Low cholesterol eating can be easier than you think. These simple food swaps will help to reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet, and increase the amount of dietary fibre, both of which will help to lower your cholesterol:-
1. Use olive oil for cooking instead of butter
Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats that not only increase your good cholesterol (HDL), but also lower the inflammatory impact of bad cholesterol (LDL) on your body. You don’t have to stick to plain olive oil – you can use garlic infused olive oil for roasting vegetables, chilli olive oil for stir fries, and basil oil for dressings.
2. Replace whole milk with semi-skimmed milk
Semi-skimmed milk is lower in saturated fat than whole milk, so is better for a cholesterol-lowering diet. If you like the taste of them, you could also try soya, almond or oat milk too, as they all contain cholesterol-reducing ingredients.
3. Eat poached eggs instead of fried eggs
Eggs needn’t be avoided if you’re trying to lower your cholesterol, but they should be eaten in moderation (read this blog post for more information). Poaching eggs is a great way of cooking eggs without needing butter, which is high in saturated fat. A great cholesterol-friendly breakfast is wholemeal toast topped with mashed avocado and a poached egg.
Read this blog post for more cholesterol-friendly breakfast ideas.
4. Replace breakfast cereals with porridge or muesli
Oats are one of the best cholesterol-reducing foods, so try to eat some every day. An easy way to do this is to eat porridge or an oat-based muesli for breakfast. Here’s a recipe for a delicious apple and cinnamon porridge.
5. Make pancakes with oats instead of flour
It might sound weird to use oats to make pancakes, but I promise they work really well! You can knock up a delicious cholesterol-friendly oat pancake in about 5 minutes – here’s a really simple recipe to try.
6. Snack on oatcakes instead of crackers
Oatcakes make a great cholesterol-friendly snack as they’re full of cholesterol-reducing oats and also really filling. You can put all sorts of things on oatcakes, like avocado, cottage cheese and peanut butter. Read this blog for some more ideas.
7. Replace white bread with wholemeal bread
Wholemeal bread contains more dietary fibre than white bread, which is great for lowering cholesterol. Oat-based bread is also good, as is seeded bread, which is rich in cholesterol-reducing monounsaturated fats.
8. Eat soya yoghurt instead of dairy yoghurt
Research has shown that soya can help to reduce cholesterol naturally, so swapping your usual yoghurt with a soya yoghurt is a simple way to fit it into your diet. If you’re not a fan of soya yoghurt, go for fat free natural yoghurt instead.
9. Replace white rice with brown rice
Brown rice contains more dietary fibre than white rice, which helps to reduce cholesterol. It has a more nutty flavour, which may take a bit of getting used to, but I find once it’s covered in curry or sweet and sour chicken, you don’t really notice the difference. The one big downside of brown rice is that it takes ages to cook, so I’d recommend putting it on the boil before starting your meal preparation to ensure it’s ready in time.
10. Choose lean meats instead of fatty meats
Red meats like beef, lamb and pork tend to be high in fat, which means they’re not great for a low cholesterol diet. Saying that though, there are lots of important nutrients in red meat, so I’d recommend continuing to eat lean cuts in moderation. For example, you could cook Italian meatballs or beef burgers with extra lean beef mince, or make beef and mushroom stir fry with low fat beef strips.
I tend to base the majority of my meals around chicken, turkey and fish, and I add beans as much as possible to increase the dietary fibre. My favourite recipes are chicken and veg masala, turkey, spinach and mushroom filo parcels, and salmon pie.
Click here to see more of my top tips for lowering cholesterol, and keeping it low.