10 tips to lower your cholesterol

Adopting a heart healthy lifestyle is not as difficult as you might think. You can easily lower your cholesterol by making small changes to your diet. Here’s how…

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During pregnancy your cholesterol levels will rise naturally and stay high throughout your entire pregnancy. This is normal and nothing to worry about. Your body is producing more cholesterol due to the hormonal changes taking place in your body.
Your cholesterol levels should return to normal after the birth of your baby. If, however, your cholesterol levels are still high four weeks after the birth of your baby, it may be time to work on lowering them. Take heart, this can be done naturally by making small lifestyle changes.

According to the Heart & Stroke Foundation South Africa, every hour, five South Africans have heart attacks, 10 have strokes and 10 people die from heart disease and stroke. 80% of these deaths in people under the age of 60 can be prevented if they quit smoking, adopt a healthy balanced diet and exercise regularly.

Try these 10 tips from Flora for a cholesterol lowering diet:

  1. Know your fats – avoid or at least limit saturated fats such as those found in butter, full fat dairy and fatty meat because they can increase your level of bad cholesterol. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are healthier and can be found in foods such as nuts, seeds, avocado, soft spreads and oily fish.
  2. Choose low fat dairy foods – fat free or low fat milk, low fat yoghurt and reduced fat cheese. Use low fat yoghurt instead of cream when cooking or making desserts
  3. Opt for fish and poultry over fatty meat products – which can be high in unhealthy fats. Try substituting some meat with beans and lentils.
  4. Include oily fish – such as pilchards, salmon, trout or herring, that’s high in heart healthy Omegas, once or twice a week.
  5. Get plenty or fibre in your diet – swap white bread and pasta for brown and wholegrain varieties. Oats, vegetables, fruit and pulses such as beans and lentils are also great sources of fibre.
  6. Get your five-a-day – eat a mix of fruit and vegetables to get the vitamins, minerals and fibres you need. The more colourful your meals are, the more likely you are to get the nutrients you need.
  7. Include plant sterols – these are found at low levels in everyday foods like fruits, vegetables and cereals. But to get a significant cholesterol lowering effect, you need to eat foods enriched with plant sterols like Flora pro.activ.
  8. Use seed or nut oils instead of butter – oils from seeds and nuts are rich in ‘healthy’ fats. Switch from butter to a good quality margarine, such as Flora pro.activ, which is made from these fats.
  9. Snack on nuts and seeds instead of cakes and biscuits – Why not make up your own mix of seeds, nuts and dried fruit for healthy snacking at your fingertips? We love this easy recipe.
  10. Limit your salt intake to 5 grams per day – experiment with herbs and spices instead and avoid salty snacks like crisps, which are also usually high in bad fats which can raise your cholesterol.

Making healthy choices doesn’t mean you can’t have dessert anymore. Cooking extraordinaire, Vickie De Beer recently showed the residents of Villiersdorp during the 21 Day Cholesterol Challenge just how easy and tasty it can be to follow a healthy lifestyle. Give this delicious recipe a try!

Peach crumbles with frozen yoghurt

*Serves 8

Ingredients for the crumble:

  • 45 ml (3 tbsp) Flora pro.activ
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) castor sugar
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) flaked almonds
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) coconut shavings
  • 8 ripe peaches, halved and stones removed
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) Flora pro.activ

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Mix all the ingredients for the crumble together in a mixing bowl.
  3. Place the halved peaches on a baking tray, sliced side up.
  4. Top each peach with as much as possible of the crumble mix. Dot each peach with a little more of the Flora pro.activ. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the crumble is golden and the peaches are soft.

Frozen yoghurt*Serves 8

Make this ice cream the day before you plan on serving your dessert.

Ingredients

  • 500 ml (2 cups) ricotta
  • ¾ cup (165 g) caster sugar
  • 250 ml (1 cup) low fat yoghurt
  • grated zest of 1 lemon

Method

  1. Line a 14cm x 21cm loaf tin with baking paper.
  2. Beat the ricotta and sugar with an electric beater until smooth. Fold the yoghurt and the zest into the ricotta mixture and ladle into the loaf tin. Freeze overnight until set.
  3. Serve scoop full’s of the frozen yoghurt on top of the peaches.
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