Fruits, veggies can help lower cholesterol

MARION, Ark. — Adding a little color in your diet could help subtract numbers from your cholesterol level, said Crittenden County Extension Staff Chair VeEtta Simmons.

“Eating plenty fruits and vegetables is one of the tried-and-true recommendations for a healthy diet, and for good reasons,” she said. “All those colorful fruits and vegetables are more than just decorative — they provide the wide range of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals such as potassium, dietary fiber, folic acid, vitamin A and vitamin C, our body uses to maintain good health and energy levels.”

Fruits and vegetables are very low in saturated fat and total fat and have no cholesterol.

“A diet high in fruit and vegetables may also help to improve cholesterol levels for those with high cholesterol,” Simmons said.

• To you increase your intake of fruits and vegetables and add a variety of color, remember to: Think color. Buy a variety fruits and vegetables to eat as snacks, desserts, salads, side dishes and main dishes

• Add a variety of vegetables to meat stews or casseroles or make a meatless main dish at least once a week.

• Wash and cut up raw vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and store in the refrigerator for quick and easy use in cooking or snacking.

• Serve fresh fruit for dessert or freeze banana, berries, melon, grapes for a delicious frozen treat.

• Display fresh fruit in a bowl in the kitchen to make fruit easier to grab as a snack.Toss fruit into your green salad for extra flavor, variety, color and crunch.

• Freeze 100 percent fruit juice for a refreshing treat.

• Add apples, raisins or pineapple chunks to deli salads like chicken, tuna or pasta.

• Make a quick smoothie using a variety of fresh fruit or frozen fruit.

• Add more vegetables to soups.

• At work, keep dried fruit and nuts in your desk for a quick and easy snack.

• Try fajitas with red bell peppers, summer squash and garlic.

Since vegetables are naturally low in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol, seasoning them with herbs, spices, lemon juice, vinegar, fat-free or low-fat mayonnaise instead of fatty cuts of meat such as fat back, salt pork and ham hocks will help them remain that way.

For more information about health and nutrition, contact your county extension office or visit

The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.