It’s important to keep cholesterol in check because high cholesterol levels increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. But the good news is, it’s a risk you can control. You can lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol and raise your “good” HDL cholesterol. You just have to make some simple changes.
Adopting healthy habits, such as eating a healthy balanced diet and exercising, will also help to prevent your cholesterol levels from becoming high in the first place.
Limit your intake of foods full of saturated fats, Trans fats, and dietary cholesterol:
There are two main types of fat saturated and unsaturated. Eating foods that are high in saturated fat can raise cholesterol levels in the blood.
Foods high in saturated fat include:
- Meat pies
- Cakes and biscuits
- Foods containing coconut or palm oil.
Eating foods that contain unsaturated fat instead of saturated fat can actually help reduce cholesterol levels.
One can try to replace foods containing saturated fats with foods that are high in unsaturated fats, such as:
- Oily fish (for example, mackerel and salmon)
- Nuts (for example, almonds and cashews)
- Seeds (for example, sunflower and pumpkin)
- Vegetable oils and spreads (for example, sunflower, olive, corn, walnut and rapeseed oils).
Trans fats can also raise cholesterol levels. Artificial trans fats can be found in hydrogenated fat. As part of a healthy diet, try to cut down on foods containing trans fats or saturated fats, and replace them with foods containing unsaturated fats.
You should also reduce the total amount of fat in your diet. Try microwaving, steaming, poaching, boiling or grilling, instead of roasting or frying. Choose lean cuts of meat and go for low-fat varieties of dairy products and spreads.
Omega-3-rich fish, such as salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, and trout. Choose at least 2 times weekly. If you’re using canned fish, such as canned sardines, select very-low-sodium or no-salt-added varieties.
Most other fish, plus shelled mollusks (clams, oysters, mussels, scallops).
Crustaceans (shrimp, crab, lobster, crawfish), Poultry (white meat, skinless) Game Meat (bison, venison, elk, ostrich), optimally free-range and grass-fed
Red meat (beef, pork, lamb, veal, goat). For all red meat choices, select cuts that are under 30% fat.
- Choose protein-rich plant foods (such as legumes or beans, nuts, and seeds) over meat.
- Add more Fibre to your Diet:
There are two different types of fibres: soluble fibre and insoluble fibre. Most foods contain a mixture of both. Eat a lot more fiber-rich foods (especially soluble).
Good sources of soluble fibre include:
- Fruit and
Try to include more of these foods in your diet. Aim to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day.
By adopting an active lifestyle it can help to lower cholesterol levels. Activities can range from walking and cycling, to more vigorous exercise such as running and dancing.
Doing 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week can improve your cholesterol levels.
Take Plant Sterol Supplements
There’s evidence that foods containing certain added ingredients, such as plant sterols and stanols, can reduce levels of cholesterol in the blood.
Sterols are naturally occurring substances found in plants. A daily intake of 1 to 2 grams of plant sterols has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol levels.
Sterols and stanols can be found in specially developed products, such as some spreads and yoghurts.
Take Lipid Lowering Drugs
If your cholesterol levels are still high, see your doctor for prescription of these drugs.