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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How to reduce cholesterol levels?

    Recently had a minor stroke, and part of the diagnoses was that my cholesterol levels were high. I would like to bring it down by natural methods, rather than medication. Overall cholesterol 4.5 mmol/L, Triglycerides 2.0, HDL 1.0, Non-HDL 3.5, LDL 2.6. Blood pressure is usually fairly low. It appears that some type of exercise is the best thing for me, perhaps, however I would appreciate guidance as to what type of exercise would be productive for me at 67 years. I am fairly fit as I work around my rural property. Should I make some changes to my diet? At present, my daily food consists of the following, generally: Breakfast - wheatbix, full or low fat milk, no added sugar Lunch - full fat yoghurt, with apple or banana Dinner - five or more steamed veges, plus fried chicken or fish, done with a very small amount of olive oil. Coffee (packet latte) and one biscuit, twice per day in between meals. I would appreciate any constructive suggestions or advice....many thanks
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 7


    Emily Reibel is an Accredited Practising Dietitian working in the suburbs of Sydney and Newcastle who is motivated and passionate about providing individuals with skills … View Profile

    Hi there,

    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 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

    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

    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)



    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

  • 1


    Colin Towill

    HealthShare Member

    Hi Emily,

    Thank you for responding to my question regarding diet. I have changed breakfast over to rolled oats already and of course no sugar. I have also reduced the number of biscuits with coffee.

    It appears that I am ok with dinner of chicken/fish with veges, however I question the quantity of veges you mention, this being 1 that 1 cup of veges overall. If it is, then it certainly is a small quantity compared with what I have, as I love my veges.

    I tend to have a largish serving of brocolli, a carrot, half a zuccini, small serving of potato and sweet potato, a tablespoon or more of beans, which fills the plate up.

    Is this too much? I am not over weight so usually like my dinner to be the main meal of the day.

    Your advice would be most welcome, or anyone else can advise.

    Many thanks, Colin

  • 1


    Emily Reibel is an Accredited Practising Dietitian working in the suburbs of Sydney and Newcastle who is motivated and passionate about providing individuals with skills … View Profile

    Hi Colin,

    Yes the more non starchy-vegetables you can add the better! 

    Your diet is quite good however lunch I would aim to include some more vegetables or salad and some lean protein (tuna, salmon, eg, chicken) + low GI carbs (brown rice, sweet potato, multigrain bread) with some splashing of olive oil (if you can)  instead of yoghurt and fruit (use those foods as snacks in between meals).  

    Doing very well! 

    Kind regards,


  • sally gee

    HealthShare Member

    What is the best vitamin supplement to take post bariatric surgery. I need a capsule, can't manage the large tablets or chewable ones & hate the liquid.

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