High cholesterol is a problem for many people. When the body’s blood cholesterol becomes too high, it can build up in the arteries, increasing the risk for the affected person to experience a heart attack or other cardiovascular event. Because of this risk, many people, in addition to taking medication to lower their cholesterol, are looking for ways to improve their diets so that they can reduce their blood cholesterol levels even further and in general live a healthier lifestyle.

There are many ways to lower cholesterol through diet. One of the ways to do this is to eat foods that are naturally low in cholesterol and reduce or eliminate intake of foods high in cholesterol. Plant-based diets, including those that feature a large amount of fruits and vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, are good for people with high cholesterol. Sticking to meats that are less fatty is also a good option.

The advantage of choosing low-cholesterol foods is that doing so benefits the heart and blood vessels. When people lower their cholesterol through diet, particularly if they can get their cholesterol within normal ranges for health, they drastically reduce the likelihood that they will have a heart attack or a stroke, and they also may even be able to stop taking their medications with time. If they are able to keep their lifestyle up, they are likely to remain healthy for many years to come.

However, there are disadvantages to eating only low-cholesterol foods. One of the recommendations given to those wanting to lower their cholesterol is that they should eat low-fat dairy and margarine instead of full-fat dairy and butter. But it turns out that margarine can be what leads to cardiovascular disease in people who consume low-fat dairy products. This may be because a deficiency of vitamin K2 can lead to heart problems, and vitamin K2 is not found in low-fat dairy or margarine. Rather, it is found in dairy products with higher fat content. People on low-cholesterol diets may be missing out on obtaining enough vitamin D, as well, which can also affect their heart health. Since vitamin D is found mainly in foods with a good amount of saturated fat, those who avoid fat as a rule may not be getting enough.