Saturated fat can raise cholesterol levels in the blood.
Foods that are high in saturated fat include:
- Meat pies
- Sausages and fatty cuts of meat
- Hard cheese
- Cakes and biscuits
- Foods that contain coconut or palm oil
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)
An easy first step to improving your cholesterol is having a bowl of oatmeal or cold oat-based cereal like Cheerios for breakfast. It gives you 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber. Add a banana or some strawberries for another half-gram. Current nutrition guidelines recommend getting 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day, with at least 5 to 10 grams coming from soluble fiber. (The average American gets about half that amount.)
2. Barley And Other Whole Grains
Like oats and oat bran, barley and other whole grains can help lower the risk of heart disease, mainly via the soluble fiber they deliver.
Beans are especially rich in soluble fiber. They also take awhile for the body to digest, meaning you feel full for longer after a meal. That’s one reason beans are a useful food for folks trying to lose weight. With so many choices from navy and kidney beans to lentils, garbanzos, black-eyed peas, and beyond and so many ways to prepare them, beans are a very versatile food.
4. Soy Foods
Being naturally low in saturated fat, soya foods help lower cholesterol. The special proteins in soya also appear to influence how the body regulates cholesterol too. Studies show you can lower your cholesterol by around 6% by including as little as 15g soya protein per day.
5. Fatty Fish
Eating fish two or three times a week can lower LDL in two ways: by replacing meat, which has LDL-boosting saturated fats, and by delivering LDL-lowering omega-3 fats. Omega-3s reduce triglycerides in the bloodstream and also protect the heart by helping prevent the onset of abnormal heart rhythms.
6. Vegetable Oils
Using liquid vegetable oils such as canola, sunflower, safflower, and others in place of butter, lard, or shortening when cooking or at the table helps lower LDL
7. Eggplant And Okra
These two low-calorie vegetables are good sources of soluble fiber.
All nuts are rich in vegetable protein, fibre, heart healthy unsaturated fats, vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, natural plant sterols and a host of beneficial plant nutrients. 30-35g a day of nuts (a handful) has the potential to lower cholesterol by an average of 5%.
9. Quit smoking
- Quitting smoking improves your HDL cholesterol level. The benefits occur quickly:
- Within 20 minutes of quitting, your blood pressure and heart rate recover from the cigarette-induced spike
- Within three months of quitting, your blood circulation and lung function begin to improve
- Within a year of quitting, your risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker
10. Lose weight
Carrying even a few extra pounds contributes to high cholesterol. Small changes add up. If you drink sugary beverages, switch to tap water. Snack on air-popped popcorn or pretzels — but keep track of the calories. If you crave something sweet, try sherbet or candies with little or no fat, such as jelly beans.
Look for ways to incorporate more activity into your daily routine, such as using the stairs instead of taking the elevator or parking farther from your office. Take walks during breaks at work. Try to increase standing activities, such as cooking or doing yard work.
Exercise on most days of the week and increase your physical activity. Exercise can improve cholesterol. Moderate physical activity can help raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol. With your doctor’s OK, work up to at least 30 minutes of exercise five times a week or vigorous aerobic activity for 20 minutes three times a week.
Adding physical activity, even in short intervals several times a day, can help you begin to lose weight.
- Taking a brisk daily walk during your lunch hour
- Riding your bike to work
- Playing a favorite sport
- To stay motivated, consider finding an exercise buddy or joining an exercise group.