What if I told you that I had the answer to “How To Reduce Cholesterol In 30 Days?” Well, I’m a Dietitian, and in this article, I’m going to reveal my number one cholesterol-lowering food.
I’m Maria, and I’m a registered dietitian; every single day, I work with clients trying to lower cholesterol, lower triglycerides, reverse diabetes, and achieve a healthy weight. So, if this sounds like something you’re interested in, this article is for you.
This article is all about how to reduce your cholesterol in 30 days and what the number one cholesterol-lowering food to include is.
If you would prefer to sit back, watch and listen to this information, you can view it all over on the YouTube channel!
NOW, I want to reiterate that we must do two things first:
- You need to know and understand your cholesterol levels.
- You need to limit the foods that raise bad cholesterol in the first place.
Luckily, I have two full articles on this, so be sure to check them out after reading this article:
But today, I’m going to talk about one food component you can eat EVERY DAY to help lower your high cholesterol.
Drumroll, please. So, what is the number one food component? It’s FIBRE.
- 1 How Does Fibre Lower Cholesterol?
- 2 How Much Fibre Should You Eat?
- 3 Different Types of Fibre
- 4 The Best Fibre For Lowering Cholesterol
- 5 Let’s Get Practical – How To Increase Soluble Fibre Intake
- 6 Top Tips When Increasing Fibre
How Does Fibre Lower Cholesterol?
Fibre can lower the “bad” LDL cholesterol, and it can help lower triglycerides as well. It does this by grabbing onto the cholesterol in the body, removing some of it in your stool and also preventing it from being absorbed in your body. Therefore, fibre can lower your risk of getting heart disease and improve your heart health.
Another BONUS with fibre is that it can help you manage your weight. We know that people who eat more fibre are slimmer than those who don’t. And it’s a dose-response relationship, which means the more fibre you eat, the more slim you are likely to be. And for some if they have weight to lose, losing the extra weight can also help with lowering your cholesterol.
How Much Fibre Should You Eat?
How much fibre does an adult need?
Generally speaking, we need to eat about 25 grams per day (as per European Food Safety Authority recommendations). To be more specific, we need to eat 14 grams of fibre for every 1000 calories we consume each day. So, lots of people need more than 25 grams. For example, we need 35 grams per day if we need to fuel our body with 2500 calories worth of food in a day.
How much fibre does a child need?
In Ireland, the recommended amount for children is their age, plus 5g of fibre per day. So, a five-year-old child should be getting 10 g a day (5 years + 5g of fibre).
Are We Eating Enough Fibre?
The simple answer is NO, we are NOT EATING ENOUGH fibre
Fewer than 1 in 10 American adults meet their daily fibre recommendations, according to the American Society for Nutrition. And in Ireland, about 80% of people are fibre deficient!
Different Types of Fibre
Did you know that there are different types of fibre? And one, in particular, is amazing when it comes to lowering cholesterol.
Broadly speaking, we have soluble and insoluble fibre.
Soluble fibre is a “softer fibre”, and it absorbs water in the gut. It’s found in:
- pulses (such as beans, peas and lentils)
- and some fruits and vegetables.
Insoluble fibres are the “roughage” found in plant foods that our body can’t break down. They add bulk to your stool. They are found in:
- wholegrains, especially the bran part of the grain
- and the seeds and skin of fruits and nuts.
The terms ‘soluble’ and ‘insoluble’ have fallen out of favour recently because there are other qualities of fibre which are now known to be important. Such as whether the soluble fibre forms a gel in the gut or if a fibre is fermentable, which means it can be broken down by gut bacteria. However, for general purposes, this is still a good way of thinking about fibre.
The Best Fibre For Lowering Cholesterol
We are going to focus on soluble fibre. Soluble fibre has really strong cholesterol-lowering effects. So it’s your BFF if you have high cholesterol.
How does soluble fibre lower cholesterol?
