HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Cholestrol lowering recipes

After a physical exam late last year, the results shows that my cholestrol level is through the roof. I'm planning to change my diet a little and would like to find out if there's any good recipes that is low in cholestrol or even better, help to reduce cholestrol. I'm looking for tasty recipes, not healthy but tasteless ones.

Thanks for sharing and good health to everyone.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. One way to reduce cholesterol is through increased fiber intake - start with breakfast (whole grains, bran, oatmeal - and add cinnamon, another positive spice) - and try to add broccoli, beans, and dark leafy greens in copious quantities - even more so when eating higher cholesterol meals (not only are they a better way to fill up, they help slow the absorption) -

    for recipes - look for some bean-based soups, sauteed greens, and use spices for flavor instead of fat (blackened fish or lean meat) - good luck getting the number below 200!

    1. Oatmeal! It's a proven cholesterol-lowering food. Just start eating it for breakfast. I eat it almost every day... I like steel-cut oats. I cook it with rice milk and dried currants (sometimes cranberries or cherries), and usually top it off with some maple syrup or honey. Lately I've been slicing up a banana and eating it with maple syrup. It's quite decadent.

      Other than that, eating more veggies and legumes like beans and lentils will help. Obviously, avoid red meat. Swap out butter for something like Earth Balance, which is formulated to help with cholesterol (and it tastes and bakes great). I'd switch to soy milk too, as I feel like I read something about cholesterol and heart-healthy whatever on the package every day...

      These are easy switches which will help considerably. My dad had some cholesterol problems and by eating oatmeal every day got his levels down quite a bit. I am lucky, I've never had problems, but attribute a quite healthy diet to that luck. Not to brag, but when I had mine tested it was at 104. The nurse was pretty impressed. Though my brother beats me at 99!

      1 Reply
      1. re: annimal

        The AMA is backing away from the soy claims.


        I'm all for eating tofu, but the highly processed nature of most soy-based items would give me pause. Transfats are the most important thing to stay away from, and you can label something transfat-free even if it has up to .5 g (in the US).

      2. You can improve your lipid profile by eating unsaturated fats--olive oil, canola oil, almonds, walnuts, salmon, tuna, flaxseeds, omega-3 enriched eggs. This will bring up your HDL (good cholesterol) pretty quickly, as long as you also limit your saturated fat intake (reduce red meat, cheese, butter, etc.) and exercise. (also, watch out for unfiltered coffee--espresso, french press--it contains aromatic oils called terpenes, which may raise your bad cholesterol. This isn't a problem in filtered coffee.)

        good luck--it can be done!

        2 Replies
        1. re: rcsimm

          wow, never heard that about the french press coffee before, cholesterol is a potential issue for me as well so I'm gonna have to look into this, do you have any more info or articles on this ? thanks

          1. re: rcsimm

            To the oil line up add pumpkin seed oil and Argan oil from Morocco. Both are imports. You must not cook with the Argan, use it in salad dressings, it adds a nutty taste. Both Pumpkin and Argan oils are powerful cholesterol lowerers. Ground flaxseed is also a great help. I grind what i need at a time and it easily incorporates into many dishes.

          2. Several friends/co-workers and myself have had good luck with the Zone Diet.

            It isn't just recipes, but eating the specific combinations of fats, carbs, and protein. Exercise is very important to the "diet".

            The first book (Entering the Zone) contains the theory. The other books contain recipes. The author's main reason for developing the diet was: no male in his family lived to be over 50, including his brother.

            An example of one day's diet.

            Breakfast: 1.5 cups fresh fruit salad, 1/2 cup cottage cheese, few almonds or macadamia nuts.
            Lunch: 4-6 oz teriyaki chicken, 2 cups steamed veggies (carrots, broccoli, cabbage).
            Afternoon Snack: 1/4 lb Green beans with 2 ozs ham.
            Dinner: 6 oz grilled salmon, grilled asparagus, steamed artichoke with small amount of mayonaise.
            Exercise: 45-60 minutes of bicycling ~18-24mph.

