Heart disease is a concerning issue for the health of Australians, it can be a silent disease that doesn’t discriminate. In the 21st century, it is the leading cause of early death (11% ABS) with high risks seen in men compared to women. The good news that is that this condition is preventable and if picked up early by blood pressure or blood tests it can be treatable by following a healthy lifestyle that continues into older adulthood. This blog post in particular will focus on making healthy switches to a Meditterian diet that can reduce LDL cholesterol levels and increase beneficial HDL cholesterol, such as switching butter for avocadoes.
Heart disease (HD) can be linked to genetics and your family history and some medications. Following a healthy eating balanced diet and getting regular episodes of movement/physical activity every day are key mediators of reducing the change of developing heart disease. But also controlling high levels of inflammation are important, which can be linked to elevated stress, regular smoking, alcohol, and high trans fat intake (deep-fried foods) (1).
Unfortunately, it is too easy for us to fall into the Aussie western lifestyle from a young age. The foods we tend to overconsume are ultra-processed items high in added sugar, salt, saturated and trans fat & alcohol. Just think about your morning cafe muffin with a coffee, the ham and cheese toastie for lunch, and a quick takeaway for dinner with a glass of wine (1).
High Cholesterol Key Factors
✔️ High intake of butter-based foods and fatty meats.
✔️ Eating more than 6 added tsp of sugar per day.
✔️ Adding salt to your meals for more flavor.
✔️ Smoking 20 cigarettes every day.
✔️ Drinking more than 2 standard drinks per day.
Foods That Reduce Cholesterol
The good news is that you can improve your heart health with 4 weeks of making some changes to your daily habits and follow a more Mediterranean based lifestyle such as:
Exercising for 30 minutes with a sport or form of movement you actually enjoy.
Increase legumes, soy, and pulses to 400g + per week.
Increase viscous fibre to +20g per day such as oats, green veg & berries.
Add 67g of nuts/seeds to your day.
Add some plant-based sterols/stanols to 2g per day.
Eating 2 x servings of oily fish per week.
Switch processed high-fat meats to more home-cooked plant-based proteins up to 30g per day, such as homemade bean burgers, tofu & quinoa.
Become aware of your daily energy intake (2).
The thing about lifestyle changes is that it’s not a diet, a quick fix, or short term plan to complete. Ditch the man shakes and start planning for the future & nurture your health.
14 Day Meal Plans
Our team of Dietitians and nutritionists has created easy-to-follow 14-day meal plans that follow the Australian Dietary Guidelines with a Meditterian twist. They are accessible via a smartphone app and have helped 100s of people to reduce their LDL cholesterol levels over the years. Access the plan here.