There are several things that people can do to improve their cholesterol levels, from eating more whole grains and fiber to exercising more frequently. One aspect of the cholesterol diet that should be taken into consideration is how much fat is being consumed, and even more specifically, what type of fats are being ingested on a regular basis.
The American Heart Associations Nutrition Committee has created "fat guidelines" for all Americans over the age of two regarding the recommended amounts and types of fats that are found in the daily diet. According to these guidelines, cholesterol nutrition can be better balanced if the total fat intake is limited to less than 25-35 percent of the total calorie intake for the day, and saturated fat intake should be limited to less than seven percent of total calories consumed each day.
The amount of trans fats consumed should be less than one percent of total daily calorie intake, and dietary cholesterol should be less than 300 mg per day. The AHA states that saturated fats, trans fats and dietary cholesterol can raise LDL blood cholesterol levels, while monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats have not been shown to raise these "bad" cholesterol levels, and may be able to lower them in some cases.
Sources of these "good" cholesterol foods containing monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats include nuts, seeds, fish and vegetable oils, and should amount to the remaining 17-27 percent or less of total daily fat intake.Trans fatty acids and hydrogenated fats have been shown to be particularly harmful for increasing cholesterol levels and should, as stated, be limited for folks on a low cholesterol diet.Some ways to try to limit the intake of trans fatty acids found in high cholesterol foods include using vegetable oils such as olive, sunflower, canola or sunflower most often, and using soft margarine as a substitute for butter. Fried foods, fast foods and commercial baked goods are further examples of high cholesterol foods that should be limited.Knowing the difference between fats -- and how much of each is considered okay to eat on a daily basis -- is an important step towards lowering high cholesterol levels or maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. Such changes may seem daunting at first, but even making small adjustments over time can have a positive impact on the heart.