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. 

 

You might also be interested in

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....

Heart Healthy Dinner Plan

Heart Healthy Dinner Plan

Heart Healthy Dinner Plan

Sign up now and discover delicious, easy to follow dinner recipes. Plus shopping lists, tips and other helpful information to make healthy eating easy. ...

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....

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?

25 June 2018...

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 ...

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....

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....

Spring back to heart-healthy eating with these delicious tips

Spring back to heart-healthy eating with these delicious tips

Spring back to heart-healthy eating with these delicious tips

With spring sprung, now is the time to get back to heart-healthy eating. ...

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...

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....

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.  ...

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

There is no single cause for any one heart condition, but there are risk factors that increase your chance of developing one. ...

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical Guidelines

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

Heart Healthy Dinner Plan

Heart Healthy Dinner Plan

Heart Healthy Dinner Plan

Sign up now and discover delicious, easy to follow dinner recipes. Plus shopping lists, tips and other helpful information to make healthy eating easy. ...

MyMarathon

MyMarathon

MyMarathon

The fundraising race where you set the pace. Run, jog or walk MyMarathon at your own pace during October....

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. ...

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. ...

Meditation helped Grant recover from his heart attack

Meditation helped Grant recover from his heart attack

Meditation helped Grant recover from his heart attack

Thankfully for Grant Byrne, a lifelong Led Zeppelin fan, some quick thinking helped him avoid a stairway to heaven. Read Grant’s heart attack story now. ...

What is atrial fibrillation?

What is atrial fibrillation?

What is atrial fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation is a type of arrhythmia where your heart beats irregularly and fast....

Leaving a gift in your Will: A lasting legacy

Leaving a gift in your Will: A lasting legacy

Leaving a gift in your Will: A lasting legacy

One of the most powerful ways to help support a future without heart disease is to include a gift to the Heart Foundation in your Will...

Physical activity in the workplace

Physical activity in the workplace

Physical activity in the workplace

Resources to help you create a more physically active workplace....

Life changing research currently underway

Life changing research currently underway

Life changing research currently underway

Search our current researcher's and the ground breaking research being undertaken....

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Information and resources for health professionals....

Key Statistics: Coronary Heart Disease

Key Statistics: Coronary Heart Disease

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Every day, 22 women lose their lives to this condition....

Register your cardiac service with the Heart Foundation

Register your cardiac service with the Heart Foundation

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

Pilbara Aboriginal Heart Health Program

Pilbara Aboriginal Heart Health Program

Pilbara Aboriginal Heart Health Program

The program works with local communities to improve heart healthcare in Pilbara communities...

Improving food supply

Improving food supply

Improving food supply

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

Our history

Our history

Our history

For more than 60 years the Heart Foundation has been helping improve heart health across the nation....

Managing your funding

Managing your funding

Managing your funding

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

The Heart Foundation Community

The Heart Foundation Community

The Heart Foundation Community

We need your opinion, experience and skills to help us improve the heart health of all Australians. ...

About the Lighthouse Hospital Project

About the Lighthouse Hospital Project

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in Australia, but the burden of disease disproportionately affects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples....

Health professional online learning

Health professional online learning

We offer a number of modules focused on improving cardiovascular care....

Supporting SA cardiac patients and health professionals with free resources

Supporting SA cardiac patients and health professionals with free resources

Supporting SA cardiac patients and health professionals with free resources

We want to make it easier for South Australians to lead heart-healthy lives....

Western Australian Cardiovascular Research Alliance

Western Australian Cardiovascular Research Alliance

Western Australian Cardiovascular Research Alliance

WACRA are the peak leadership body in Western Australian advancing research into heart, stroke and vascular disease to accelerate translation and improve health outcomes....

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....

What is heart failure?

What is heart failure?

What is heart failure?

Heart failure is a condition where your heart isn’t pumping as well as it should be....

Physical activity resources

Physical activity resources

Physical activity resources

Resources for health professionals interested in physical activity....

Diabetes and heart disease

Diabetes and heart disease

Diabetes and heart disease

Diabetes is an ongoing health condition where your body’s usual ways of controlling your blood sugar, or blood glucose levels, don’t work properly. ...