The risks from high cholesterol aren’t immediate. The damage accumulates over years — even decades. High cholesterol in your 20s and 30s can take its toll in your 50s and 60s. Because the effects take time, you may not feel the urgency to treat it. You may think you can deal with it later – but you may wait too long before heart disease has taken it’s hold.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 80% of heart disease may be preventable. The good news is that simple changes can really improve your heart health, like lowering cholesterol, eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, giving up smoking and avoiding stress.
Here are my top 5 cholesterol lowering foods:
- oily fish – salmon, mackerel, fresh tuna and sardines all contain very healthy omega 3 fats
called DHA & EPA that lower cholesterol. Aim to eat oily fish twice a week, if you find that difficult, take a daily fish oil supplement that contains 500mg EPA & DHA.
- oats – contain beta glucan, which is a soluble fibre that lowers cholesterol. It also has the added benefit of steadying blood sugar levels, helping in the treatment of diabetes and weight loss. Oat breakfast and Oaty Flapjacks
- Olive oil – high in monounsaturated fats, which lower cholesterol. Also in rapeseed oil (vegetable oil). Be careful with how much you use if you are watching your weight, one tablespoon has 125kcal.
- Nuts - high in vitamins, minerals, and good monounsaturated fat, which can lower cholesterol. Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, hazelnuts, pecans, some pine nuts, and pistachios. Basically, all nuts are good. Avoid salted or dry roasted, the plainer the better. As with olive oil, if you’re watching you weight, just have a handful, not the whole bag!
- Plant Stanols – these are probably not a term you have come across. Plant stanols are ingredients in products such as Flora Proactive and Benecol. Three servings of these can reduce cholesterol by up to 10%. Plant seterols are also found in fruit and veg, but in much smaller amounts.