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Cholesterol management health centre

10 foods that help lower cholesterol

WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

When you’re on a cholesterol lowering diet you soon get to know the basic dietary changes necessary for health, but if you’re craving for some dietary variety, why not consider some of these less familiar options?

By mixing it up a bit and being a little more adventurous you can have great dietary variety and control your cholesterol too!

1. Soba noodles

Why not try soba noodles as another healthy alternative to wholewheat spaghetti? Soba is the Japanese name for buckwheat, which makes for a brown noodle that is much thinner, yet doesn’t fall apart when cooked.

Buckwheat doesn't actually contain wheat but is actually an edible seed, rich in magnesium, manganese, niacin and fibre, as well as an antioxidant called rutin.

Use soba noodles in a stir fry with some shredded lean chicken, mange-tout, spring onions and a hint of chilli.

2. Avocado oil

"Cooking with vegetable oils will help to lower cholesterol," says Alana MacDonald of the British Dietetic Association.

Rapeseed oil, olive oil and sunflower oil are good choices according to dietitian Helen Bond.

Why not try new oils like avocado oil? It's pressed from the pulp that surrounds the avocado pit and has a buttery flavour. "Good" monounsaturated fat makes up about 72% of its calories, the same as olive oil.

Use avocado oil as you would extra-virgin olive oil in vinaigrettes, pesto, dips, or drizzled on sliced tomatoes. It can also take medium-high heat, so you can use it to saute meats and vegetables.

3. Oats and more

Oats are a great choice for a cholesterol friendly diet. They contain a form of soluble fibre called beta-glucan.

"3g a day of beta-glucan can help to lower cholesterol levels by 5%," says Helen.

"We're talking about things like oat bran, oat bread and also supplements that add 3g of beta-glucan so you can sprinkle it over your cereal to get the benefits."

Beta-glucan also comes in shakes and cereal bars.

Oats can be easily incorporated in both savoury and sweet dishes. Use them as a crunchy topping for a vegetable and lentil bake or mix into a crumble topping to add more chewiness than wheat crumble alone. Use oats with fresh fruits to make homemade granola or muesli.

As an alternative use quinoa flakes. They are made from the grain quinoa but with a more familiar rolled oats type of texture.

4. Barley

Barley is another great choice but it's pretty underused these days.

"It's a good source of beta-glucan, as well," says Helen. She recommends swapping rice or pasta for barley.

Pearl barley is ideal to use in stews and hot pots instead of red meat. It takes on the flavours of the dish and is really filling. Add it to a rich tomato, onion and garlic dish giving it a nutty depth of flavour and making it more of a filling meal.

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