5 eating tips to help bring your cholesterol level down

A high cholesterol rating means you should think carefully about what you eat, but it doesn’t mean all the fun has to go out of meal times.

These five tips will show you some small changes you can make to improve your cholesterol:

1. Mediterranean diet

Moving away from red meats and fatty foods becomes a more palatable choice when you consider replacing it with a Mediterranean diet. Increasing the intake of delicious fish, vegetables, fruits, beans, cereal grains and olive oil has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad one) and boost HDL cholesterol (the good one).

2. Get more fibre

Eating more soluble dietary fibre has positive impacts on cholesterol levels. Ensuring you get oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils and peas is a good way to boost those fibre levels. Brussel sprouts and oranges are good sources too.

3. Try something new

There are many alternatives to the foods you eat day to day. Often those alternatives can be more beneficial when it comes to reducing cholesterol levels.

For example, replace pasta sheets in lasagne with aubergine strips to boost your soluble fibre. Instead of reaching for those salted peanuts why not try roasted edamame beans? If you have full or half-fat milk in your tea and coffee, try a soya milk alternative. Or give Tofu a try in your stir fry one night. You can take one step further and replace your risotto rice with something like pearl barley. Barley is a great source of beta glucan that helps stop bad cholesterol being absorbed.

4. Omega 3 fatty acids

Increasing fatty acids from oily fish is also linked with an improvement in cholesterol levels. To start with, aim to eat oily fish (such as sardines, wild salmon or rainbow trout) one to two times a week. You could also consider taking Omega 3 supplements. Get started with our Pepper Crusted Salmon and Garlic Chickpeas recipe.

5. Cut the bad fats

To really bring down your cholesterol level, you should reduce the intake of saturated fats and trans fats. Saturated fats are found in foods like processed meat, fatty meat, hard cheese, whole milk and butter. These types of fats shouldn’t make up more than 7% of your total calories.

Trans fats are found in fried foods, a lot of takeaways, cakes and pastries. They ideally should be avoided altogether. Have a look at our recipes for tasty alternatives to these types of foods.

Last updated Monday 25 April 2022

First published on Wednesday 30 March 2016