What Are Your Tips on Managing Cholesterol Levels?

G'day,

Just been hit with a bit of bad news resulting in having to cut down on same of the greatest delights I've taken for granted, red meats, pasta, white bread and many other great… great stuff.

Am wondering how Ozb manages their Cholesterol Levels, and what tips and tricks you could share?

Obviously (or not) exercise, but for example;
What meals you may eat or prepare like for Breakfast, any particular snacks you eat through out the day that help you etc.

Interested to see what people say!

Comments

  • What is your Cholesterol level?

    Mine has been above 8 and 9 for years, herederity. My Dads is the same and he is the fittest 80+ year old on the planet.

    I have been dieting lately, still eat crap but just not as much and my latest was 5.0. Lowest it's been ever nearly.

    • Wow really?

      Mine is at 3.3 and equates to "ldl" or bad cholesterol.
      I've never paid any attention so thought it's time to start giving it some now.

      Congrats to the father though good on him, and good job on bringing you're own levels down!

      • Get a hobby which requires physical exercise. To be truly healthy you need to adopt a healthy lifestyle. That comes from learning and changing habits, not finding shortcuts.

  • Mine is around 6 has been high as 7.8 I do enjoy eating junk food but only do it a couple of times a week now I haven’t got high blood pressure or diabetes even though it’s a bit on the higher side my gp said it’s ok at the moment I am 56 good luck

  • See a dietitian

  • I use Crestor, problem solved

  • Are you overweight (according to BMI &/or waist to height ratio)? If so, portion control (~8700kj per day) and problem solved.

    • I'm fairly thin and fair bit away from being overweight, I am a unfit though which doesn't help.

      Thanks for tip 👌

  • Resist the urge for previous foods you once craved and replace them with a vegetable or fruit.

    Crave potato chips - stick of celery

    Ice cream- stick of carrot

    Pizza - quarter dried tomato

    Beef and reef- egg plant with a side of iceberg lettuce

    Instead of washing down with coke - glass of warm water

  • According to the following, an LDL of 3.3 is "desirable"?

  • Paleo

  • Fasting. The last blood test I had I remember the GP saying very assertively my cholesterol was very low, not that I've ever had an issue with my weight. They said it in a way as if they were turned on by how amazing my cholesterol level was, or like they'd never seen such a good result before, or whether or not there was something wrong with the test because it was so good.

    For me it was just a normal day.

    • Was it high before you did that?

    • Fasting

      Kind of a know fact that fasting before a blood test (cholesterol in particular) will give very low results.

      Likewise, eating pizza and fish & chips for dinner before the blood test will give astronomical levels.

      Not that useful really.

      • It’s useful if you decide to keep fasting, which is the point. Not to do it as a once off and have a happy day then go back to eating junk and snacking all day and night.

        • +1 vote

          Yes, fasting twice a week has been historically assessed as being a very healthy habit. Physically and spiritually.

  • +2 votes

    i cut out all sugar, processed and junk foods, no bread or flourly foods, eat lots of veggies that noone likes to eat, eat oats, exercise regularly and my total cholesterol hovers around 3.1 - 3.3. ldl-c is insanely low, although i'm not sure how accurate that is as i believe it is a calculated value.

    • I've had no knowledge about Cholesterol up until few hours ago,
      GP reckons 3.3 is a bit high and to begin working on bringing it down, though based of some of the comments and that victorchang source doesn't seem so bad lol.

      Cheers for your input

    • You mentioned in a post a few years ago you ate a bunch of your own grown kale a day. Do you still do that? Grow anything else?

      I've started eating my own rocket, and in a few months will have enough all year round. Will work on the kale soon.

      • i've got papaya, tuscan kale, green beans, okra, zucchini and beetroot growing at the moment. the tuscan kale grows in to a huge bush and will last for a year or two if it doesn't get decimated with pests

        • Impressive! How did you get into growing your own veg in the first place?

          I like eating my beet & carrot tops so I don't waste anything. They are nutritious and provide variety in the veg I eat.

          get decimated with pests

          I've had problems with slugs and some variety of kale. I'm working out through trial and error what they don't like.

