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  • Writer's pictureHinton Magazine

Tips For Looking After Your Cholesterol

Registered Nutritionist Anita Bean, shares her top 5 tips for looking after and managing your cholesterol

1. Replace some animal proteins with plant and alternative proteins low in saturated fat: Replacing some or all of the animal proteins that are high in saturated fat with healthful plant and other alternative proteins will help reduce your saturated fat intake and contribute to maintaining a normal cholesterol level as part of a varied balanced diet and lifestyle[1]. Healthy plant and other alternative sources of protein include soya products such as tofu, edamame beans and soya plant-based drinks and alternatives to yogurt, mycoprotein, pulses (beans, lentils and peas), nuts and seeds

2. Follow HEART UK’s Ultimate Cholesterol Lowering Plan©: The UCLP© is a fully flexible 3-step eating guide to help manage your blood cholesterol levels and your heart health. You choose how and when you take on board recommended changes within each step. Any recommended improvements you make and maintain will help your cholesterol levels and heart health

3. Exercise: To keep your heart healthy your body needs adequate amounts of exercise. The UK Chief Medical Officer’s physical activity guidelines recommend at least

  • 150 minutes per week (or five x 30 minutes) of activities that leave you mildly out of breath and slightly sweaty OR

  • 75 minutes per week of vigorous activity which gets you out of breath (e.g., running, stair climbing or sports, or a combination of both such as walking, jogging, swimming or dancing) AND two days a week of muscle-strengthening exercise to prevent loss of muscle mass with age. This may include lifting weights, using resistance bands or exercises like squats, press ups and lunges that use your own bodyweight

4. Include more heart-healthy fats: Eating too many foods high in saturated fat can increase cholesterol levels. We should be eating fewer foods high in saturated fat and instead focus on consuming – in moderation – foods with heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Saturated fat is mainly found in fatty meat, full-fat dairy products, butter, lard, ghee, suet, palm and coconut oils and products made from them. Unsaturated fat is found in nuts, seeds, vegetable spreads and oils and many other plant-based foods

5. Get your 5-a-day: We should all be trying to consume at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables each day. Fresh, frozen, canned, dried, they all count. For example, an adult serving could be 1 medium sweet potato, 3 tablespoons of peas, 1 slice of mango, a bowl of salad, a tablespoon of dried fruit or a handful of strawberries


  • 29% of 25-34 years-olds, 45% of 35–44-year-olds and 57% of 45–54-year-olds have elevated cholesterol levels (above 5mmo/L)

  • Your heart is the centre of the cardiovascular system and is crucial for pumping blood around the body, supplying oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and removing carbon dioxide and other wastes

  • Oats and barley provide a specific type of fibre called beta-glucan. This fibre when consumed, as part of a balanced varied diet and lifestyle, can help to lower blood cholesterol levels which help to support heart health[2],[3]

  • Every single plant contains all 9 essential amino acids that our bodies need to make proteins

  • Our bodies become less efficient at processing protein as we grow older, so we need to consume more. After the age of 40, we typically lose around 1% of our muscle mass each year

  • Soya is one of the richest plant sources of protein and contains all the essential amino acids you need for building muscle. Naturally low in saturated fat, soya foods when consumed in place of higher saturated fat animal foods can contribute to the maintenance of normal cholesterol levels as part of a varied balanced diet and lifestyle


  • Soya drinks and alternatives to yogurt and mycoprotein are low in saturated fat and a source of protein.

  • Reducing consumption of saturated fat, as part of a varied balanced diet and lifestyle, contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels.

  • Protein, as part of varied balanced diet and lifestyle, contributes to a growth in and maintenance of muscle mass.

Oat and barley beta-glucan, as part of varied balanced diet and lifestyle, has been shown to lower/reduce blood cholesterol. High cholesterol is a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease. The daily effective dose is 3g beta-glucan. 1g beta-glucans serving can be found in 30-35g porridge oats, 3 oat cakes and 75-80g cooked pearl barley

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