There are lots of healthy choices, including low-fat or nonfat dairy products, lean cuts of meat, poultry, fish, vegetables and grains, she said.
And for people who want to buy a processed food, the Nutrition Facts label on every product explicitly states the amount of fat it contains.
"From a consumer's perspective, it's easier than ever to restrict saturated fat and trans fatty acids," she said. "It's just a matter of doing it."
People also can lower their cholesterol by eating foods that contain lots of dietary fiber. Soluble fiber has been found to draw cholesterol out of the bloodstream, Bufalino said. Such foods, including oatmeal and whole-grain bread, are an important part of a cholesterol-fighting diet.
But beating cholesterol takes additional steps as well. Because high cholesterol is closely linked to being overweight or obese, losing pounds is critical -- as is keeping them off. And that means exercising as well as eating right.
Exercising as little as 30 minutes every day can reduce a person's risk for heart disease, according to the American Heart Association. Even more exercise can help achieve greater weight loss.
The important thing is to remain dedicated to your own health, Bufalino said.
"People can be good with it for a while, but it's hard to stay disciplined all the time," he said. "We don't need folks to be perfect. If you can be good 80 to 90 percent of the time, that's great. That's all we need from people."
The American Heart Association has more on cholesterol.
For more on the effects of high cholesterol, read about one woman's stor
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