Dec 16, 2015 by Aman
Cholesterol is a hidden killer; it's something you can't see, but if you have too much of the wrong type, it could help to cause a heart attack earlier than you might expect. It creeps up on us because the bad cholesterol – low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) – is contained in so many of the foods we eat. Meats and cheeses are a good example. What's needed is food that contains high-density lipoproteins (HDLs), which actively reduce the LDLs.
Western diets are very meat and cheese-heavy, and many of us struggle to eat the right amount of vegetables and high fibre foods to go with it, preferring instead to match meat with potatoes or pasta or rice. Not that pasta and rice are bad in themselves, but they don't have many cholesterol-reducing properties.
Get your oats
Oatmeal, rolled oats, porridge: doesn't sound too appetising, does it? However, oats have loads of soluble fibre; that is, the type of fibre that turns into a kind of slippery mucus inside of you. It makes it harder for your body to absorb the cholesterol – the fats bind to the soluble fibre, and out they come instead of hanging around in your arteries.
Try it as porridge in the morning, with added fruit or dried fruit for the extra fibre. You'll stay full until lunchtime, and your energy levels will be far better than that bacon sandwich might have provided.
You can also use oats instead of breadcrumbs, so if you might normally make fishcakes that are breaded, or even fish and chicken pieces, dip them in egg and roll them in oats for a healthier experience.
If you like things sweet, why not make a flapjack with butter and honey? The butter may not be best for your cholesterol, but the oats will offset it beautifully.
Beans, beans, good for your heart
The old children's song is true, and if you're worried about the extra flatulence that comes with eating beans, don't worry – your body only produces that when it's unused to processing the high levels of fibre that come with them. Once it calms down from the shock, you won't notice anything unpleasant any more.
Many people find it difficult to introduce beans into their regular diet, unless they're baked ones, but with a bit of research and imagination, it's not as hard as you might think.
If you already eat salads, you can add a handful of cooked beans – and they come cooked in tins for super-convenience – to your salad instead of cheese. If you like things hot, why not make a bean chilli? Instead of minced meat, add beans. This goes great on baked potatoes, with rice, or you can even go Mexican, and eat it with nachos or tortillas.
A further step to take with bean chilli is to partially process it. Remove half the beans from the mix, and place in a bowl, then process the remaining mixture. Mix the whole beans back into the mix, add coriander, or extra jalapenos, tomatoes, or peppers, and “refry.” It makes a bit of a mess in the frying pan, but refried beans is an amazing side dish that helps your health.