I am
Show me:
Show me:
Five ways to lower cholesterol
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Five ways to lower cholesterol

Lower your cholesterol, whether you're eating breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert or even a snack.

4 min read

Did you know cholesterol in food only plays a small part in increasing our bodies’ cholesterol levels? But what we eat has a big role to play in managing our cholesterol and heart health.

Consistently poor eating habits, combined with a lack of physical activity can lead to unhealthy weight gain, which can also raise levels of unhealthy (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower levels of HDL cholesterol which can negatively affect your heart health.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL cholesterol) is often called the ‘good cholesterol’ because it helps to remove other forms of cholesterol from your bloodstream and helps to keep cholesterol from building up in the arteries. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol) is often called the ‘bad cholesterol’ because it is the main source of cholesterol build-up and blockage in the arteries.

Time and time again we hear that balance is the key to health. There are some foods that can improve LDL cholesterol levels and eating these foods in moderate amounts can help keep us fighting fit. Foods containing healthier fats or soluble fibre are great examples of this. So with this in mind, here are some delicious ideas that can help you eat your way to a healthier heart.

Breakfast

Oats can provide a healthy way to start your day - they’re not only filling, but also full of soluble fibre. With a recommended daily fibre intake of 25-30 grams for adults (less for kids), a serve of oats can get you up to four grams and you can boost this even more by coupling it with some fruit and nuts. Check out our porridge recipe which packs-a-punch when it comes to fibre (along with a boost of healthier fats from the nuts!).

Lunch

Legumes (or pulses) like chickpeas, lentils and baked beans are another great source of soluble fibre. For an easy lunch, you can throw together our farro with broad bean salad or delicious smokey bean and beef burrito bowl, which is packed full of red kidney beans. Combine legumes with veggies, like our healthy lentil pilaf, for a bonus boost.

Dinner

With the cholesterol-lowering potential of healthier unsaturated fats, including foods rich in omega-3 (a type of polyunsaturated fat), you can add some healthy variety to your diet. Fish is a rich source of omega-3 and you can add more value by adding wholegrains, like in this sticky baked salmon and rice

Dessert

Apples, berries and citrus fruits contain a type of soluble fibre called pectin and are a delightful addition to a sweet treat. We've got some mouth-watering dessert options, including apple cinnamon crepes and a wonderful fruit crumble, which contains the fibre-filled goodness of both fruits and oats. 

Snacks

Nuts and seeds are a rich source of cholesterol-lowering unsaturated fats. A small handful as a snack between larger meals can keep you feeling fuller for longer, and regular consumption is linked to lower levels of LDL cholesterol. 

Other key tips

  • Use healthier oils. Saturated and trans fats raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels, so switch to fruit, nut or seed-based oils and spreads (such as canola, olive or sunflower) rather than choosing butter and other animal-based fats.
  • Include a variety of healthy proteins. With this in mind, lean cuts of meat and reduced fat dairy products can also help keep your cholesterol down and your heart health up!
  • Including foods fortified with plant sterols can also help to reduce LDL cholesterol. 

 

WHAT NEXT?

Five foods to help lower blood pressure

Five foods to help lower blood pressure

Five foods to help lower blood pressure

One the easiest steps you can take to prevent high blood pressure is choosing healthy foods....

Cook with Heart

Cook with Heart

Cook with Heart

Join the Cook with Heart Challenge as seen on Channel 7...

10 ways to get the right balance of fats 

10 ways to get the right balance of fats 

10 ways to get the right balance of fats 

Getting the right balance of fats in your diet can improve your heart health....

Indian chicken and lentil tray bake

Indian chicken and lentil tray bake

25 minutes
Serves 4

Heart Foundation recipes

Heart Foundation recipes

Heart Foundation recipes

Search all of our heart healthy recipes ...

Key healthy eating messages for heart attack recovery 

Key healthy eating messages for heart attack recovery 

Key healthy eating messages for heart attack recovery 

Eating healthy foods can help you recover and reduce your risk of more heart problems. ...

