Cholesterol is a very important substance and is required to make hormones. However, too much of the “wrong” kind of cholesterol can increase risk of chronic disease. Whilst dietary intake contributes to how much cholesterol we have in our body, our liver is responsible for most of our cholesterol. In turn, looking after our liver is key to achieving and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. Another key way to make sure we keep our cholesterol levels in check is ensuring we reduce the amount of inflammation and free radical damage in our body. Incorporating the following foods into our diet daily may assist in reducing unhealthy levels of cholesterol and helping keep cholesterol levels in check.
Beans & Legumes (butter beans, chickpeas and red kidney beans)
A great source of soluble fibre, fibre rich foods help clear excess cholesterol from the body. Try adding ½ cup to your diet daily and build up to 1 cup daily. Toss through salads, add to soups, sauces or make homemade baked beans.
Wholegrain Rolled Oats
An excellent source of soluble fibre, make sure to opt for wholegrain rolled oats and avoid instant oats. Try a porridge for breakfast or bircher muesli.
Another source of soluble fibre and also rich in the antioxidant beta-carotene. Sweet potato is a winner when it comes to cholesterol health. Try baked sweet potato rubbed in olive oil with dinner or tossed through a salad.
Salmon and Sardines
Oily fish are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids known to improve healthy levels of cholesterol. If buying canned opt for Paramount Wild Salmon in salt water or olive oil and try for at least 2 servings per week.
High in monounsaturated fatty acids and known to assist in reducing unhealthy levels of cholesterol.
Try adding to salads or having mashed avocado with vegetable sticks or rice crackers as a dip
Garlic, Onion and Ginger
Rich in anti-oxidants and known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Try sautéing in olive oil and adding to sauces, stir-fry’s or make into a salad dressing.
Almonds (raw – skin on) + Brazil nuts
Also high in monounsaturated fatty acids, aim for 1 small handful (30g) daily as a snack or chopped sprinkled on porridge or salads. Brazil nuts are rich in selenium (anti-oxidant) and 3 x daily are enough for RDI selenium intake.
Dark Cocoa (chocolate)
Cocoa contains flavonoids a compound found to decrease formation of “bad” cholesterol and increase levels of “good” cholesterol through anti-inflammatory actions. When it comes to anti-oxidant qualities, the darker the better, try making a hot chocolate as a healthy treat.
Brassica Vegetables (Cauliflower, Broccoli, Kale, Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts)
Natural compounds within these vegetables help our liver clear unwanted cholesterol and also provide our body with anti-oxidants. Try steaming and tossing through salads or making into a soup.
Casey Dick | Passionate Dedicated Natural Nutritionist | Brisbane, Australia, Dietary Nutritionist, Healthy Body and Mind Advocate, Natural Hormone Balance & Healthy Weight Loss, Natural Skin Health, Anorexia, Eating Disorder Recovery, Orthorexia, Thyroid, Non-dieting Approach, Gut Health, Nutritionist specialises in PCOS, Why can’t I lose weight, Weight Loss Resistance