Korean Cuisine on a Cholesterol-Lowering Diet

Korean foods are flavorful, spicy and generally chock-full of healthy foods making it a good go-to cuisine to follow if you are trying to watch your cholesterol levels. These dishes typically contain a wide use of vegetables, fruit, and other ingredients to liven up the dish, such as garlic, scallions, chili pepper, and ginger.

Additionally, because the country is located on a peninsula, many varieties of fish are also plentiful in the Korean diet. Despite the many cholesterol-friendly foods included in this cuisine, there are some foods you should limit if you are trying to keep your lipid levels within a healthy range. This article will provide you with some healthy guidelines to follow if you want to consume Korean dishes on a cholesterol-lowering diet.

Korean BBQ Assortment
Marianna Massey / Getty Images


Salads are usually healthy, however, some ingredients may add extra fat to your dish. Typical Korean salads experiment with a wide variety of ingredients including veggies, whole grains, fish, and fruit. In many cases, salad dressing is not used in salads due to the savory flavor already present. Some salads, however, may use a yogurt base as a garnishment. To avoid the introduction of extra fat and refined sugars to your diet, you can substitute a low-fat plain yogurt instead.

Soups and Stews

Korean soups and stews are also healthy, containing many variations of cholesterol-friendly veggies and spices. Many soups are also garnished with garlic and scallions for flavor. Some soups may contain pork or red meat, which could add fat to your other lean ingredients. Rice and noodles are also used in many soups and stews. If you are looking to increase your fiber intake, use whole-grain or wheat noodles and rice.


Korean cooking employs the use of a variety of foods to make side items, with some sides being large enough to be the main course. Some of these items may be cooked in butter, so if you’re watching your fat intake, make sure that butter is used sparingly, if not avoided altogether. Additionally, pickling or salting is a common way that some foods — particularly vegetables — may be prepared. Since large amounts of salt may be used in this process, you should also avoid consuming large amounts of pickled or salted foods if you are following a low sodium diet.

Main Course

Korean main courses are very diverse and contain practically any type of protein whether you like a particular meat or are interested in a vegetarian dish. The proteins typically found in these main courses include fish, chicken, pork, beef, and tofu. Although you have plenty of options, there are some pitfalls to avoid when you’re looking to limit your fat and calorie intake during the main meal:

  • If you are watching your cholesterol, make sure to incorporate lean protein in your meal, which would include poultry, fish, and soy products. Pork and beef are a little higher in saturated fat. Although they can be included as part of a healthy diet, you should make sure to remove any visible pieces of fat from the cut of meat before consuming them.
  • Some of the sauces served with the main course may be prepared with butter, which can also add fat to your meal. If you’re trying to watch your fat intake, you can request that these sauces are served on the side, instead of over the main course.
  • You should also be careful regarding the way some of the foods in the main course are prepared. Most foods are usually grilled, lightly sautéed, braised, or roasted. However, there are a few foods in the main course that might be fried. Since fried foods can also introduce saturated fat and sometimes trans fat into your diet, you should avoid consuming these types of foods if you are watching your cholesterol.
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