Barbara Cox, nutritionist and author of Rainbow Recipes Cookbook, offers her top tips on managing Cholesterol during National Cholesterol Month
5 ways to reduce your cholesterol in 5 weeks
A few changes in your diet and lifestyle can reduce cholesterol and improve your heart health.
- Reduce saturated fats. Saturated fats, found primarily in red meat and full-fat dairy products, raise your total cholesterol. Decreasing your consumption of saturated fats can reduce your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol — the “bad” cholesterol.
- Eliminate trans fats. Trans fats, sometimes listed on food labels as “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil,” are often used in margarines and store-bought cookies, crackers and cakes. Trans fats raise overall cholesterol levels.
- Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids don’t affect LDL cholesterol. But they have other heart-healthy benefits, including reducing blood pressure. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, mackerel, herring, walnuts and flaxseeds.
- Increase soluble fibre. Soluble fibre can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. Soluble fibre is found in such foods as oats, kidney beans, Brussels sprouts, apples and pears.
- Add Beta Gluten rich foods. Beta Glucan, which is found in Oatwell products, is a powder that you can add to smoothies, baked goods and cereals. Studies have shown that Oatwell beta glucan given as a daily supplement for 30 days, lowers both LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol.
Healthy diet changes and adding daily exercise into your health and wellbeing regime, which should also include quitting smoking and limiting alcohol, is the best way to protect yourself against the diseases of civilisation.
10 things you should take daily for good heart health
An easy first step to improving your cholesterol is having a bowl of oats. You can make porridge, overnight oats, a smoothie with Oatwell powder added or simply use Oatwell crispy heart as a cereal base with added fruit and milk of your choice. Current nutrition guidelines recommend getting 20 to 35 grams of fibre a day, with at least 5 to 10 grams coming from soluble fibre.
Barley and other whole grains. Like oats and oat bran, barley and other whole grains can help lower the risk of heart disease, as barley is also packed with soluble fibre.
Beans are especially rich in soluble fibre and since they also take a while for the body to digest, this means you feel full for longer after a meal. That’s one reason beans are a useful food for anyone trying to lose weight. Loads of delicious and nutritious beans to choose from, such as navy and kidney beans to lentils, garbanzos (chickpeas), black-eyed peas, and beyond — and so many ways to prepare them, beans are a very versatile food.
- Eggplant and okra.
These two low-calorie vegetables are good sources of soluble fibre.
Many scientific studies show that eating almonds, walnuts, peanuts, and other nuts is good for your heart. Eating 2 ounces of nuts a day can slightly lower LDL, on the order of 5%. Nuts have additional nutrients that protect the heart in other ways with their good oils.
- Vegetable oils.
Using liquid vegetable oils such as canola (Rapeseed oil), sunflower, safflower in place of butter, lard, or shortening when cooking or at the table helps lower LDL. It’s a simple and effective swap!
- Apples, grapes, strawberries, citrus fruits.
These fruits are rich in pectin, a type of soluble fiber that lowers LDL.
- 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.
- Oatwell powder or crispy hearts
This is a super daily addition in 2 forms. A powder you can make smoothies with or sprinkle onto cereals or you can eat the crispy hearts as a snack. They contain beta glucan which are scientifically renowned to reduce cholesterol naturally over 30 days.
Supplements offer an appealing way to get soluble fibre, essential fatty acids and vitamins and minerals.