The body needs cholesterol to carry out important cell functions and to produce hormones. However, high cholesterol levels can have a negative effect on the body, causing an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. If you have high cholesterol, you can cook to lower cholesterol by eliminating some fatty foods and replacing them with nutritious alternatives that are known to reduce bad cholesterol levels.
Reduce your salt and sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day to lower your cholesterol. Salt is not the only form of sodium, so check all of your food labels for sodium content before cooking with that ingredient. For recipes that call for salt, substitute an herb or spice. Cook with whole vegetables instead of canned ones, and limit your intake of mustard, ketchup, olives, cheese, salty snacks and fast food.
Reduce saturated fats and meats in your diet by eating seafood at least twice a week to help lower your body's bad cholesterol, or LDL levels. Fish is low in saturated fat and tastes great grilled and baked. Squeeze some fresh lemon over the top and it will be a low-sodium and low-fat meal. When you must eat other meats, choose lean cuts of beef and poultry. Cut off all visible fats from the outsides of your meat and cook it under a broiler with a rack to help drain off excess fat. Remove the skin from the meat before eating. Avoid processed meats as well.
Instead of butter and lard, use vegetable or olive oil to cook foods. Oils can be substituted for solid fats in almost all dishes and can help lower your cholesterol over time. Don't use too much oil, though, as this can cause as much damage as solid fats. Cook with only one to two teaspoons for most dishes.
Cook to lower your cholesterol by using foods high in fiber. According to healthcentral.com, fiber connects itself to cholesterol and helps to eliminate it from the body. Start preparing meals with whole grains such as oats, brown rice and whole-grain bread. Eat whole fruits or juice fruits and vegetables for a quick fiber boost. Eat a leafy green salad for lunch with carrots and broccoli and a light, oil-based dressing to fight LDL, or bad cholesterol.