Recipes for lowering cholesterol: What to know

High cholesterol levels in the blood increase the risk of heart disease. A person can take steps to lower their cholesterol naturally. These include incorporating low sugar and low cholesterol meals into a well-balanced, nutritious diet.

A person’s diet can affect their cholesterol levels. By making some changes to what they eat, a person can help lower their cholesterol levels, particularly when they combine these dietary choices with other lifestyle adjustments and medications.

This article discusses some of the negative effects of cholesterol and provides some recipes that may help with lowering cholesterol.

Cholesterol is a fatty wax-like substance that the liver naturally produces. Despite its bad reputation, cholesterol actually serves several crucial functions in the body, such as helping with building cells and producing hormones.

However, if a person’s cholesterol level becomes too high, it can cause potentially serious health issues. Too much cholesterol can clog the arteries, restricting or blocking the blood flow. When this occurs, it can lead to heart attack, stroke, and other complications.

There are two forms of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.

LDL cholesterol is the kind that people typically refer to as “bad” cholesterol. Although LDL plays an important role in the body, excessive levels can cause clogged arteries and increase a person’s risk of heart disease. HDL, which many people describe as “good” cholesterol, can help remove LDL cholesterol.

A person’s body naturally produces both forms of cholesterol.

A person’s diet can affect their cholesterol levels to some extent. Both the American Heart Association (AHA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend eating a diet that primarily consists of the following types of foods:

  • lean proteins
  • fruits
  • whole grains
  • vegetables
  • liquid fats, such as olive oil

A person should avoid eating certain types of foods, such as:

  • foods high in saturated fats, including full-fat dairy, butter, and fatty cuts of red meat
  • processed foods
  • foods high in added sugar

Sugar and cholesterol

An older 2014 meta-analysis of 39 trials examining the effects of added sugars on blood pressure and lipids concluded that a person’s sugar intake affects their cholesterol levels. The researchers found that higher sugar diets increased the levels of lipids — including cholesterol — in the body.

Therefore, it is advisable that anyone watching their cholesterol levels discuss their sugar intake with a doctor. They should also consider their intake of dietary fats.

It is important to note that no food type is inherently good or bad for a person as long as they consume certain foods in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Anyone with concerns about their cholesterol levels should speak with a doctor about getting a cholesterol test, known as a lipid profile.

People looking to manage or lower their cholesterol can search online for suitable recipes. They can also try the recipes below.

Avocado dip

This avocado dip uses simple ingredients, including:

  • the juice of half a lemon or lime
  • 2 medium sized ripe avocados
  • the chopped flesh of 1 medium ripe tomato
  • one-quarter of a small onion, finely chopped
  • one-half of a red chili, de-seeded and finely chopped
  • chopped coriander

To make the dip, a person needs to follow these steps:

  1. Remove the skin and stone from each avocado.
  2. Roughly mash the flesh.
  3. Add all the other ingredients and thoroughly mix with a spoon.
  4. Serve with crisp bread, toasted pita, whole wheat toast, or chopped veggies.

This recipe contains:

  • 147 calories
  • 14 grams (g) total fat
  • 2.9 g saturated fat
  • 1.6 g sugars
  • trace amounts of salt

Steamed green beans with garlic

Steamed green beans are an easy side dish, making them a good source of vegetables. They are high in fiber and provide some protein.

To make steamed green beans, a person needs:

  • 1 pound (lb) of green beans
  • 1–2 cloves of fresh garlic
  • optional black pepper

A person can prepare steamed green beans as follows:

  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to the boil.
  2. Cut the tips off the green beans.
  3. Carefully place the beans in the boiling water and cook for 3–4 minutes.
  4. Drain the water, crush garlic cloves into it, and mix.
  5. Sprinkle on some black pepper if desired.

This quantity of green beans provides the following nutrition:

  • 141 calories
  • 12 g dietary fiber
  • 8.3 g protein
  • 4.7 milligrams (mg) of iron
  • 957 mg of potassium

Apple slices and peanut butter

A sliced apple with peanut butter as a dip or spread makes a fast, easy snack that may keep a person’s cholesterol levels within the required range. To make this snack, a person needs:

  • a medium sized apple of their preferred variety
  • 2 tablespoons (tbsp) of natural peanut butter

For this recipe, it is important to use a natural peanut butter, as these typically have less or no added sugar. Many brands of peanut butter contain added sugar, making them a less suitable choice for someone looking to manage their weight and cholesterol.

To make apples and peanut butter, a person should:

  1. Thoroughly wash the apple.
  2. Carefully cut the apple into slices.
  3. Measure out 2 tbsp of peanut butter and place it on a plate or small bowl.

The apple provides:

  • about 95 calories
  • about 4 g fiber
  • several vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and C and folate

The peanut butter adds:

  • 190 calories
  • 16 g fat
  • 3 g dietary fiber

A person does not necessarily need to follow specialized recipes to notice changes in their cholesterol levels. Instead, they can likely make some simple changes to their favorite recipes.

Some changes that may help include:

  • using olive oil as a substitute for butter or margarine
  • making at least one meal a week meat-free
  • using a leaner animal protein, such as chicken breast or fish, as a substitute for red meat
  • removing the skin from chicken before cooking or eating it
  • using whole grain pasta, brown rice, and other whole grain substitutes in grain-heavy dishes
  • adding more vegetables to a recipe
  • using pureed fruits or vegetables for baking instead of fats
  • selecting lean cuts of meat
  • using water for cooking rather than extra oil or butter, where possible
  • using more spices and herbs to add flavor

A suitable diet can have a positive effect on a person’s cholesterol levels. Such a diet will limit sugar and focus on fruits, vegetables, lean protein, liquid fats, and fiber.

People can choose from a huge range of recipes that are both healthy and tasty. A person can also make simple substitutions when creating their favorite meals to help reduce their cholesterol levels.

By Percy