High cholesterol increases your chances of developing heart disease, the leading cause of death in Australia.
Whilst new research finds 1 in every 3 Australian adults has high cholesterol, it can be reduced significantly with simple dietary changes:
1. Eating more viscous fibre, by:
- Taking a psyllium supplement (with water) daily,
- Switching to oats at breakfast,
- Learning to use barley instead of rice, and
- Ensuring you eat plenty of legumes, fruits or vegetables by incorporating more of them into every meal. Okra and eggplant are particularly rich sources.
2. Increasing your intake of soy protein, by:
- Having soy milk or soy yoghurt instead of cows milk or cows yoghurt,
- Switching from regular bread to soy & linseed bread,
- Incorporating 1/2 cup soy beans into main meals a few times each week, and
- Using tofu instead of meat a few times each week.
3. Incorporating plant-sterols into your diet, by:
- Switching from butter to a plant-sterol enriched margarine, and
- Enjoying plant-based oils and green leafy vegetables daily, such as spinach, kale and cabbage.
4. Eating nuts daily, by:
- Replacing one of your current snacks with a handful of unsalted nuts (particularly almonds), and
- Adding nuts to your main meals, such as salads and stir-fries.
The interesting thing is that standard dietary advice, such as reducing saturated fats or cholesterol from the diet, has little impact on heart disease risk alone.
Yet these 4 dietary changes reduce cholesterol by up to 30% within weeks, and lower heart disease risk significantly. This is an effect comparable to taking cholesterol-lowering medication.
And if you have high cholesterol and all of these changes are overwhelming you, don’t despair.
Start instead by asking the question: which of these changes can I do?