Cholesterol helps you digest food, produce hormones and process vitamin D, all while your body uses it to build cells. Your body naturally produces cholesterol but you also consume it by eating different foods.
If you suffer from low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, you are more at risk of developing heart disease and having a heart attack or stroke. However, you don’t always need to take medication for many mild LDL cases.
LDL is what is known as the ‘bad’ cholesterol, as it contributes to artery-clogging atherosclerosis. Luckily, there are a few ways to lower your cholesterol, including choosing to consume a balanced diet that contains certain food groups, as this will improve the rate that healthy fats float throughout your bloodstream.
Adding foods to your diet that lower LDL is one of the best ways to keep on top of your cholesterol and overall health. Different foods help to lower cholesterol in different ways. For example, some foods have polyunsaturated fats, which directly lowers LDL, others deliver soluble fibre to help circulate the cholesterol throughout the bloodstream, while other foods offer plant sterols or stanols, which help block the absorption of cholesterol.
Oats are the perfect place to start if you want to lower your cholesterol because they are extremely high in soluble fibre. You can opt for oatmeal or oat-based cereal for breakfast to balance out your day.
Beans are also rich in soluble fibre, but they are also slower to digest, which leaves you feeling fuller for longer. With so many ways to prepare beans, they’re the perfect choice to get in extra fibre and nutrients. Why not make your next Mexican meal bean-based?
Almonds, walnuts and peanuts are not only good for snacking but have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, with the added benefit of slightly lowering LDL.
Consuming 25 grams of soy protein per day (via products such as soybeans, tofu or soy milk) can help lower cholesterol by five or six per cent. Unlike other plant proteins, soy has all nine amino acids, which are essential for healthy muscles and bones.
Fish is a great source of protein and omega-3s, which reduce triglycerides in the bloodstream and protect the heart by preventing abnormal health rhythms.
If you struggle to maintain your cholesterol levels, it’s important to seek help from a medical professional for any supplements or prescription medication.
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.