How Do I Lower My Cholesterol?
The World Health Organisation estimates that 80% of heart disease may be preventable. The good news is that simple changes can really improve your heart health and lower your cholesterol. You do not have to wait until you experience a problem with your health, your changes can be implemented to-day.
- Lower your intake of foods that are high in SATURATED FAT.
Foods that are high in saturated fat include : meat pies, sausages & fatty cuts of meat, butter, ghee, lard, cream, hard cheese, cakes & biscuits, foods containing coconut oil or palm oil.
- Eat food that contain UNSATURATED FAT. These can actually help to reduce cholesterol levels.
Foods containing unsaturated fat include : oily fish ( mackerel, salmon ), nuts (almonds, cashew ), seeds ( sunflower, pumpkin ), vegetable oils & spreads (sunflower, olive, corn, walnut, & rapeseed oils )
- Include more fibre in your diet.
There are two different types of fibre, soluble and insoluble. Most foods contain a mixture of both. Soluble fibre can be digested by your body, insoluble cannot. Soluble fibre can help to reduce the amount of cholesterol in your blood. Good sources of soluble fibre include: oats, beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas, fruit & vegetables. Aim to eat at least five portions of fruit & vegetables each day.
- Lower the intake of fried & roasted foods in your diet.
Try to microwave, steam, poach, boil, or grill your food. If you do fry or roast choose a vegetable oil such as sunflower, rapeseed or olive.
- Get Active.
Doing 150 minutes of MODERATE INTENSITY AEROBIC activity every week can improve your cholesterol levels, walking, cycling, swimming, running, dancing etc. Moderate intensity aerobic activity means you are working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat. One way to tell whether you are working at a moderate intensity is if you can still talk but you are unable to sing the words to a song.
Please Note: Cholesterol blood tests are done to help assess your risk of developing heart disease or stroke. Other factors that reduce these risks include: not smoking, a low salt intake, keeping your weight and waist size down, drinking alcohol in moderation and ensuring your blood pressure level is not raised, this includes taking as directed any medications prescribed to you for high blood pressure.
IMPORTANT – Cholesterol Lowering Products There is some evidence that foods containing certain added ingredients, such as plant sterols and stanols, can reduce levels of cholesterol in the blood. Sterols and stanols can be found in specially developed products, such as some spreads and yoghurts. These foods are aimed at people who need to lower their cholesterol levels. People who do not have high cholesterol should not eat these products regulary, particulary children, pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers.
If your doctor has told you that you have high cholesterol, you can lower it by changing your diet and getting active without having to eat special products. If you do eat these products, read the label carefully to avoid eating too much.