Cholesterol forms part of every cell membrane and is a precursor to bile acids and hormones such as eostrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol and Vitamin D.
The liver is the main site for cholesterol synthesis therefore most of the cholesterol in our bodies is made by our liver and does not come from food.
So as you can see our body needs cholesterol to function properly, but like most substances, too much of a good thing can be bad.
There are two types of cholesterol LDL (Low-density lipoprotein), known as “bad” cholesterol and HDL (High-density lipoprotein), known as “good” cholesterol. These two types of lipids, along with Lp(a) cholesterol and triglycerides make up your total cholesterol count, which can be determined through a blood test.
Studies show that dietary intake of saturated fats have more of an impact on blood cholesterol levels than the dietary intake of cholesterol does (for most people). Common high cholesterol foods are red meat, eggs and dairy. We don’t need to cut these foods out completely just lower you intake and portion size. For example Nutritionists recommend 1 x 150g serve of red meat per week, 3 eggs per day (maximum) and low fat milk varieties. Please do not consume margarine to help lower cholesterol it may do you more harm than good!
You will not find cholesterol in plant foods, even those containing fat such as avocado’s and coconuts – so make them a big part of your diet.
Your diet should contain the following on a daily basis, essential fatty acids such as fish, walnuts, linseed, lecithin, mono-unsaturated fats, lots of fibre to carry excess cholesterol out of the body, (you will find lots of healthy fibre in the healthy mummy smoothies) supplementing with relevant cofactors and addressing stress. The more stressed we are the more cholesterol we manufacture to produce cortisol.
Oat Bran – A randomised controlled trial with a crossover design found that the daily ingestion of 84g of oat bran for six weeks significantly reduced serum cholesterol by 13% and LDL cholesterol by 17%. 84g is quite a large serving if you are trying to lose weight opt for around 30g-50g daily instead – Oat Bran is great to add into your Healthy Mummy Smoothies too.
Breakfast – Rolled Oats with added LSA (linseed, sunflower seeds, almonds), lecithin granules, natural yoghurt and berries. Oats are rich in soluble fibre, stabilise blood sugars, improve satiety to reduce overeating. Lecithin plays a role in HDL formation and helps with the emulsification of fats. LSA for added protein, fatty acids. Berries to ensure adequate vitamin C and antioxidant intake. The Healthy Mummy Smoothie is also a great option as it has a high fibre content, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds and is free from additives and chemicals.
Lunch – Rye sandwich with avocado, tuna, tomato, baby spinach and alfalfa. Tuna consumption will ensure adequate protein. Baby spinach has been included as a bitter green and alfalfa for its liver cleansing benefits and high vitamin, mineral content. Or a Healthy Mummy Smoothie
Dinner – Salmon steak with leafy green salad including rocket leaves, olive oil, tahini and lemon dressing. Adequate protein is attained through the inclusion of a salmon steak, and fatty acids are beneficial. The bitters in the green salad will stimulate bile formation and gallbladder motility. Extra olive oil and lemon will further complement this process.
Snacks – Healthy Mummy Smoothie or Carrot sticks with hummus or babaganoush. Carrots will ensure adequate vitamin C intake and promote healthy liver function.
Beverages – Dandelion root can used to support liver detoxification, gently support gallbladder motility and will assist with constipation if indicated. Also find this wonderful herb in the healthy mummy smoothie!
Replace your cooking oil with Rice Bran Oil. It contains a plant sterol called Gamma Oryzanol which is an anti-oxidant that has a proven cholesterol lowering effect. A study conducted by the American journal of nutrition found with the consumption of the rice bran oil in the diet, LDL cholesterol decreased by 7%.
- Lecithin capsules 6-10 daily dependent on strength, to assist cholesterol elimination. Or you could add a tablespoon of lecithin granules to your healthy mummy smoothie (lecithin is derived from soy).
- Sandra Cabot liver shots- 2 x twice daily
- Healthy mummy fish oils– 6 daily
Please note: Different factors contribute to high cholesterol in healthy people. It is recommended to see a health professional such as a Nutritionist or Naturopath to get individual specialist advice pertaining to your needs.
Written by Elisha Danine, Nutritionist