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Five easy swaps to lower your cholesterol

Cholesterol too high? GP not happy? Here are some simple swaps you can make now to help push your cholesterol down.

1. Eat oily fish regularly

Replace chicken or meat in some of your meals with oily fish (salmon, sardines, tuna) to boost your levels of (good) HDL blood cholesterol and also reduce the chance of blood clots forming.

Aim for two to three oily fish meals a week. A fish oil capsule taken every day will also do the trick if you’re not so keen on fish.

2. Swap low-fibre cereal for oats

Oats and oat bran contain soluble fibre which has been shown to lower (bad) LDL cholesterol. Enjoy a bowl of porridge or muesli for breakfast, with a sprinkling of psyllium for even more soluble fibre. Then choose an oaty muffin as a snack, or include chickpeas, lentils or barley (also good sources of soluble fibre) at lunch or dinner each day.

3. Snack on nuts, not chips and salty snacks

Nuts contain healthier fats that have been shown to help lower cholesterol and not have an effect on weight. Also, they’re loaded with satisfying protein and fibre plus antioxidant vitamin E. Grab a handful (about 30g) of unsalted, raw or roasted nuts as a go-to snack. That’s about 20 almonds or 15 cashews.

4. Add thick yoghurt in place of sour cream

Substitute reduced-fat Greek yoghurt for sour cream to garnish soups and curries and you’ll go from 14 to one per cent saturated fat. Add a spoonful in place of sour cream.

5. Replace butter with sterol spread

Using a sterol-enriched spread can help reduce ‘bad’ LDL blood cholesterol. Avocado is also a heart-healthy choice.

You need one or two rounded tablespoons of spread such as Flora Pro-activ each day to lower cholesterol by 10 per cent, according to the research. Reach that goal by spreading it on a sandwich, or melting it over veges or in mashed potato.

Date modified: 5 December 2022
First published: Aug 2017


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