7 Steps To Lowering Your Cholesterol Through Dietary Changes

By:Andy De Santis RD MPH
Did you know that elevated blood levels of LDL (also known as “bad”) cholesterol is one of the most common reasons for being prescribed medication in Canada?
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Did you know that elevated blood levels of LDL (also known as “bad”) cholesterol is one of the most common reasons for being prescribed medication in Canada?

Due in part to unhealthy eating, high cholesterol levels are relative common in Canada.  This usually ends up in the need for medication because when your LDL cholesterol is too high, it increases your risk of heart disease.


Heart disease is one of the most preventable causes of death in Canada, which is why those with high cholesterol are often prescribed statin medication to help keep it under control.


What you may not know, however, is that dietary changes can work together with your medication and lower your cholesterol by just as much as the meds do.


If you have borderline high cholesterol, you may even be able to prevent the need for medication if you make dietary changes soon enough.


If you are already on cholesterol medication, dietary changes will work together with your medication to lower your cholesterol even more and may even help get you off the medication all together, or at least to a lower dose ( that decision will be up to your doctor).


So, what are the dietary changes you need to make to lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol and  reduce your risk of heart disease?


  1. Here are 7 things you can start doing today to get you started:
  • Have 1-2 handfuls of your favourite raw unsalted tree nuts, such as almonds, most days of the week. If you don’t like nuts, have a small avocado instead.
  • Most days of the week, Have ¾ cup of cooked legumes ( lentils, chickpeas, beans) as your protein source at lunch/dinner  instead of traditional meat items.
  • Most days of the week, swap out your traditional scrambled eggs for a tofu scramble. I promise you it tastes just as good if not better.
  • Spread 2 tbsps of Plant Sterol Margarine on your potatoes or toast, or whenever you might otherwise have used butter, cream cheese or another dairy-based spread. This is a special variety of margarine that contains compounds known to help lower your cholesterol.
  • Most days of the week, have unsweetened soymilk instead of cow’s milk in your coffee, cereal, recipes or whenever else you might have had milk.
  • Most days of the week, incorporate Steel Cut Oatmeal and/or All Bran Buds cereal into your breakfast.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables than currently do! Especially varieties that are high in soluble fibre. These include apples, peaches, oranges, pears, bananas, broccoli and Brussel sprouts.

You don’t need to do every single thing on this list to see results, but the closer you follow this guidance the lower your cholesterol will go and the better chance you will have to prevent the need, or get off of, cholesterol lowering medication.


As long as you give this an honest effort, you will most certainly end up as a healthier version of you with a lower risk of heart disease to boot!

This article, and the products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please see your health care provider before taking any supplements or starting a new program.

Andy is a private practice dietitian and nutrition writer from Toronto, Canada. He specializes in healthy eating, weight management and chronic disease risk reduction and also holds a master’s degree in public health nutrition.

You can learn more about Andy , his services and his blog at AndyTheRD.com

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