Focus on fiber-rich foods and avoid saturated fats.
If your cholesterol level has crept up over the years, you may wonder whether changing your diet can help. Ideally, your total cholesterol value should be 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or lower. But it’s the harmful LDL cholesterol value that experts worry about the most. Excess LDL builds up on artery walls and triggers a release of inflammatory substances that boost heart attack risk.
“To prevent heart disease, your LDL should be 100 mg/dL or lower,” says Dr. Jorge Plutzky, director of preventive cardiology at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. But many Americans have LDL values that are less than optimal (100 to 129 mg/dL) or borderline high (130 to 159 mg/dL).