  • I do fasting and extremely low carb for other health issues but it also fixed my cholesterol.

    • do you eat high fat as substitute ?

      • Most of the time I do, but these days I no longer count macros so occasionally might be higher protein than fat.
        I do the N=1 thing and eat to keep my health good rather than prescribing to an ideology that says how I have to eat, as a result I predominately eat meat, eggs and a little green veg. I keep dairy, nuts and seeds low and avoid processed foods, high carb foods, grains and especially avoid legumes.
        Since it’s about N=1 with the exception of legumes I occasionally eat what ever I want.

        • What's n=1?

          • @kiitos: The number one thing? I dunno weird use of symbols…

          • @kiitos: You are your own clinical trial and it’s based on your individual results as opposed to what “real” trials claim are the best way for everyone to eat/live/medicate or what ever else.
            I’ve also heard it called N of 1 but supposedly that triggers some “real scientists”, and others also call it a quantified self trial.

  • I take lipitor

  • Eat a bowl of oats with banana/berries consistently for breakfast. Replace red meat with pork/chicken/salmon, red meat can be a monthly treat.
    Just this should help heaps, and is easily doable.

    • That sounds easily doable, I just don't want to (if i can help it) have to begin making complex meals or substituting for all foods that completely suck ;/

      Cheers !

      • Yep, this is very doable, and is actually nice to have a consistent breakfast routine. (don't have to think after waking up)
        Oats actually lowers cholesterol by somehow removing it from the body.
        beef-wise, I've since appreciate the replacements more, and only eat nice beef when I do eat beef (wagyu steaks, no cheap fast food burger patties)

  • If you switch to a whole foods plant based diet your LDL chol. will drop dramatically.

  • Fish oil capsules are a good supplement!

  • Whole food plant based.

  • you can't have a cholesterol problem if you don't visit the doctor.

    *taps side of head meme

  • Become a vegan? and join the vegan-OzB crowd… (I'm not a member)

    I'll get neg just for using that word :D…

    I asked Dr-google "A vegan diet significantly reduces saturated fat intake. Since saturated fat may be a contributing factor to higher LDL cholesterol levels, a person who eats a vegan diet is reducing some risk of high cholesterol."
    Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317403#vegan-diet

    • +2 votes

      You can be vegan and quite unhealthy actually.
      Some vegans use oil on everything.
      Hot chips are vegan friendly. etc.

  • You should ease into it rather than go all out… Also most importantly don’t switch to food that you don’t like to eat. Instead may be eat “less” of the bad stuff. Reason for all this is more often than not, if you force yourself the moment you get good results for future test, you will switch right back.

    Good luck.

  • High cholesterol is generally from too much red meat and dairy. Not aware of pasta/bread being a contributor? But have never had a reason to worry about cholesterol.

    How much do you cook yourself versus eating out/take-away/processed food etc? Almost everything we eat is home made, but I don't really think about restricting particular groups.

    I maybe eat red meat once or twice a week, chicken once or twice and the rest would be vegetarian. I know a few guys that eat red meat every day and sometimes 2-3 meals, and there's a good chance they will run into cholesterol issues, but as long as you moderate it you might find it will keep things at a safe level. Also consider what it is you're having, a lean cut of fillet steak vs eating a really fatty cut, skinless chicken breast vs skin-on thighs etc. You might find you can change a few simple things that will be enough of a change vs dropping everything/going vegan.

    • I do have red meat regularly aswell as dairy, and alot of white bread, ciabatta for example ;/
      Take away is only really once a week, a Zinger Box a week haha

      But absolutely finding the balance is what's going to be key and will be putting a little extra thought into the options,

      Cheers

      • Yeah, the red meat/dairy intake I would assume is the main thing. I don't eat huge amounts of red meat myself, and when I do I prefer lean meat. But I don't think white flour/pasta is a contributor to cholesterol as it has little to no fat, unless you slather in in a heap of butter, processed/fatty meat and cheese ;)

        But yeah, I'd definitely try a balanced approach rather than a more drastic change and see how it goes.

