Are you one of the many people trying to work out how to reduce cholesterol? With nearly six in ten adults in the UK living with elevated cholesterol levels, there are a lot of you out there – and luckily, there are lots of good ways to go about it.
One key factor in reducing cholesterol levels is diet, so we’ve put together some simple tips below to help you get inspired about heart-healthy eating. You’ll not only find out how to reduce cholesterol levels naturally – by making small changes that fit in easily with your normal way of doing things – but also learn about the factors that make certain foods better for a cholesterol lowering diet along the way. You can download the free factsheet here, or read on for the full guide.
We’ll be focusing on three key areas: eating the right kinds of fats, adding plant sterols to your diet, and reaping the benefits of oats. Read on for some hints and smart tricks! And if this gives you the healthy cooking bug, have a look over at our recipe bank for more ideas.
1. Be fat-savvy
Swapping saturated fatty foods for those containing unsaturated fat may be a good approach for a cholesterol reducing diet*. Unsaturated fats are found in foods like oily fish, nuts, seeds, avocados, and vegetable oils (although the last two are high in fat overall, so enjoy in moderation). Although not all of these are a staple part of everyone’s diet, it’s actually pretty easy to find ways to swap them in. Here are a few suggestions that may be worth trying if you’re wondering how to reduce cholesterol levels through diet:
- Eating cake or crisps for a mid-afternoon snap? Swap them for a small handful of unsalted nuts
- Instead of frying foods in butter, try olive or rapeseed oil instead
- Change up steak and chips for a salmon fillet and some greens
- If you’re having a fry up, why not replace sausages with sardines?
- Swap butter on toast for a vegetable oil based spread – and use ProActiv spread to get some plant sterols in your diet along the way**
2. Get ProActiv about your cholesterol
ProActiv’s spreads, skimmed milk drink, and mini drinks can help to lower cholesterol when enjoyed as part of a healthy diet**. This is because they contain plant sterols, which have been clinically proven to actively reduce cholesterol if eating 1.5 to 2.4g a day. They’re well worth including in any diet for reducing cholesterol, and we’ve made it simple by putting them in tasty foods. Try some of these ideas:
- Blend 250mls of ProActiv skimmed milk drink with wild berries and a banana for a refreshing smoothie, and get 0.75g of plant sterols.
- Melt two teaspoons (20g) of ProActiv spread on top of a jacket sweet potato and add roasted veg on top, garnishing with toasted seeds for added crunch. This provides 1.5g of plant sterols.
- Blend two teaspoons (20g) of ProActiv spread with basil, pine nuts and a little parmesan for a quick pesto on wholemeal pasta.
- Pour 250ml of ProActiv skimmed milk drink over home-made muesli with oats, raisins and nuts.
- Have a ProActiv mini drink as a refreshing treat with lunch or dinner for 2g of plant sterols.
3. Learn the secret perks of oats
If you’re wondering how to reduce cholesterol levels through diet, including more oats in your meals may be a good option too. This is because they contain something called ‘oat beta-glucan’ (a sort of fibre), which have been shown to lower blood cholesterol*. To achieve this result, you need to include at least 3 grams of oat beta glucan per day. Here are some ways to do so:
- Add a tablespoon or two of oats to soup and stews for a hearty meal
- Add oats to a smoothie for extra fibre
- Add a tablespoon over a scoop of low fat yogurt and fresh fruit
- Replace flour with oats when making apple crumble
- Make oat cookies with raisins, cinnamon and honey
Most oat products will give you an idea of how much oat beta glucan is in a serving, so be sure to check the packaging!
These are just a few quick suggestions to help you get started. We also have a full guide to a cholesterol lowering diet in our free starter pack, downloadable here. Give it a go, and start to make a difference!
*Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats in the diet has been shown to lower blood cholesterol. High cholesterol is a risk factor of heart disease. There are many risk factors for coronary heart disease, and it is important to take care of all of them to reduce the overall risk of it.
** Flora ProActiv contains plant sterols. A daily intake of 1.5 – 2.4g sterols can lower cholesterol by 7 – 10% in 2 – 3 weeks as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle including plenty of fruits and vegetables. High cholesterol is a risk factor of heart disease. There are many risk factors for coronary heart disease, and it is important to take care of all of them to reduce the overall risk of it.
*** Beta-glucan has been shown to lower blood cholesterol. High cholesterol is a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease.