Cholesterol Lowering Program

80% of heart disease is preventable, simply by making a few dietary and lifestyle changes! Changing habits is never easy, so we’re delighted to introduce a new online support program which provides daily diet and lifestyle tips, healthy snack ideas and recipes to help support your cholesterol lowering efforts. 

The Mediterranean Diet 

Senior Woman Eating Healthy SaladThe program is based on the heart healthy Mediterranean Diet. The people who follow a Mediterranean diet don’t think of their eating habits as a diet plan; it’s simply a way of life that can lead to long, healthy lives with less chance of chronic disease. Healthy, tasty and nutritious, the Mediterranean diet has lots of different tastes to offer. The plan includes lots of fruits, vegetables, olives, olive oil, legumes and whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, oats and wholemeal pasta. They enjoy moderate amounts of dairy (mostly as cheese e.g. ricotta and yogurt – greek), Fish is eaten regularly, and there is low consumption of meat and meat products. A glass of red wine is often enjoyed with meals. The Mediterranean diet discourages the consumption of saturated fats and hydrogenated oils (trans fats), both of which contribute to heart disease, while spices and olive oil turn simple dishes into culinary delights.  

Switch to Healthier Fats 

The total amount of fat you eat, whether high or low isn’t really linked with disease. What really matters is the type of fat you eat. The “bad” fats – saturated and trans fats, increase the risk for certain diseases. The “good” fats however – monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, lower disease risk. The key to a healthy diet is to include more good fats such as fatty fish, seeds such as flaxseed and seed oils, olive oil, avocados, nuts such as walnuts, macadamia nuts, almonds and also nut butters. Furthermore, it is important to limit saturated fats to a minimum by reducing red meat, dairy, vegetable oils, pastries, cakes, biscuits and fried foods.  

Omega-3: Essential for Heart Health

BOmega-3 fatty acids from cold water fatty fish have many benefits for heart health. They have been shown to lower triglycerides, balance cholesterol, regulate heart rate and make blood platelets less sticky, overall improving heart health considerably. Omega-3 fats are found in high amounts in oily fish and to a lesser degree in nuts and seeds. Whilst making sure that you eat plenty of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines is important for good health, supplementing with a daily dose of high quality omega-3 fish oil such as Eskimo-3 is important for achieving an optimum intake of omega-3. 

Sugar: The Cholesterol Connection 

While a diet high in saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol are well known to increase cholesterol, did you know sugar is also a culprit. Excess sugar, not stored as glycogen for energy or as belly fat, gets converted into lipids (fats), which remain in your bloodstream as cholesterol and triglycerides, contributing to high cholesterol & high triglycerides, both major risk factors for Coronary Heart Disease. 

Soluble Fibre to lower Cholesterol 

Foods such as oats contain soluble fibre which can reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol by limiting the amount of cholesterol absorbed by your body. There has been a lot of research on the effect of dietary soluble fibre on serum cholesterol levels. A review of these studies showed that intakes of 9 to 16.5g/day of soluble fibres reduced overall cholesterol by 5.5 to 11% and reduced LDL cholesterol by 3.2 to 12.1%. By including foods such as porridge, oatcakes, fruits (apples, prunes and pears), vegetables, pulses (kidney beans, lentils, and chickpeas), you should be able to obtain the recommended amount of soluble fibre daily.  

Lifestyle Factors 

Senior couple on country bike ride

Exercise can help you burn more calories, aid weight loss, lower blood pressure if high, reduce cholesterol and improve circulation. It is recommended that you do 30 minutes at least 5 times a week. Other factors which can help improve heart health and reduce cholesterol are smoking cessation and weight loss.  

Overall, in order to maintain a healthy heart and body, make these simple dietary changes your first step to lowering your cholesterol. Sign up today to receive daily diet and lifestyle tips, healthy snack ideas and recipes to help support your cholesterol lowering efforts.