Soluble fibre dissolves in water, forming a “thick gel” in the stomach, absorbing and pulling in water as it moves through the digestive tract.
If you think of a bowl of oats, Weetabix or chia seeds left on the sink, if you come back after 30 minutes, they absorb all the liquid and form a solid pudding!
So, how does this help lower cholesterol?
Well, this “gel-like” substance acts like a magnet or a mop. It grabs onto cholesterol in your small and large intestines, sweeping it all the way through your digestive tract and taking it out with your stool. In essence, you poo out the extra cholesterol.
Oats and barley are particularly good at this because they have a soluble fibre known as beta-glucan with a really strong gel-forming effect. In fact, you can see it on top of oats if you leave them sitting there for long enough.
Now it does more – so this gel-like substance also captures bile in your digestive tract and removes it.
In basic science, in order for your body to make bile, it needs to use cholesterol as an ingredient.
So, since the gel in the soluble fibre is also catching and removing bile, your body must make more bile to make up for what it’s losing in your stool. And to do this, it needs to take some of the cholesterol that’s in your bloodstream to make it. So now the amount of cholesterol that’s in your bloodstream is going to be reduced in this way too.
Then, finally, this soluble fibre is not digested. So, when it gets to your large intestine, it ferments in your gut. As it’s fermenting, it creates short chain fatty acids (SCFAs). These SCFAs are hugely beneficial as they can prevent your body from making new cholesterol.
So, in summary, soluble fibre is:
- Sticking to the cholesterol in your body, mopping it up and removing it in the stool.
- It’s also removing bile, forcing your body to make more bile and use up that extra cholesterol.
- And it’s helping make these SCFAs that preventing your body from making more cholesterol in the future.
10 to 25 grams of soluble fibre per day has been shown to reduce cholesterol by five to 10%. So a huge amount!
Let’s Get Practical – How To Increase Soluble Fibre Intake
You do not need to tediously count out how many grams of fibre are in every bite of food you eat. Instead, simply focus on these changes:
- Make sure you are having at least five servings of fruit and vegetables every single day, ideally more.
One portion of fruit and veg is:
- one medium fruit, e.g. apple, orange, banana, pear
- two small fruits, e.g. two kiwis or two plums
- two cups of salad
- one cup of vegetables or roughly 80g.
2. Choose wholegrains, e.g. wholemeal bread, cereals, pasta and rice
3. Add nuts and seeds to everything you can.
4. Make beans, peas and pulses your best friend.
Now, if you want to be a little more prescriptive, I would recommend really focusing on increasing your intake of beta-glucans. We know that 3g of beta-glucan a day helps actively lower cholesterol.
You can get this by eating three servings of the following foods:
- A small bowl of porridge (using 30g of porridge oats)
- 13g (1-2 tablespoons) of oat bran – sprinkled onto cereals or added to casseroles, soups or smoothies
- 250ml of an oat drink (containing at least 1g of beta-glucan per serving)
- One oat breakfast biscuit
- One serving of oat breakfast cereal flakes (30-35g)
- Three oatcakes
- Recipes providing at least 30g of oats per serving that are also low in saturated fat
- 75g cooked pearl barley – you can add these to stews, casseroles, salads or use them instead of rice to make a risotto
- 40g of barley flakes
Top Tips When Increasing Fibre
Increase fibre slowly to allow your gut to adjust. You also want to make sure you are drinking plenty of fluid to avoid ending up like a clogged kitchen sink. Fibre needs fluid to work; don’t forget that!
This post was all about How To Reduce Cholesterol In 30 Days and my number one cholesterol-lowering food.
Hi there! My name is Maria, and I am a Registered Dietitian practicing in Ireland and Bermuda. I have extensive experience in helping clients lower their cholesterol levels through dietary interventions. I hope you found the article informative and beneficial. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. Additionally, if there are any other topics related to nutrition that you would like me to cover in my upcoming articles, please let me know. I would be more than happy to help.
Stay happy and healthy 💚
Your Registered Dietitian
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