How can I lower my cholesterol through my diet?

The Nutri Hi b - Pos mporo na meioso ti xolisterini me ti diatrofi mou

Cholesterol (or cholesterol) is a fatty substance found in our blood. Our body needs a percentage of cholesterol to stay healthy. Cholesterol is used in the production of certain hormones and vitamin D, as well as bile acids, which help digest and absorb dietary fat.

Our blood carries cholesterol in our body to proteins called lipoproteins. The main types of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol through the blood are high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL).

  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL) carries cholesterol that is not needed back to the liver to be broken down and removed from the body. It is often referred to as “good cholesterol” as it removes cholesterol from the blood.
  • On the other hand, LDL cholesterol is often referred to as “bad cholesterol” and is the lipoprotein that carries cholesterol from the liver to the tissues of our body. Too much of it can build up in the arteries and cause narrowing or blockage and increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.

How does cholesterol rise?

The main causes of high cholesterol are:

  • the consumption of foods rich in saturated fats,
  • lack of physical activity,
  • smoking
  • and excess body weight.

How can I lower my cholesterol by making changes to my diet?

  • Choose better fats

You should reduce foods rich in saturated fats (fatty meats, sausages, dairy full of fats, cookies, cakes, butter, etc.) and replace them with foods rich in polyunsaturated (fatty fish, nuts, pumpkin) and monounsaturated (olive oil, avocado, almonds, cashews, etc.) fatty acids. Below you will see a table with smart changes in your daily life:

Limited consumption: Choose alternatives:
White sauces (cream and cheese) Tomato sauce or mixed vegetable sauce
Fatty meats and meat products (sausages, cold cuts, etc.) Lean pieces of meat, chicken and turkey (without skin), fatty fish and legumes
Potato chips and chocolates Fresh or dried fruits and nuts
Dairy products full of fat Low fat dairy products (1.5 – 2%), low fat cheeses
  • Read food nutrition labels

Compare food labels and choose foods that are low in saturated fatty acids. Foods high in saturated fat are those that contain more than 5g of saturated fat per 100g of product. While foods containing 1.5g or less per 100g are considered low in saturated fat.

  • Increase fiber consumption

Consuming a lot of fiber daily reduces the risk of heart disease and several foods that are high in fiber can lower your cholesterol. To make sure you eat enough fiber, aim for 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, switch to whole grain breads and pastas, and eat plenty of legumes, which are high in fiber.

What about plant stanols and sterols?

The use of foods that are fortified with plant sterols and stanols has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels. However, these results appear only if there is a consumption of 1.5-3g of plant sterols per day and after being combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle.


-British Dietetic Association

-NHS Choices: Lower your cholesterol. Accessed 22/04/2021