New diet recommendations matter to your heart

New diet recommendations matter to your heart

New diet recommendations matter to your heart

Heart-healthy eating is not about one specific food or nutrient; it’s about regularly eating a variety of healthy foods over time....

Nutrition action plan

Nutrition action plan

Dairy and your heart health

Dairy and your heart health

Dairy and your heart health

Not all dairy products are equal. Discover different types of dairy foods and their impact on heart health....

Heart Foundation recipes

Heart Foundation recipes

Heart Foundation recipes

Check out our recipe categories to find your next heart healthy meal....

Nutrition after a heart attack

Nutrition after a heart attack

Nutrition after a heart attack

Discover key information on heart-healthy eating and drinking....

Should you be cooking with coconut oil?

Should you be cooking with coconut oil?

Should you be cooking with coconut oil?

Is coconut oil good or bad for you?...

Sodium and salt converter

Sodium and salt converter

Convert the sodium listed on food products into grams of salt or vice versa. ...

Fats, oils and heart health

Fats, oils and heart health

Fats, oils and heart health

Get the right balance of healthy fats in your diet ...

Should you be cooking with coconut oil?

Should you be cooking with coconut oil?

Should you be cooking with coconut oil?

25 June 2018...

Reading food labels

Reading food labels

Reading food labels

Nutrition information panels and ingredients lists are a good way of comparing similar foods so you can choose the healthiest option....

Sorting fat from fiction

Sorting fat from fiction

Sorting fat from fiction

It seems when healthy eating is the subject, everyone wants to talk about fat. It can be a confusing and polarising topic....

Fruit, vegetables and heart health

Fruit, vegetables and heart health

Fruit, vegetables and heart health

How to boost your fruit and vegetable intake to help protect your heart. ...

Why are you playing this game? It’s putting your heart at risk.

Why are you playing this game? It’s putting your heart at risk.

Why are you playing this game? It’s putting your heart at risk.

The game is “hide and seek”. You play it without even realising. The shock is that when you play this game, you could be placing your heart health at risk....

What is a healthy body weight?

What is a healthy body weight?

What is a healthy body weight?

Find out what a healthy body weight is and the steps you can take to achieve it. ...

You’ll love our heart-healthy winter recipes

You’ll love our heart-healthy winter recipes

You’ll love our heart-healthy winter recipes

Healthy eating to protect your heart

Healthy eating to protect your heart

Healthy eating to protect your heart

What does a heart-friendly diet look like?...

9 food and heart health myths, busted

9 food and heart health myths, busted

9 food and heart health myths, busted

Let’s dive into nine common food and health myths and the facts behind them....

Heart-healthy drinks

Heart-healthy drinks

Heart-healthy drinks

While water is clearly the most heart-healthy drink, there are ther drinks that can be enjoyed in moderation. ...

How to make healthier meals at home

How to make healthier meals at home

How to make healthier meals at home

Cooking at home is often healthier than eating out....

Protein and heart health

Protein and heart health

Protein and heart health

What are the best sources of protein when it come to your heart health...

Is salt bad for your heart?

Is salt bad for your heart?

Is salt bad for your heart?

Most Australians are eating more than the recommended amounts and this can cause health problems....

What waist measurements mean for your heart

What waist measurements mean for your heart

What waist measurements mean for your heart

How your waist measurement contributes to your heart health...

Wholegrains and heart health

Wholegrains and heart health

Wholegrains and heart health

All you need to know about wholegrains to put you on the right track...

Understanding your heart age

Understanding your heart age

Understanding your heart age

Try our Heart Age Calculator to understand what contributes to your risk of heart disease...

Cook with Heart

Cook with Heart

Cook with Heart

Join the Cook with Heart Challenge as seen on Channel 7...

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Join the fight against Australia’s biggest killer by supporting the Heart Foundation.  ...

Stay informed about COVID-19

Stay informed about COVID-19

Stay informed about COVID-19

If you have heart disease, you are more vulnerable to severe complications....

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Join the Heart Foundation community. Together, we can make a real difference for Australian hearts. ...

