Cholesterol is a fat-like substance found in all cells in the body. High cholesterol is where there is too much cholesterol in the blood, which can lead to coronary heart disease.
There are two types of cholesterol found in the body:
LDL (bad) cholesterol: causes a build up of cholesterol in the arteries
HDL (good) cholesterol:helps remove cholesterol from the body
It is important to have a healthy balance of both types of cholesterol in the blood.
Lifestyle and dietary changes are an effective way to lower overall cholesterol and achieve a health balance of good and bad cholesterol.
When aiming to decrease cholesterol levels in the body, the types of fats consumed need to be considered.
Saturated fats increase LDL cholesterol
Polyunsaturated fats lower LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol
Mono-unsaturated fats lower LDL fats
THE PORTFOLIO DIET
The portfolio diet is the combination of cholesterol lowering foods in the diet, including plant sterols, soluble fibre, nuts and soy protein. The portfolio diet should be used in conjunction with a healthy balanced diet.
Plant sterols work by blocking the absorption of cholesterol and therefore decreasing the levels in the body.
We need to consume 2-3grams of plant sterols a day. Plant sterols can be found in products that have added plant sterols in, such as:
- Logical/proactive spread (require 1.5tbsp daily)
- Heart active milk (require 3cups daily)
- Live active cheese (40g daily)
Blackmores now also provide plant sterols in supplement form know as Cholesterol Health.
Soluble fibre is believed to lower cholesterol through lowering the production of LDL cholesterol.
For a balanced healthy diet we should aim for at least 30g of overall fibre in the diet, 15g of which is from soluble fibre. Soluble fibre can be found in:
- Psyllium husk (1tbsp = 8g fibre)
- Oats and barley (1cup = 4g soluble fibre)
- The flesh of vegetables and fruit (1cup = ~2g soluble fibre)
- Legumes and lentils (1cup = 4g soluble fibre)
Nuts are high in mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats, which work at lowering LDL cholesterol and increasing HDL cholesterol. We should aim for 30g unsalted raw nuts daily.
Soy Protein (optional)
Soy protein is believed to lower cholesterol through multiple mechanisms, including lowering the production of LDL cholesterol.
We should aim for 25g of soy protein daily. Soy protein can be readily found in:
- Soy milk (1cup = 7g soy protein)
- Tofu (60g = 5g soy protein)
- Edamame (1cup = 22g soy protein)
- Soy yoghurt (1cup = 9g soy protein)
SAMPLE MEAL PLAN
1/2 cup traditional rolled oats with 1cup heart active milk, 1tbsp. psyllium husk and 1tbsp. chia seeds
Optional: Add 1 small banana or ½ cup berries or 1tsp honey for flavour
30g raw unsalted nuts
1 piece of fruit
1 multigrain sandwich with 1tin of tuna, 1cup salad and 30g live active cheese
1cup edamame beans
2 Ryvitas with ¼ avocado
150g lean meat/chicken/fish with 1cup of vegetables and 1small sweet potato
Lentil and Vegetable soup
SUPPER 1 cup soy yoghurt
1 piece of fruit