            1. I recently had a high cholesterol reading too. I blame it on my increased eating of cheese in the last few years that coincided with my decision to drink less wine. So definitely, stop eating cheese. (I've limited myself to eating it maybe once a month. I'm talking about hard cheese on a cheese board. I still shave parmesan on dishes here and there.)

              And you might consider drinking red wine. I think it helps, in moderation.

              Of course, the mediterranean diet is the standard, which emphasizes olive oil in cooking and fresh fish with fatty oils like salmon (wild, not farmed), sardines and anchovies. And lots of beans.

              And yes, exercise! :)

              1. Oatmeal is great but adding sweet stuff such as raisins, sugar, honey , syrups, et., will only add to the problem. Pure cinnamon is fine so is some whole milk which gives it a sweet taste. Stay away from the evil white stuff as a rule. Garlic, raw and cooked is supposedly a cholesterol reducer.

                1. My husband has high cholesterol, alas, genetically. I can stand and gnaw on a stick of butter and still have good levels. Not fair, definitely. So in an attempt to help him out, I prepare our dinner meals with that in mind.

                  Dinners consist of: Chicken, fish, pork (pork is so lean these days that it's not the issue it was 15 years ago), and I go light on the beef. I use olive oil exclusively for sauteeing any vegetables or anything, for that matter, and if I serve bread, I always put a saucer of olive oil and balsamic out instead of butter. I use cheese and cream sparingly (that was a tough one for me, because we both love cheese and cream sauces).

                  For breakfast, he gave up whole eggs and has some wonderful breakfasts of egg whites, turkey bacon and lots and lots of veggies and whole grain bread. My poor little bowl of oatmeal never smells as good as his hot breakfast.

                  For his lunches, he's great with making sandwiches out of lots of veggies, whole grain breads, lean meat like turkey and and he'll sometimes use soy cheese which I think is vile, but he thinks it's OK. Sometimes he has some soup that I prepare for my lunch with it. Soup is great, because is you stay away from the cream-based stuff, it's filling AND good for you (think tomato soups and broth-based stuff.) He also loves carrot juice, which is good for him and filling as well.

                  For snacks, we keep lowfat cottage cheese and yogurt around, and there's almost always boiled chicken in the fridge that I've got from making stock. He'll make a snack of that and some crackers.

                  We both exercise daily, whether it's a one-hour power walk, or cardio and weights. That helps tremendously.

                  A whole lot of it for him was cutting down on cheese, butter and other dairy (not out, but down) and increasing good fats like olive oil and increasing veggies.

                  And definitely exercise. Did I say that already? I'll say it again. Get up and move. MOVE! Whether it's a nice walk or some serious cardio, we have to get off our heinies. It does wonders.

                  1. Agree with the previous posts about increased fiber intake, especially oatmeal and complex carbohydrates like beans. In addition, you can add some Metamucil or powdered psyllium to your daily routine.

                    1. Do you mean your LDL is "through the roof?". Because high HDL is more desirable than low LDL. High cholesterol can be a lot better for you than low cholesterol. My husband was told he had high cholesterol when he has high HDL so he has a better cholesterol profile than most people. YOu might want to review this:


                      Here are some ways to improve your cholesterol (lower is not always better) I like the 1-2 servings of alcoholic beverages.

                      Aerobic exercise
                      Weight loss
                      Smoking cessation
                      Removing trans fatty acids from the diet
                      Adding monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats to the diet
                      Drinking 1-2 servings of alcoholic beverages per day
                      Adding soluble fiber to diet

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Rhee

                        hi can I ask what kind of alcohol ?I dont drink any alcohol, but if it can help then ok . I also am on high blood pressure meds .

