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Cholesterol and diet
HEART UK - the Cholesterol Charity offers lots of healthy eating advice to help reduce cholesterol levels including:
an easy-to-follow Low Cholesterol Diet
Six Super Foods to help lower Cholesterol (cholesterol-busting foods)
Different kinds of fats in everyday foods can affect our cholesterol levels.
The Types of Fats That Affect our Cholesterol Levels.
There are two main types of fats: Saturated fats or Unsaturated fats
Saturated fats – these increase cholesterol levels
- hard fats such as butter, lard, margarine and ghee.
- fatty meat, burgers, sausages, bacon and kebabs,
- dairy fats such as cream, cheese, full fat milk/yogurts
- pastries, pasties, pies, cakes, rich creamy desserts and biscuits
- Coconut oil and coconut cream
Unsaturated fats are heart healthy and help improve cholesterol levels. It is important to replace some foods high in saturated fat with foods rich in unsaturated fats. See our suggested swaps below.
- vegetable, seed and nut oils such as sunflower, safflower, rapeseed, olive, walnut and corn oil
- spreads based on these oils
- all kind of nuts
- oily fish such as herring, pilchards, mackerel, salmon and trout
In practise most foods contain a mixture of both saturated fats and unsaturated fats, but you can reduce your total intake of saturated fat by making some smart swaps. Try our suggestions below:
|Eat less…||Replace with…|
|Butter on bread and in sandwiches||Spreads based on olive or sunflower oils|
|Butter, ghee, hard margarine, lard, goose fat in cooking||
Modest amounts of vegetable oils and vegetable spreads
|Fatty meat, sausages, burgers and other meat products||
Modest portions of lean meat, chicken without skin and all kinds of fish - white and oily
|Snacks such as pastries, chocolate, cakes and biscuits||
Nuts, dried and fresh fruit, hummus
|Full cream milk and yoghurts||
Low fat milk and yoghurts
Lower fat cheese or smaller portions of full fat varieties
|Cream soups and sauces||
Vegetable soups and tomato based sauces
|Frying especially using hard fat (lard, butter, ghee)||
Grilling, braising, boiling, poaching, casseroles. If roasting or frying use small amounts of vegetable oil, such as rapeseed, sunflower or olive oil
If you are trying to lose weight or need to restrict your total fat intake click here for more information on cooking with less fat.
Apart from reducing saturated fat and increasing unsaturated fats you could also improve your diet by:
- Including cholesterol busting foods everyday, find out more by checking out our ©Ultimate Cholesterol Lowering Plan (©UCLP)
- Base your meals around high fibre carbohydrate foods such as wholemeal bread, potatoes, brown rice, wholemeal chapatti, wholemeal pasta or wholegrain breakfast cereals.
- Keep portions modest
- Fill up on fruit and vegetables, they are low in fat and packed with nutrients. Make the most of fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruits and vegetables.
- Eat three small meals a day with one or two healthy snacks in between
Need inspiration? TRY Our ©Ultimate Cholesterol Lowering Plan