  • In normal people, dietary cholesterol is only loosely correlated with blood serum cholesterol levels. This is good - it means you don't have to specifically vilify foods (like eggs) that are high in cholesterol.

    Cholesterol levels are MUCH more closely related to saturated fat intake. Guidelines generally recommend that saturated fats should not make up more than 6-10% of caloric intake, and this obviously assumes that your caloric intake is appropriate (i.e. that you are not gaining or maintaining excessive body fat).

    For the "average" adult energy requirement of 8700kJ, 10% = 870kJ = 23g of saturated fat. You can easily exceed that with a 250g steak, which is why recommendations for lowering cholesterol generally boil down to eating less red meat and cheese. That said there's nothing wrong with wanting a steak from time to time - perhaps you might find it more reasonable to view things in terms of 23 * 7 = 161g of saturated fat per week, to be parcelled out across lean protein sources and a few treats here and there.

    For way, way more detail than you want, have a read of this: https://www.barbellmedicine.com/blog/the-science-of-red-meat...
    (The author is qualified MD who is very much into research evidence over fads or dogma)

  • You’re in my wheel house now. I discovered this problem in my early 30’s. It is mainly a hereditary thing for me but I was also a huge junk food junky. I took the statins to keep it down. I got it lower which felt right but it would still be considered high today. I continued eating what I wanted and relied on the pills to do the heavy lifting. I still developed type 2 diabetes in later life. I now have a BMI in the high 30’s and can’t beat it. About 5 years ago I decided for various reasons that being vegan might help me live longer. So I cut out all of the bad food groups and as if magically my cholesterol dropped to the healthiest of levels. I ALSO reversed my diabetes diagnosis - this is huge! I used to worry about dying. Now I know that I may die but I don’t worry about it so much. I have accepted that years of yo-to dieting has only made me bigger in the long term but by eating healthier I have reduced the risks dramatically. I still need the statins though. I tried kicking them thinking my diet had fixed the problem but because of my genes it hadn’t. There is no easy fix for this. You have to do the work. By making a life changing decision I made the work a lot easier though. I still search out tasty substitutes but they are healthier in their ingredients. Some say I am a bad vegan. Better to be a bad vegan than a bad junk food junkie with life threatening health issues.

    • Going Vegan would be my last option to be frank, if i don't improve on some of the alternative changes then i'll maybe consider if its critical for me to do so ;/.

      But a big congrats on turning it right around and reversing the diabetes diagnosis, massive win and good to hear!

  • Eat peanuts they contain nicotinic acid and monounsaturated fats that lower LDL and raise HDL.
    Eat beans for fibre.
    Oats.
    Avocados.
    WeetBix with added plant sterols.
    Olive oil.

  • Eat OATS. Within a week or two, your levels will be reduced to normal.

    I cup of oats. Let sit in a splash of milk, and water for 20min. This will allow the oats to soak up the milk.

    Add more water about 1cm above level of oats.

    Heat on low temp. Stir occasionally. When nearing completion, add more heat, stir to bubble off excess moisture.

    Pour into broad rimmed bowl. Add a splash of milk. Sprinkle coffee-granule brown sugar on top. Enjoy.

  • 1) I have heridatary cholesterol (thanks dad) I am 45 kilos but still have cholesterol for 2 decades. I've seen nutritionist multiple times. Ask your doctor about nutritionist as it was Medicare rebateble if you are diagnosed with cholesterol (as in free consultations)
    2) I managed it by:
    A) cardio / rigorous exercise 3 to 4 hours a week
    B) breakfast was Oats/porridge and added teaspoon psyllium husk and LSA (linseed soy almond ground up) with walnuts on top and fruit.
    Can mix this up with other high fibre breakfast, example guardian, all bran.
    Also replace your milk and butter by purchasing Proactiv milk and butter as they are cholesterol reducing foods as they have plant sterols.
    C) reduce saturated fats. Read nutritional label of processed foods. On the label under the heading fat, saturated ensure its at least 2grams or Under.
    D) of course avoid fried food, junk food. Try to poach, grill food. Try have fish at least once a week, salmon, white fish if have meat avoid lamb (my favourite :() pork belly. Grilled steak is ok.
    E) I managed this successfully for 2 decades but now it's unusually high as I have other issues that contribute to it so have to take medication.
    Happy share more info if needed.
    Good luck!

