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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How do I lower LDL cholesterol levels?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1


    Lisa Yates


    I graduated with a Masters of Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Sydney in 1996 and have been working part time in private practice … View Profile

    Cholesterol is made by the liver from the saturated fat that you eat. So by changing the type of fat you eat you can go along way to changing the amount of cholesterol your body makes.

    Healthy fat foods include nuts, avocado, seeds, salad dressings and healthy cooking oils such as nut oils, olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, etc and margarine spreads made from these oils.

    Oliy fish and fish oils also contain healthy fats.

    Our liver also makes bile which is stored in the gall bladder. Bile contains cholesterol salts. When we eat foods that contains fats bile is released into the intestine to help emulsify the fats and water to aid digestion and absorption. One way to lower blood cholesterol is to stop this reabsorption of the cholesterol salts from bile. Soluble fibre found in grains such as oats, nuts, legumes, psyllium husks and skins of fruits and vegetables can trap this cholesterol and excrete it from the body.

    Plant sterols are a natural chemical found in nuts for instance but can also be added to foods such as margarines. Plant sterols look like cholesterol so can trick the body into thinking it is absorbing cholesterol from the intestine when it's not. This cholesterol is then excreted from the body.

    Eating a variety of foods means you get a little of all the right nutrients to help lower cholesterol.

    Lisa Yates Consultant Dietitian Adv APD

  • Nicole Senior

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    I'm an Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist, consultant, author, speaker and food and health enthusiast. I love talking and writing about food and health.(please note, … View Profile

    Two great answers, but here's my 2 bobs worth:
    Diet is a very powerful tool to lower cholesterol and look after your heart, but more targeted changes are needed rather than just ‘healthy eating’. Here's a summary of strategies with good scientific evidence to back them up from our book Eat to Beat Cholesterol:

    1. Get fats right (mostly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated)
    2. Include plant sterols
    3. 1-2 handfuls of nuts a day
    4. Include foods rich in soluble fibre: oats, barley or psyllium
    5. Include some soy protein
    1. Eat fish in two meals a week
    2. Include legumes in 2 meals a week
    3. 5 serves vegetables daily
    4. Half your grain foods as whole grains
    5. Choose low GI (carb containing) foods
    You can also expect these strategies to increase your good HDL cholesterol as well: a lower LDL and higher HDL reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease.
    For more detailed information, tips and advice about putting all this into practice as well as delicious recipes, grab a copy of 
    Eat to Beat Cholesterol in bookshops or online at

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