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical Guidelines

Full list of clinical guidlines and references for CVD, heart failure, ACS, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, SCAD and RHD...

The Heart Foundation Research Program

The Heart Foundation Research Program

The Heart Foundation Research Program

We are Australia’s biggest non-government funder of world-class research into heart health. Learn more about our high impact research. ...

Support and resources for health care professionals

Support and resources for health care professionals

Support and resources for health care professionals

Our range of clinical and patient support resources are available for you to use in your daily practice....

My Heart, My Life - Managing your heart health

My Heart, My Life - Managing your heart health

My Heart, My Life - Managing your heart health

This booklet is for those diagnosed with heart disease and their support people....

Kylie defied the heart attack stereotypes

Kylie defied the heart attack stereotypes

Kylie defied the heart attack stereotypes

Cardiac rehabilitation was a turning point for Kylie and essential to her heart failure recovery....

Hypertension clinical information and guidelines

Hypertension clinical information and guidelines

Clinical information for diagnosis and management of hypertension....

Workplace giving for employees

Workplace giving for employees

Workplace giving for employees

The Heart Foundation’s workplace giving program makes it easy to setup regular, tax-deductible donations from your pre-tax income. ...

The Heart Failure Toolkit

The Heart Failure Toolkit

The Toolkit provides health services with a targeted approach to addressing readmission rates and decreasing variation in care....

Cardiac rehabilitation information for health professionals

Cardiac rehabilitation information for health professionals

Useful cardiac rehabilitation resources for health professionals....

Sodium and salt converter

Sodium and salt converter

Convert the sodium listed on food products into grams of salt or vice versa. ...

Managing your funding

Managing your funding

Managing your funding

Resources to help manage your grant, scholarship or fellowship....

Time to book a Heart Health Check?

Time to book a Heart Health Check?

Time to book a Heart Health Check?

If you're over 45, or over 30 if you're of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, you should book your Heart Health Check today...

Heart Foundation Walking

Heart Foundation Walking

Heart Foundation Walking

Learn more about Heart Foundation Walking and find your local walking group....

Why are you playing this game? It’s putting your heart at risk.

Why are you playing this game? It’s putting your heart at risk.

Why are you playing this game? It’s putting your heart at risk.

The game is “hide and seek”. You play it without even realising. The shock is that when you play this game, you could be placing your heart health at risk....

From diagnosis at 37 to heart surgery, rehab and now

From diagnosis at 37 to heart surgery, rehab and now

From diagnosis at 37 to heart surgery, rehab and now

Claude Lam, Open heart surgery survivor...

Physical activity after a heart attack

Physical activity after a heart attack

Physical activity after a heart attack

Discover what you need to know about being active after a heart attack....

Improving food supply

Improving food supply

Improving food supply

The Heart Foundation supports initiatives that guide people to healthier food and drink choices. ...

Returning to work after a heart attack

Returning to work after a heart attack

Returning to work after a heart attack

Discover how to plan for your return to work....

Cardiac arrest at 26: adjusting to a new ‘normal’

Cardiac arrest at 26: adjusting to a new ‘normal’

Cardiac arrest at 26: adjusting to a new ‘normal’

Physical Activity: Blueprint for an active Australia 

Physical Activity: Blueprint for an active Australia 

Physical Activity: Blueprint for an active Australia 

Evidence-based actions to help address physical inactivity....

Create your fundraiser at Do it for Heart

Create your fundraiser at Do it for Heart

Create your fundraiser at Do it for Heart

Become a Heart Foundation fundraiser and make a real difference to your community....

Taking your medicines

Taking your medicines

Taking your medicines

There are many medicines that treat heart attack, angina, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other heart conditions....

Find a cardiac rehabilitation service near you

Find a cardiac rehabilitation service near you

This cardiac services directory presents information on cardiac rehab programs offered across Australia....

Our supporters 

Our supporters 

Our supporters 

Working together to save Australian hearts...

Smart Heart Guidelines App

Smart Heart Guidelines App

Smart Heart Guidelines App

Access to Australian heart disease guidelines is now free at your fingertips...