                      2. Thanks for the wonderful suggestions. Oatmeal was the first thing I went, bought a big box this morning, ate it plain with water and a little sugar. I will try to keep in mind of the other suggestions. It's definately difficult to give up meat and eggs.....sigh. Btw, the HDL is good, but the LDL is over the roof, hence the need to go on this diet.

                        Once again, thanks.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Problem Child

                          Problem Child, I have to say about oatmeal - I find the instant kind just kind of "glop". I have finally found oatmeal I like - it takes a full 35 minutes to cook in the morning, but for me, it makes the difference between "I'll eat it" and "You have GOT to be kidding me. Isn't this the 'swill' they serve to the guy in B.C.?" It's an Irish Oatmeal in a metal can and it's called John McCann, steel cut. For what it's worth.

                          1. re: Andiereid

                            I agree w/ the McCann's steel cut oatmeal. Instant oatmeal isn't always as high in fiber as steel cut. You can also grind up flaxseed and add that to the mix.

                            1. re: chowser

                              Second the McCann's steel cut. I make it in the crock pot overnight. Making 1 cup is enough for a week (if not longer). I use three cups water and another of milk per cup of oatmeal, plus a tiny bit of salt. In the morning, when its done, I add a big scoop of vanilla yogurt and some blueberry or cherry preserves. I love that contrast of cool and hot, sweet and slightly savory. I like mine really soupy, so I add more water to it as well. Over the next days, I just reheat it in a pan, adding quite a bit more water each time to keep it soupy. Oatmeal keeps very well, I've found. It's a very filling, hot breakfast that is pretty good for you. I then have a small piece of toast with butter, and I'm set. The one cooking lesson I've learned is not to try to make less than 1 cup. It just doesn't work out right...

                              1. re: chowser

                                You can soak the McCann's steel cut over night and nuke it in the AM. Great time saver.

                          2. I also heard Bran is good for lowering cholesterol. Try Bran flakes cereal, or Bran Buds which doesn't get soggy. At the beginning it's quite hard to eat, especially if you have a sweet tooth, like me. But I tried mixing Bran buds or Bran flakes with sweater cereal, and then slowly decrease the proportion of the sweater cereal, and it'll become easier.

                            1. A few years ago, my friend David was diagnosed as having high cholesterol, and in addition to the suggestions above, one of the tastiest things on his okay-to-eat list was: avocado! Apparently, although avocado is high in fat, it's the good stuff: increases HDL and decreases LDL. While guacamole is probably out unless you eschew the mayo or sour cream, plain sliced avocado with a bit of lime or lemon juice and salt/pepper can be great.

                              Oh, and definitely stay away from shrimp. Very high in cholesterol.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Youffraita

                                I can make a great avocado without any mayo, sour cream or anything else. Make if chunky adding peppers, tomatoes, onions, cilantro and lime juice.. Much better than with mayo....and your right it is excellent for us.

                                1. re: chef chicklet

                                  I'm with you on no mayo or sc in my guac. No need. Tonight I am making MM Ruth's cold avocado soup. I got a bonus buy on them the other day. It is in the 90's and humid. It will be delicious and beneficial.

                                2. re: Youffraita

                                  As I have recently discovered on this very board it is the consumption of saturated and hydrogenated fats that tends to elevate the level of bad cholesterol, not necessarily the consumption of cholesterol itself (though some people are at risk by eating cholesterol rich food). Genetic predisposition to high cholesterol is a key and sometimes overlooked factor.

                                3. There are some very interesting posts on this board about different ways to eat oatmeal, not just sweetened but savory ways also. Almonds are also a very good snack choice if lightly salted or no salt and make sure you have a small portion. Switch to whole grains wherever possible; I buy Arnold 100% Whole Wheat Double Fiber bread--fiber is your friend in fighting cholesterol as others have pointed out. One slice = 5 grams fiber. Lunch meats are notoriously bad for cholesterol with salt, fat & nitrites. Good luck! It's a matter of changing bad habits and many of us have also done it!
                                  Here's a link to the Mayo Clinic's webpage about foods that lower cholesterol...oats and oat bran are #1 but certain nuts are good too:


                                  1. This is an definitely an acquired taste, but I found myself using less and less milk in my oatmeal, until I just put a splash of nonfat milk (sometimes none at all). So it's just water, Quaker Oats (never put salt or sugar in it), and a teaspoon of flaxseed (for more Omega-3) when the oatmeal is nearly done cooking.

