The guidelines for treating high cholesterol from the National Cholesterol Education Program recommend that patients try to lower their cholesterol through Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC), which include exercise and a healthy diet, before starting a statin.
To help decrease your cholesterol without a statinor to supplement the statin you’re already takingfollow these guidelines from the TLC diet.
Reduce saturated fat to no more than 7% of total calories, and cholesterol to no more than 200 milligrams per day
Saturated fat is likely to raise blood cholesterol more than any other food in your diet (except for, perhaps, trans fats, which are slowly being phased out of many foods). A goal of just 7% of total calories is no more than 16 grams per day for most people. To stay within these boundaries, eat more of a plant-based diet with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and limit red meat, full-fat dairy products, baked goods, and fried foods.
Read labels and try to track your daily saturated fat grams until you get an idea of how much your typical food choices contain; don't rely solely on the Percent Daily Values listed, since they're based on the diet of someone who doesn't have high cholesterol and thus can eat slightly more saturated fat. An added bonus: Lowering your saturated fat intake means you’ll help lower cholesterol intake as well, since saturated fat and cholesterol tend to be found together.