Diet for High Cholesterol

Healthy eating helps us to reduce the risk of getting lifestyle related conditions such as hypertension, diabetes or heart disease.  High cholesterol in the body is associated with a higher risk of angina or strokes and as such, taking effort to change your diet and lifestyle is an easy and definite way to improve your own health. 

This is even more important if you have had angioplasty or coronary bypass surgery for any heart condition.  Diet modification should also be part of your Cardiac Rehabilitation Program after any heart procedures.

Goals for Low Fat Diet

  • Reduce or maintain your cholesterol in normal range
  • Increase the ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL) and reduce the ‘bad’ cholesterol in your body
  • Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease

Click to view HeartUK video on Cholesterol Diet

Healthy Cholesterol-friendly Foods Tips

1. Healthy Plate Method for meal planning

Follow the Healthy Plate Method when planning your meals.   This method ensures each meal consists of 1/4 plate carbohydrate, 1/4 plate protein and 1/2 plate of non-starchy green vegetables.  Aim to have 3 portions of green vegetables and 2 portions of fruits every day. 

2. Choose meat cuts with less fat and more lean muscle

Look for cuts of meat with less fat or marbling and trim the fat from the edges of the meat prior to eating (you may opt to cook with fat because it is more tasty).  Choose chicken (white meat) which is high in protein and lower in fat compared to beef or lamb (red meat).  Removing the skin also helps to reduce the fat content further while breast meat has least fat.

3. Include fish 2-3 times a week in your meal plan

Fish is a healthy, high-protein food option and contains omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for brain and heart health.  Here is a list of healthy options of local fishes;

4. Consider having plant based protein for some meals

Consider substituting meat proteins with vegetables such as beans, pulses or soya.  They have as much protein content as meat with virtually zero cholesterol.  They also high in fibre which also helps with weight management.

Image Experthometips

5. Increase the Fibre content in your meal

Dietary fibre is the edible parts of plants which are resistant to digestion and absorption in the small intestine.  Eating more fibre and whole grains in your meals can prevent constipation and help reduce fat absorption from the gut.  Increased consumption is defined as having six or more 1 oz portions of fibre a day.  The benefits of fibre is thought to be from the increased bile (containing cholesterol) secretion out of the body, reduced fat absorption into the body, increased gut transit time as well as helping with weight reduction. 

6. Try to use healthier Cooking Oils

Most of us need to cook using some form of oil or fat.  Try to choose the polyunsaturated oils whenever possible as a healthier option.  These are 2 types of fat;

a) Saturated Fat. These fat solidifies and harden under cold temperature and are mainly found in animal products (such as lard or ghee) and in some vegetable fat such as coconut milk (santan).  Excessive intake is associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

b) Unsaturated Fat.  These fat are soft or even in liquid form when stored in the refrigerator.  They are mainly from plant origin;

  • Monounsaturated fat (MUFA) such as olive and palm oil
  • Polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) such as sunflower and corn oil
FoodEstimated Cholesterol content (mg/100 gm)Estimated Saturated Fat content (mg/100 gm)
Coconut oil087
Palm oil049
Olive oil014
Sunflower oil012

7. Try to use healthier Cooking Techniques

Healthy eating does NOT have to compromise the taste.  Your favourite recipes can be adapted easily to provide a healthier alternative by using healthier cooking techniques (and changing the types of cooking oils and reducing the amount of oils required).   

  • AVOID deep frying but instead shallow fry or use non-stick pans so that less oil is required
  • Grilling or baking are healthier because the fats will drip out
  • Use yoghurt, skim milk or cornstarch instead of cream or ‘santan’ for sauces or curries
  • Microwaving or steaming is more healthy than deep frying

8. Avoid foods which are HIGH in cholesterol

The recommended cholesterol intake is around 200-400 mg per day (but this depends on different health conditions so do discuss with your dietician or nutritionist about your personal needs).  Eating healthy does NOT mean having tasteless food or changing your diet completely.  It means to EAT SMART and change the type of cooking (such as not having too much deep fried foods) and avoiding high cholesterol foods;

EggsEstimated Cholesterol content (mg/100 gm)
Hen Egg yolk1480
Hen Egg white0
Duck Egg850
Quail Egg415
Fish roe300
MeatEstimated Cholesterol content (mg/100 gm)
Lamb kidney375
Lamb liver300
Turkey red meat101
SeafoodEstimated Cholesterol content (mg/100 gm)
Anchovy with head1085
Anchovy no head450
Prawns dried353
Sardines (canned)140
Prawns fresh130
Crab meat100
Spanish mackerel3

Discuss your diet plan with your doctor, dietician or nutritionist to reduce your risk of heart disease or stroke

Disclaimer. TELEME blog posts contains general information about health conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. 

If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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