                                    But that's just me.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: panoz

                                      Hubby eats oatmeal every morning,(Joe's O's for me, I like the crunch), so I flavor up a cannister like this:

                                      cannister of quick (not instant) oats from TJ's
                                      1 level T cinnamon
                                      1/2 to 3/4 c. sliced almonds

                                      mix well and microwave as directed (4 minutes for 1 serving)on the cannister. Hubby uses 1% acidophilus milk on it. No sugar.

                                    2. There is really some useful information here that I can use too.

                                      I go for lab checks every three months. When I finally got serious this is what I did.
                                      Walk 4 miles a day - at least 3 to 4 times a week.
                                      Eat raw cabbage. Something in cabbage is really good for your cholesterol (and it has other good benefits too), and from what I read, it's the freshly cut and raw cabbage. So one needs to use a fresh head that you cut your salad from, not the bagged stuff.

                                      Cod liver oil capsules, great for cardiovascular system and cholesterol.
                                      I don't eat near enough salmon and I should eat more, but until then this works.

                                      And after speaking with the dietitian, I found that those litlle chicken nuggets things that I was stopping to get way too often, that once I quit those, I lowered my all my numbers substantially. So if you're being bad and eating fast food, stop, it really is the worst thing there is for you.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: chef chicklet

                                        Just FYI, one of my fave raw cabbage salads is:
                                        diced bok choy
                                        diced red cabbage
                                        diced sweet bell pepper
                                        toasted almonds (I like to keep them whole)

                                        with a dressing of
                                        1/4 cup oil
                                        1/4 cup brown sugar
                                        1/4 cup cider vinegar
                                        1/4 cup tamari

                                        Also - I don't think any of these suggestions will hurt anyone, but the internet is the LAST place to go to for medical advice! I'd ask my doctor for more info, or possibly see if I could check out a nutritionist.

                                        1. re: saraeanderson

                                          Hey that's a great recipe there saaeanderson!
                                          I would make that and eat the whole bowl in one sitting, that's how much Iove raw cabbage. I like the red pepper in there too, definitely will try it,

                                          1. re: chef chicklet

                                            It's one of the most popular items in my local coop's deli, second only to "kale slaw." I tend to love that kind of ridiculously healthy whole grain green vegetables kind of stuff, though.

                                        2. re: chef chicklet

                                          So prepared cabbage, braised, fermented, used as a container for other ingredients, doesn't convey the same benefits?

                                        3. I am so upset. I work out 6 days a week. I eat right but I had my blood work done yesterday and my cholestrol is 293!!! I was put on Lipitor at one time but it made me ache so bad I had to go off of it. I changed some things in my diet, like no yogurt for breakfast, instead I eat oatmeal with some cinnamon and flax seed now. My Mom does have high cholestrol so I guess it is hereditary but I need to get this number down and don't know what to do.

                                          1. Have you considered grass fed beef? It's lower in saturated fat and has much higher levels of good cholesterol. It also has higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and "conjugated linoleic acid"-CLA.

                                            See here for more info:


                                            Consider eating eggs from pastured chicken and pastured chickens. Think about it. You are what you eat, no? Same goes for animals. Healthier animals=healthier meat.

                                            We just started eating more naturally. The meat is more expensive so we eat less...which is a good thing!

                                            Good luck!

