I am
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....

Chimichurri sauce

Chimichurri sauce

Chimichurri sauce

Serves Makes 2/3 cup (170mL)

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. ...

How can I beat the barriers and get active for a healthy heart?

How can I beat the barriers and get active for a healthy heart?

How can I beat the barriers and get active for a healthy heart?

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....

More Australians die of Heart Disease than any other cause.

More Australians die of Heart Disease than any other cause.

More Australians die of Heart Disease than any other cause.

And the heartache lasts a lifetime. But you can help the Heart Foundation fund life-saving research to keep more families together....

Jump Rope for Heart

Jump Rope for Heart

Jump Rope for Heart

Jump Rope for Heart teaches school children how to keep fit and healthy through skipping!...

MyMarathon

MyMarathon

MyMarathon

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

Healthy Active by Design

Healthy Active by Design

Healthy Active by Design

Improving the design of our cities, towns, streets and buildings makes it easier for Australians to lead heart-healthy lives....

Building physical activity into urban planning and design

Building physical activity into urban planning and design

Building physical activity into urban planning and design

Resources available for built environment professionals to help guide in the development of active outdoor and indoor spaces....

Getting active at school

Getting active at school

Getting active at school

Physical activity resources for school staff....

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....

Your heart is your most important tool

Your heart is your most important tool

Your heart is your most important tool

Men’s Health Week is the perfect time to think about your heart....

Heart Age Calculator

Heart Age Calculator

Heart Age Calculator

Could you be at risk of heart disease? Get your estimated heart age now....

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....

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. ...

Heart Foundation recipes

Heart Foundation recipes

Heart Foundation recipes

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

Time to book a Heart Health Check?

Time to book a Heart Health Check?

Time to book a Heart Health Check?

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

Heart disease and pregnancy

Heart disease and pregnancy

Heart disease and pregnancy

Pregnancy is often referred to as the “ultimate stress test” for the body....

After being treated for atrial fibrillation, Boyd is now back on track

After being treated for atrial fibrillation, Boyd is now back on track

After being treated for atrial fibrillation, Boyd is now back on track

Running has been an important part of Boyd's life, so imagine his shock when a heart condition he had never heard of threatened to put a stop to it. ...

Medical tests for heart disease

Medical tests for heart disease

Medical tests for heart disease

Learn about the common tests your doctor may want you to have to diagnose your heart condition....

What is heart valve disease?

What is heart valve disease?

What is heart valve disease?

Heart valve disease means that your heart valve or valves don't open or close properly....

What is an arrhythmia?

What is an arrhythmia?

What is an arrhythmia?

Arrhythmia is a fault in the heart’s electrical system, which affects your heart’s pumping rhythm....

Risk factors for women

Risk factors for women

Risk factors for women

In Australia, 90% of women have one risk factor for heart disease, and 50% have two or more. ...

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. ...

What is angina?

What is angina?

What is angina?

Angina is a type of chest pain or discomfort that’s a symptom of an underlying heart problem, usually coronary heart disease (CHD)....

Chest x-ray for heart disease

Chest x-ray for heart disease

Chest x-ray for heart disease

This test can help your doctor determine if there is anything wrong with your heart....

Heart conditions in women

Heart conditions in women

Heart conditions in women

Like men, women can be diagnosed with a range of heart conditions....

What is heart disease?

What is heart disease?

What is heart disease?

Heart disease is the broad term for conditions that affect the structure and function of the heart muscle. ...

Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring

Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring

A coronary artery calcium score can be used following a Heart Health Check to estimate your risk of heart attack....

What is a cardiac arrest?

What is a cardiac arrest?

What is a cardiac arrest?

With immediate help a cardiac arrest can be survived. Learn how to save a life....

What is a heart attack?

What is a heart attack?

What is a heart attack?

The most common cause of a heart attack is coronary heart disease....

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....

What is coronary heart disease?

What is coronary heart disease?

What is coronary heart disease?

Coronary heart disease (CHD) or coronary artery disease occurs when a coronary artery clogs and narrows because of a buildup of plaque....

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....