    • Absolutely, I've been given a free referral so i'm certainly going to see a dietitian, it's free afterall :)

      If there's anything I'm taking from this thread, it's Oats for Breakfast lol.
      But really great tips there thank you for sharing.

      Best of luck keeping yours under control

  • Read Sweet Poison by David Gillespie. Then cut sugar.

    "Low GI" label on highly processed foods will not help you.

  • I thought blood cholesterol was a product of high GI diets causing an insulin response in the liver, rather than being a product of high dietary cholesterol. If I am not incorrect, that means limit sugar, limit starchy carbs, don't worry about red meat or dairy or eggs. But if I'm wrong, transitioning to fish instead of red meat might help.

  • Recently did another blood test, and my cholesterol has crept back up to 6.1 (same as 2 years ago). LDL (bad cholesterol) is 3.8. Same time last year it was 5.1
    I am trying to make regular exercise a high priority (per my GPs recommendation to me). I don't eat KFC nearly as often as you, but I think I'm going to give it a miss for a while (like I did before), and try to consume more healthy fats, to get my HDL (good cholesterol up). I'm not sure whether it helps, but I might focus on better sleeping habits as well.

    My cholesterol issue may be hereditary as I don't eat dairy besides an ice-cream once every few weeks, and red meat about once a week.

  • +1 vote

    Anchovies (in oil) covered with VERY thinly sliced fresh garlic.
    Let it rest for 15 or 20 minutes "to do its chemistry" and then put on bread or similar. And eat them, of course …

    Apparently fresh garlic (sliced not crunched/crushed) and the anchovies react producing a cholesterol reducing concoction.
    Works for me.
    Four small anchovies (~5cm each) about two to three times a week.

    Warning: strong garlic breath guaranteed!

  • I had been putting off a blood test I was meant to have in Feb and finally had it in Sep. It was the worst I've ever had I think.

    Chol = 6.7
    Trig = 2.4
    HDL = 1.4
    LDL = 4.2

    I thought I was eating OK during Covid, having nuts and seeds and fruit for morning tea, but I think it was having leftover dinners for lunch, biscuits and cakes my wife has been cooking for afternoon tea, dinner, ice cream, chocolate and other treats, all excused by these unprecedented times. My GP put the wind up me and my wife to really get serious about it, and I think having my wife participate too helped a heap.

    So for 6 weeks I was strict with my diet, having zero butter, marg or cheese, no red meat, chicken breast instead of thigh, no deli meats, less for breakfast, vegies and hummus and maybe grain toast for lunch, one serving of dinner rather than 2, restricting carbs, so 2/3 cup of rice rather than probably 2 cups, etc, no ice cream, and one or two rows of chocolate instead throughout the day.

    I got the results of my follow-up test today:

    Chol = 5.6
    Trig = 1.2
    HDL = 1.4
    LDL = 3.6

    I was somewhat disappointed that Chol and LDL were each 0.1 past the high end of the OK range, but my GP was pleased with the turnaround, mainly because I also had bad liver readings and they were greatly improved. I also lost 7cm around my waist and weigh the least I ever have as an adult.

    I now have to find a balance to hopefully continue to move into and then stay in the healthy range and not despair at feelings of deprivation. I only really realised how little I ever really felt hungry before because I was eating more at each meal, and that feeling a little hunger is OK.

    I tend to have breakfast on weekends only, and morning tea during the week as part of an intermittent fast. Intermittent fasting seemed to help when I started it some years ago but as seen by my bad results above, wasn't the panacea for me. I do like to have a bircher muesli style breakfast - I used to have it by soaking oats overnight in milk, water and yoghurt with chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pepitas, almonds, any other seeds and nuts you like, dried fruits like prunes, figs, apricots, fresh fruit like berries, grated apple. Delicious and filling. I haven't been having it during the diet change, just raw oats with milk and berries instead, but will probably reintroduce it for breakfast and maybe some lunches.