                                            1. The first thing you need to do is actually is to see if your cholesterol is linked to your diet. Although differentially beneficial at all instances, a "proper" diet doesn't necessarily reduce your cholesterol levels if you are unlucky in the gene department. My father has been following a Mediterranean diet since he was born, hasn't eaten butter for the last 5 years, consumes a glass of red wine every day, eats red meat maybe once a month or less, walks 5 miles a day; and still he cannot reduce his cholesterol by more than a few points. He also has the worst HDL/LDL ratio that is granted to human kind; poor dad!. Alas, he had to take medications.

                                              My condition is even weirder; my cholesterol levels are linked to my diet but ironically depend on my insulin levels regardless of how much triple fat brie I eat. In other words, high glycemic carbs (including supposedly cholesterol reducing things such as instant oatmeal, or sugary granolas) affect my cholesterol much worse than bad fats. In fact, eating a brie is not as harmful as eating a baguette in my situation; unfortunately I am also addicted to carbs.

                                              However, majority of people have seen good results with dietary changes and exercise suggested by others in this thread. In this case, an avocado a day might keep the doctor away. I hope you are one of those lucky people.

                                              1. Only animal products contain cholesterol so consider exploring some vegan recipes and increasing the number of vegan meals you eat.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: lgss

                                                  Unfortunately, your blood cholesterol levels have nothing to do with the amount of cholesterol you ingest with food.

                                                  1. re: emerilcantcook

                                                    Saturated Fat Ups Blood Cholesterol in Vegetarians & Meat Eaters

                                                    Nutritionists and dietitians used to think that a person's intake of dietary-cholesterol affected blood-cholesterol levels, but now things are less clear. It appears that saturated fat-intake rather than dietary-cholesterol-intake is more closely related to raised blood-cholesterol levels. In other words, the higher your intake of saturated fat, the higher your blood-cholesterol levels.

                                                    Saturated Fat in Vegan Diet

                                                    As a vegan diet contains neither meat nor dairy fats, it is typically lower in saturated fat, which perhaps explains the low levels of coronary heart disease in vegans.

                                                2. I saw my doctor yesterday afternoon for my regular four-month check up and learned that my cholestrol has gone down 45 PERCENT in the past six months! I credit it to my joining the local Elks Lodge, where I'm now an officer who enjoys a glass (or two and sometimes three) of Australian shirraz at least four times a week in our lodge bar. Also, the doctor suggested red rice yeast as a natural cholestrol *buster.* He said, *Whatever you're doing, keep it up.* I just smiled. Oh, and I'm doing so well I don't have to go in for another six months, not four!

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: pilotgirl210

                                                    A doctor once rec. that red rice yeast capsule as a more natural way to control cholesterol. After a while on it, I noticed my toes were cramping up -- mentioned it to the doctor and she said it was from the red rice yeast and heavy duty cholesterol drugs will also cause the cramping. I decided not to take it any more.

                                                    1. re: walker

                                                      To be honest, I bought a bottle of the capsules ($16) but the bottle is still unopened in the trunk of my car. Thanx for the warning. As long as red wine is doing the trick, I'm not changing a thing!

                                                      1. re: pilotgirl210

                                                        I don't want to discourage you from trying it, just saying what I think it did to me. I certainly think it's a million times better than heavy duty drugs like Lipitor. I was going to take a capsule a couple times a week but haven't bothered and my numbers seem to be ok now. The side effect, if I can blame it on the capsules, was merely some toe cramping, not that big a deal, really.

                                                  2. Cabbage in its raw state is the best cholesterol reducer yet! I made a copy of Rubio's spicy salsa (0 fat) and would make a cabbage slaw salad. It varied mixing in tomatoes, black beans, sometimes chicken breasts, scallions and you name it. I got a huge craving for this salad. I think me eatiing the cabbage (almost everyday) played a huge roll in dropping my cholesterol numbers by over 75 points since I posted on here in November. This has really worked for me. Now I eat it about 3 times a week, all my numbers are really good now. Rember to wrap the cabbage well, and cut it only when you're ready to eat it. This haas worked for me beautifully!

