We all have cholesterol in our bodies, it’s when we have a little too much cholesterol in our body that we can start to get concerned. Too much cholesterol builds up inside our arteries, blocking the blood flow and increasing the risk of heart attack or stroke.
NOTE: This advice is a part of a healthy lifestyle, and does not just have to be for those with high cholesterol.
|75% OF CHOLESTEROL IS PRODUCED IN THE LIVER||25% OF CHOLESTEROL COMES FROM WHAT WE EAT|
“Good Cholesterol?” – Known as your HDL-Cholesterol. This one works by carrying the cholesterol in our body from the blood to the liver (where it is removed from our body).
“Bad Cholesterol?” – Known as your LDL-Cholesterol. This one takes the cholesterol from our liver and deposits it into our arteries.
ONE: Eat 3 serves of vegetables per day
Vegetables provide us with fibre, minerals, and vitamins, and help lower our cholesterol. Try making half your dinner plate vegetables or maybe adding more veg to your sandwiches at lunch. 1 serve= 1 cup of frozen veg/salad, or one carrot etc…
TWO: Swap white bread for multigrain bread
Grainy bread is much more ‘heart healthy’, as the grains contain fibre and minerals which help keep us feeling fuller for longer
THREE: Eat a handful of nuts per day
Nuts contain ‘healthy fats’ known as unsaturated fats. Having a handful (30g) of mixed nuts per day (unsalted) in place of foods high in saturated fats are a great substitute, and can help lower your cholesterol
FOUR: Go for a 15-minute walk daily
Exercise every day will help lower our cholesterol, even if it is just 15 minutes! If you are not a fan of walking try swimming, biking, vacuuming the house or having a dance – just get puffing
FIVE: Choose a margarine with plant sterols
Plant sterols compete with cholesterol in our bloodstream when eaten together, kicking cholesterol to the curb. For this, we need to eat around 5 teaspoons (25g) of plant sterol margarine – spread this on three slices of wholegrain bread to meet your quota.
SIX: Limit red meat to 3-4 times per week
Red meat (beef, lamb, and pork) is high in saturated fat. Keep an eye on your portion size – one serve= the size of your palm, or 120-150g (raw weight) of meat. Pick leaner cuts or lean mince, and cut the fat off your steak
SEVEN: Eat more beans and legumes
Try including beans, legumes or chickpeas into your dinners more often, either with meat or in place of meat. They work perfectly in stews, salads, or soups. Canned options are just as helpful! The Heart Foundation recommends having 4-5 serves of legumes per week.
EIGHT: Add oats into your daily routine
How? Having ½ cup of oats for breakfast as porridge, or adding oats to your muesli or smoothie at breakfast
NINE: Have oily fish twice per week
Oily fish like tuna, sardines, and salmon are all oily fish that contain omega 3’s that help reduce bad cholesterol and increase the good cholesterol. Have a tin of tuna at lunch, or a salmon salad for dinner – canned options work too!
TEN: Cut back on the alcohol
Too much alcohol can cause weight gain and increase our cholesterol. Try having at least 2 alcohol-free nights per week, and keep to a maximum of two standard drinks per day for females (no more than 10 standard drinks in a week), and three standard drinks per day for males (no more than 15 standard drinks in a week). Note these recommendations may be too high for some people if you are concerned, discuss this with your GP
Did you Know?
The cholesterol in food isn’t what actually increases the cholesterol in our blood – it is the saturated fat. Saturated fat is primarily found in animal fats – namely fatty meat, butter, milk, cheese, and bakery products like biscuits, pastries, and pies (as they are typically high in butter).
Eggs are a healthy food to include in our diet – those with an increased risk of heart disease can have up to 6 eggs per week.
Choose lower fat dairy products like Trim milk, or low-fat yoghurts. However, keep in mind the amount of sugar in those yoghurts.