    • Good work on getting it lower.
      How old are you, 30s or early 40s?
      The GPs use a calculator based on various factors to determine whether you need statins. If you maintain a 5.6 level when you're older I think you'll definitely be put on statins.

      I was about a 5.x and reduced to 3.x with diet.

      • Thanks for that. I'm in my early 50s, father is on statins so I likely have a genetic factor not in my favour but do hope to be able to avoid needing them.

        What sort of diet do you follow, and how long have you been in the good range?

        • Been in the good range for about 2 years - following a whole foods plant based diet. A lot of people think that as you get older you require statins - I know they often say that it runs in the family - but I think you'll find that after years and years of eating a regular western diet, by the time you are your dad's age so many are put on statins. There are some places where coronary heart disease is almost non-existent (eg rural China and sub-Saharan Africa) and the elderly have cholesterol levels similar to that of young adults. Though the diets of those two groups are different, they are centered on planed based foods, lots of grains and vegetables, and little animal fat. Their chol. levels averaged <3.8.

          My uncle who is in his 70s recently was told he had a 50% blocked artery and was increased on his statins dosage which he wasn't happy with (didn't like some of the statin side effects). He was told that he couldn't reduce the blockage with diet. After 6 mths of a whole foods plant based diet his chol is now 3.x - and with no statins. His chol used to be 7.x at one point. His artery was checked again, and it is only 35% blocked now. So he is very happy. This will improve further as he continues.

          Interestingly, he hadn't eaten red meat for many years - only chicken and fish. He also is a keen runner - running many Kms a week and wasn't fat at all.

          This is the diet in essence.
          https://ptpimg.me/96if38.png

        • forgot to mention: my uncle was told by his doctor that he could only reduce his chol. by about 20% through diet. 6.7 * .8 = 5.36
          So you are close to that with what you have done. However, the reality is you can go much further than that as I have mentioned.

    • Alot of great info there, and great work turning it around.

      Can i ask, if you are using regular Cow Milk, which branded Milk do you use?

      I'm intending to stay on Cows Milk as my levels aren't at that bad, and i can't stand the taste of Almond milk etc

      • Thanks, it will be hard to stick to it but I hope to. I was particularly strict in these 6 weeks to see how effective I can expect it to be, if it didn't help then it would be medication, but if I wasn't strict I wouldn't know if there was some unrealised benefit there that I missed out on.

        My GP said an 80/20 approach should be ok, so I will be able to have some treats.

        I'm just using supermarket brand lite milk in cereal and coffee.

      • Goodrich buy the brand Proactiv which is a green carton with heart on it. It's cow's milk with plant sterol added. It's still cow milk. I don't like almond or soy either. It's great! It does reduce cholesterol. I made that change only a few years ago and nothing else and it did reduce my readings by close to 10%.

  • Recipe I am having tonight, Champion Chilli - having it with a bit of brown rice.
    https://ptpimg.me/9k19d2.png
    https://ptpimg.me/3uinbq.png

    adjust chilli levels to suit
    savoury spice not necessary..

    but in case you were wondering, savoury spice is:
    https://ptpimg.me/y0z617.png

    I use that instead of salt.

    This is an example of a whole foods plant based meal that is great for you and your cholesterol ;)

    • Very inviting looking dish,
      My chilli levels are mild haha

      Thank you for the suggestion!

  • Ignore the heart tick on food labels, it's bought, not earned.

    Eat anything and everything, but do it in moderation.

    Try and limit fat intake to 30g or less per day. It's easier that it seems and you will lose weight too.

    This is my lot, the last generation on both sides in my family tree, both M&F, as well as generations before them, usually clutched the chest on the way to the floor at ~40yo. Cause? —> https://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2012/december/familial-hypercho...

  • Metamucil.

    I had an Asian friend in his mid 30’s who ran daily on the treadmill and was a healthy weight but did enjoy KFC and was told his cholesterol was a couple of points high. I recommended Metamucil daily and he dropped his cholesterol a couple of points in 6 months (when he next visited his doctor). He now recommends it to everyone he knows.