With half of all Irish adults having high cholesterol levels and six out of 10 people in the UK with raised or abnormal blood cholesterol. It seems that at some point in our life we will all ask the question, ‘how can I lower my cholesterol?’
Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in the blood stream, but there is both ‘good’ high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and ‘bad’ cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein or (LDL) cholesterol.
The body needs cholesterol to help with liver function. When too many fat cells build up in the arteries this can lead to a narrowing of the arteries which puts extra pressure on the heart and can lead to heart disease, a heart attack or stroke
Luckily there are many simple steps that we can all take to lower our cholesterol naturally with diet, exercise and a few life style tweaks!
Foods to lower cholesterol
If you suspect that your LDL level is high always seek medical attention but following these simple dietary tips can also help to lower your cholesterol levels. We have devised an easy to follow 3 day Chia Bia Diet plandelicious dishes to help lower your cholesterol levels.
Chia seed cholesterol lowering tips
- Avoid Saturated Fats
Saturated fat is a type of fat found in meat, eggs, cream and full fat dairy foods. Due to its chemical structure, it usually hardens at room temperature. Saturated fat increases blood cholesterol and blockages in the blood stream. Chia bia is an excellent substitute for eggs, particularly for baking. Eggs help to bind ingredients, add moisture and act as a raising agent. Chia seeds can fulfil these roles too! Simply use 1 tablespoon of milled chia bia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water to replace each egg in a recipe!
- Increase Omega 3
Omega 3 found in cold water fish for example salmon is an excellent natural defence against heart disease. They help to build new cells and regulate various processes in the body. If you are looking for a vegetarian alternative to Omega 3, chia seeds contain the highest known source of plant based Omega 3 with 3000 mg in every 15g serving of Chia bia.
- Eat plenty of fibre rich food
We need fibre in our diets to keep the digestive system healthy and Chia provides 5g of fibre in every 15g serving. Studies have shown that soluble fibre, like that found in Chia bia is especially important to help lower cholesterol in the blood as it binds with the cholesterol and prevents it from being re-absorbed into the body. Soluble fibre mixes well with water and swells to form a gel like substance that slows the rate of glucose absorption therefor reducing cholesterol.
- Maintain a healthy weight
Maintaining a healthy weight and staying fit is essential for good heart health. As well as introducing a fitness plan that includes walking, taking up a team sport or going for a run, reducing your body weight will take a lot of pressure off your heart and protect against disease. Chia seeds are hydrophilic which means they swell in the stomach and help you feel fuller for longer and less likely to snack between meals. Replace sugary drinks with a chia fruit smoothie or sprinkle chia seeds on your breakfast to fill you up and help avoid that mid-morning slump.
- Get your protein from plants
While protein is essential to rebuild cells within the body and for brain function, when trying to lower your cholesterol it is best to go for plant based sources of protein like peas, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds. Meat and dairy sources of protein tend to be found in foods that contain ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol. Chia bia seeds contain all nine essential amino acids, which are components of protein that are essential in our diets with 1 serving providing 3.1 g of protein.