What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of fat found in every cell of your body (1). It’s made by your liver and you need cholesterol for your brain, skin and other organs to do their job. But you get a bad cholesterol called LDL cholesterol and this one is usually the one where doctors tell you that you need to change your lifestyle and prescribe medication to lower it.
LDL Cholesterol is the bad cholesterol which builds up in your arteries which forms plague and cause coronary artery disease. When you have coronary artery disease, it narrows your arteries, slows or block the blood flow and can lead to a heart attack (2). According to US National Library of MedicineNational Institutes of Health, fiber can lower LDL cholesterol (3), when you increase your soluble fiber intake. The soluble fiber “perhaps by binding with cholesterol particles in your digestive system and moving them out of the body before they’re absorbed,” according to WebMD (4).
Causes of LDL (high) cholesterol
- high intake of foods containing saturated fats and trans-fats –such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, butter, coconut oil, palm oil and most deep-fried takeaway foods and commercially baked products, such as pies, biscuits, buns and pastries. Foods high in trans-fats include most commercially baked products and deep-fried takeaway foods
- low intake of foods containing fibre;
- cholesterol in food (dietary cholesterol);
- genetics. (6)
What is soluble fiber?
Examples of soluble fiber is oat bran (which is not oatmeal), barley, nuts, seeds, beans, peas and some fruits/veggies (5). Oat bran have 50% more soluble fiber than oatmeal and we can find it online or in South African stores.
My ways in sneaking in soluble fiber into my diet:
I make my own hummus at home. I buy the chick peas along with lentils uncooked, soak them for a few hours, cook them in salted water and cool them off. The cooked chickpeas and lentils is scooped into the blender with Tahini, blended until smooth and served with pasta, provitas or on toast.
With my morning oats, I add Digestive Bran for more fiber content and ensure that I drink enough water to push it through my body. Nuts is too expensive, so it’s found in our home when it’s on special but other things that we do choose is beans and peas. Buy the dried split pea variety and cook that with white kidney beans in salted water. Spice them up with your favorite spices and fill your wrap with this along with tomato, some mayo and black pepper.
(1) – Mary L. Gavin, MD, Kidshealth, Sept 2018
(2) – US National Library of Medicine: https://medlineplus.gov/ldlthebadcholesterol.html
(4) – John Donovan; WebMD. Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on July 22, 2015
(5) – https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002136.htm
(6) – https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/cholesterol-healthy-eating-tips