Cholesterol: Infamous fat

. Eat more fruits and vegetables
. Substitute fish, chicken, beans, and grains for some of the meat on your menu
. Choose only lean red meats (round, rump, flank steak) and trim them well
. Replace whole milk and dairy products made from whole milk ( ice cream, most hard cheeses, some yogurts) with reduced-fat or skimmed varieties ( such as part-skim or low-fat cheeses, nonfat yogurt, ice milk)
. Use liquid vegetable oil ( soy, corn, sunflower, and safflower are good) instead of butter and hard shortenings, but remember that these, too, are rich in calories and should be used sparingly
. Eat two or three helpings a week of fish high in Omega-3 fatty acids

The fish fix

Fish, of course, contains so little saturated fat- and as a bonus also has some of the polyunsaturated fat that helps lower blood cholesterol.

Prefer to get your omega-3 from fish? If so, the experts recommend at least two servings a week. If your risk for heart disease is above average, however, we’d recommend even more.

Roll with the oats
. Oat bran muffins (about two large ones per day) lowered blood cholesterol among healthy college students by almost 10 percent.
. When larger amounts of oat bran- slightly more than 1 cup daily, as hot cereal or muffins — were taken by men with high blood cholesterol levels, their readings were reduced by an impressive 20 percent.
. In these same men with high cholesterol, 1/2 cup of dry beans, cooked and incorporated into a soup or side dish, also reduced cholesterol by about 20 percent. Most often, cooked kidney or pinto beans were used.

The soluble fiber solution

How do oat bran and beans benefit blood cholesterol? Scientists think that the fat-busting factor is the soluble fiber they contain.

Although beans and oat bran are the foods that have been found to work, other foods rich in soluble fiber may also help lower cholesterol. You need fairly large amounts — more than a single serving a day— to reap the benefits. About four servings a day from the following list.

Apples (2 medium)
Bananas ( 1 1/2 medium)
Beans,kidney or pinto (1/3 cup cooked)
Beans, lima (1/4 cup cooked)
Beans white ( 1/2 cooked)
Broccoli (3/4 cup cooked)
Cauliflower ( 3/4 cup raw)
Chick peas ( 1/2 cup cooked )
Crunchy Bran cereal ( 3/4 cup )
Corn (1/2 cup)
Eggplant ( 1 cup cooked)
Figs (2 medium)
Greens,collard, kale, mustard,or turnip (1 cup cooked)
Lettuce, dark green or loose- leaf (1 cup)
Oat bran (1/3 cup dry)
Oatmeal (3/4 cup cooked)
Okra (3/4 cup)
Post Toasties cereal ( 1 cup)
Potato 3/4 medium baked)
Prunes (5)
Zucchini (3/4 cup)*