                                                    1. Because I am borderline diabetic, it's important to keep my cholesterol controlled. I avoid white bread/rice, and use whole wheat flour in place of some or all of the white flour in recipes. I like beans, cruciferous veggies, and fruit. Did you know that pears have even more fiber than apples? I found a source for great dried pears and eat one or 2 halves per day. I eat about 20 almonds a day, but Dr. Andrew Weil, on Oprah, said that they need to be RAW almonds. Since they aren't that tasty, I eat one tamari-roasted almond (Trader Joe's) with each 2 raw ones. Psyllium/metamucil works well, as does fish oil (4 1000mg gelcaps from Costco daily). My doctor also recommended niacin, but be warned that high doses can damage the liver, so it needs periodic checking. I take 2 or 3 1000mg capsules a day, of the non-flushing variety. "Flushing" is very uncomfortable - you feel hot and prickly, as though you were wrapped in fiberglas insulation. This works for me - I like food way too much to swear off the good stuff like cheese and meat. I don't eat large amounts of red meat, or large meat portions in general (5-6 oz on average), but I do eat cheese almost every day, probably 12 oz a week.

                                                      7 Replies
                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                        Speaking of Dr. Andrew Weil, in his most current newsletter (distributed free of charge at my local co-op), he talks about the cholesterol reducing properties of pistachios. So, maybe scout out some pistachio recipes?


                                                        1. re: greygarious

                                                          I think it was Dr. Oz who said that about the raw almonds.

                                                          1. re: walker

                                                            My older brother has high cholesterol and his doc recommended raw almonds. Those who use milk may want to try almond mylk instead. We like Pacific brand lowfat vanilla on cereal and for baking (we're vegan), but it needs to be cold. TJs generally has had it priced lower than WFM lately.

                                                            1. re: lgss

                                                              Nonfat milk has no saturated fat, so it's not an issue for people who don't otherwise have issues with dairy; even 1% doesn't have much to speak of. Almond milk is all well and good, except that it has much less protein than dairy milk.

                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                Most American omnivores eat too much protein.

                                                                1. re: lgss

                                                                  Yep...we've been trying to make the protein a side dish now and the veggies the main dish.

                                                                  1. re: lgss

                                                                    I agree. And I don't disagree at all with your suggestion of incorporating vegan meals into one's diet as a way of eating healthfully for a lower-saturated fat diet. (I'm not vegan, but many, many of my meals are).

                                                                    Nevertheless, I still think it's relevant to point out that there are significant nutritional differences between dairy milk and almond milk, aside from the animal origin of the dairy milk - including that almond milk has both a fraction of dairy milk's protein and added sugar (even the "plain" flavor).

                                                          2. I'm in the same boat as you. I've been staying away from eggs, I even bought a carton of egg whites, which for me is a huge step. For breakfast I like morning star tofu bacon baked crispy, egg white, a tiny amount of low fat mayo, S&P on whole wheat toast. I've given up the bacon, and cheese for that one. Rather then munch on pretzels at my desk, I now munch on Cheerios (the bad thing is the box says you need to eat 3 cups/day for the cholesterol lowering benefit). I also follow the Mediterranean folks mention below. I made this good cold salad and find it pretty satisfying:
                                                            ½ package of Trader Joe’s Israeli cous cous , orzo, chick pea mix. (A dry mix in their rice section) Cook per directions, use 1tsp of olive oil rather then the butter they suggest. Strain, and run under the faucet until cool.
                                                            1 roasted pepper.
                                                            1/2 cup chopped mint
                                                            ½ tsp oregano
                                                            Juice from a few squeezes of ½ a fresh lemon
                                                            1 tblsp olive oil
                                                            Crumbled fat free feta
                                                            1/3 cup of either finely chopped red onion, or scallions
                                                            Fresh pepper and salt to taste
                                                            Blend all together, and chill.
                                                            You could add chopped cucumber, or calamata olives, anything you like that would appeal to you.