The foods that can help lower your cholesterol

It's never too late to start lowering your cholesterol.

It feels like when it comes to our health, there’s a million little things we need to be mindful of from sleep to stress to nutrition. But, one of the most important health issues that should stay at the forefront of your mind is cholesterol. In large amounts, cholesterol can lead to a heart attack or stroke, but thankfully with a cholesterol lowering diet, we can lower how much of it is in our bodies.

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that our bodies create. Though the word has negative connotations, cholesterol isn’t always a bad thing. Cholesterol helps to build the structure of cell membranes. It also assists to make hormones like oestrogen and testosterone. As well as this, it helps your body boost its metabolism and produce vitamin D.

There are two types of cholesterol:

LDL (low density lipoprotein): LDL, or ‘bad’ cholesterol, can block your arteries which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

HDL (high density lipoprotein): This is known as ‘good’ cholesterol. HDL helps move cholesterol in your arteries back to your liver for disposal.

How to start a cholesterol lowering diet

The good news about cholesterol is that with a few simple lifestyle changes, you can lower your levels of LDL and reduce your risk of heart attack and chronic illness.

Here’s some nutrients that are essential to tackling high cholesterol:

Soluble fibre: Soluble fibre is good for flushing LDL through the arteries when you don’t have enough HDL.

Healthy fats: Look for natural foods with unsaturated fats to replace trans and saturated fats.

Lean proteins: Instead of high-fat red meats and full-fat dairy products, try switching to leaner proteins like fish, chicken, tofu and beans.

Whole grains: Whole grains like whole wheat, brown rice and quinoa are a better option in a cholesterol lowering diet instead of refined grains which lack fibre and nutrients.

What foods should I eat for a cholesterol lowering diet?

Now you know what nutrients to look for, you can start building out a cholesterol lowering diet. Remember, diets are about lifestyle changes and take time to properly implement. Some foods you can start incorporating into your diet include:

  • Fish: Fatty fish like salmon and sardines are packed with omega-3 fatty acids. This can help lower the amount of triglycerides and LDL in your body.
  • Oats: Oats are high in fibre which is excellent for flushing LDL through the body and down to the liver.
  • Beans: Another excellent source of soluble fibre can be found in beans and legumes.
  • Avocados: Unsaturated fats are another important aspect of a cholesterol lowering diet. In particular, avocados are a source of monounsaturated fat which is all-round good for lowering LDL.
  • Nuts and seeds: Another way to get your fix of unsaturated fats is through almonds, walnuts, chia and other seeds and nuts.

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