Cholesterol In Your Diet

Only about 20% of the average person's cholesterol comes directly from their diet. However, if you eat a lot of foods high in saturated fats then your liver may produce more cholesterol and thereby raise your cholesterol level. The good news is that there are some foods which can actually have the exact opposite effect and can help to lower your cholesterol level.


Some of the big food manufacturers have taken advantage of this and produced various spreads, drinks and yoghurts - most of which contain plant sterols. These do work, but they are quite expensive. They may be a good choice for you - but you may be able to gain similar benefits by using other natural foods, and it may cost you less money as well.



Nuts such as walnuts and almonds that contain a high level of mono unsaturated or polyunsaturated fats, can help to lower cholesterol.


Oats and Barley

These contain a soluble fiber known as Beta Glucan, which is the key to how they lower the cholesterol. In order to achieve the desired cholesterol lowering effect, you will have to consume between two and four cups of dry oat or barley cereal daily.


Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables such as apples, citrus fruit, berries, carrots, apricots, cabbage and sweet potatoes are high in soluble fiber and pectin, both of which have been shown to reduce cholesterol. At least five portions a day is recommended to benefit fully.



Flaxseed provides alpha-linolenic acid - a poly-unsaturated fat which has been shown to lower cholesterol while also providing soluble fiber.


Olive Oil

Olive oil is one of the mono-saturated fats and studies have shown that it lowers blood cholesterol. Extra virgin olive oil is thought to be better than other varieties.



According to researchers, fish containing omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids make the blood more slippery and less likely to clot as well as lowering blood cholesterol. Salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring and fresh tuna are good examples of the types of fish you should try to include in your diet.


Cholesterol Lowering Margarine, Yoghurts and Drinks

As mentioned earlier, cholesterol lowering margarines, yoghurts and drinks have recently been introduced to the market. Benecol ® is one of the products that has been confirmed to lower cholesterol - by on average 10% - if used as recommended. In addition, this margarine does not affect your HDL, or "good" cholesterol. Other products include Take Control ® margarine and salad dressings that are made from plant sterols - which are extracted from soybeans. These sterols trick your intestine into thinking they are cholesterol and when it tries to absorb them, it is not able to, therefore blocking cholesterol. They do work, but they are somewhat expensive.


Soy Protein

The cholesterol lowering properties of soy protein were confirmed when the US FDA approved the health claim regarding its beneficial effects on the risk of developing heart disease. In order to obtain the full benefit, you must consume a minimum of four 6.25 grams soy protein servings daily - a total intake of 25 grams per day.


Many food manufacturers have now introduced soy beverages and energy bars containing up to 10 to 20 grams of soy protein. The inclusion of soy protein in the diet has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels by 15-25%.

Low Cholesterol Cookbook

American Heart Association Low-Fat, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook, 4th edition: Delicious Recipes to Help Lower Your Cholesterol
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You'll be surprised at how easy it is to make a few small changes which can make a real difference to your cholesterol level.