown rice salad
  • Pickled mackerel
  • A small piece of avocado

Snack

  • Natural fat-free yogurt with nuts or seeds

Dinner

  • Stir-fried or steamed vegetables
  • A veggie burger (lentil, quinoa, or beans)
  • A small piece of peach (optional)

Other habits to control bad cholesterol (LDL)

A happy woman tying her shoes.

Diet is key for controlling bad cholesterol. However, you must also work on other habits to complement a healthy diet.

Physical activity

Exercising regularly prevents and combats hypercholesterolemia. Getting active every day, or at least 3 times a week, reduces the effects of a sedentary lifestyle.

Skip the cigarettes

While smoking doesn’t raise LDL levels, it does affect the production of good cholesterol (HDL). As a result, interferes with the processes that help keep high cholesterol at bay.

Lose weight to control bad cholesterol

In any case, a healthy diet and exercise are essential for reaching a healthy weight. Furthermore, you have to be disciplined and consistent to fight the harmful effects of being overweight or obese.

Control bad cholesterol with a good diet and exercise

So, did your recent results show high cholesterol levels? Watch out! Though you might not feel unhealthy, your body could be developing related diseases. So, try to apply all of our recommendations to your lifestyle today to fight your high cholesterol levels.

Firstly, consult your doctor and start with a diet to control bad cholesterol. Also, consider exercising on a regular basis. This will help you improve your health and feel more alive.

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  • Kattoor AJ., Pothineni NVK., Palagiri D., Mehta JL., Oxidative stress in atherosclerosis. Curr Atheroscler Rep, 2017.
  • Torres N., Guevara Cruz M., Velazquez Villegas LA., Tovar AR., Nutrition and aterosclerosis. Arch Med Res, 2015. 46 (5): 408-26.