If you have high cholesterol, you’ll know that your risk of heart disease and heart attacks is higher than most. And while medications can help, there are also ways you can tweak your diet to help lower your numbers. Our dietitians give their three top tips to help naturally lower your cholesterol.
1. Seek out plant sterols
Plant sterols are natural compounds found in plant foods. They work to improve your cholesterol level by blocking the absorption of LDL cholesterol. In fact, studies have shown that consuming just 2g of plant sterols each day can lower your cholesterol levels by up to 10 per cent. The catch is, consuming this quantity of plant sterols is quite hard – so you need to look for products that are fortified such as milk, spreads and breakfast cereals.
• Sanitarium Weet-Bix Cholesterol Lowering
• Tablelands Heart Smart Reduce Cholesterol Absorption
• Dairy Farmers Heart Active Light Milk
2. Up your intake of soluble fibre
Fibre isn’t just good for your gut – it’s also a key component of a heart-healthy diet. Soluble fibre, in particular, supports heart health, because it binds to cholesterol in your body which, again, reduces its absorption. Beta-glucan is a special type of soluble fibre that is particularly effective in lowering cholesterol. One of the best sources of beta-glucan is the humble rolled oat – and research has shown that regularly eating oats can reduce cholesterol levels by up to 7 per cent.
• Rolled oats – great for porridge, muesli or overnight oats
• Lentils, chickpeas and kidney beans/4-bean mix
• Fruits such as apples, pears, blueberries and oranges
3. Add more healthy fats
Dietary fats can be divided into good-for-you unsaturated fats and not-so-good-for-you saturated fat. While it’s important to reduce your intake of saturated fat to lower your ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol level, it’s just as important to increase your intake of unsaturated fats to boost your ‘good’ HDL cholesterol level.
• Nuts and seeds
• Extra-virgin olive oil
Want to know more about lowering your cholesterol? Download our Cholesterol Toolkit to get started.
Article sources and references
- Better Health Channel. 2014. Cholesterol. Accessed March 2022.https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au
- Better Health Channel. 2022. Cholesterol – healthy eating tips. Accessed March 2022.https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au
- Health Direct. 2021. How to lower your cholesterol. Accessed March 2022.https://www.healthdirect.gov.au
- Heart Foundation. 2022. Blood cholesterol. Accessed March 2022.https://www.heartfoundation.org.au
- Heart Foundation. 2022. Let’s chew the fat about cholesterol: your top five questions answered. Accessed March 2022.https://www.heartfoundation.org.au