Cholesterol is primarily produced by the liver and is essential for your body to function; however, high cholesterol levels can lead to serious health conditions like heart disease. Half of people in Ireland have more than the recommended level of blood cholesterol, which is less than 5 millimoles per litre of blood (mmol/L).

Fortunately, lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking and improving your diet can have a significant impact on your blood cholesterol levels. If you haven’t had your blood cholesterol levels taken recently, you can order a home kit online from

Below are our suggestions for meal time with heart-healthy and cholesterol-lowering food choices:

Breakfast: Porridge.

Porridge is a soluble fibre. These foods may help lower the risk of heart disease. According to scientists at the APC Microbiome Institute in Cork, porridge also facilitates the growth of beneficial gut microbes

Add some fruit to your porridge for added benefit: the potassium that fruit contains helps regulate blood pressure, while antioxidant vitamins help prevent plaque from building up on the inside of arteries.

Lunch: Lentils.

Lentils also contain soluble fibre and, as they are high in protein, are a low-fat substitute for meat – which in some cases is associated with higher cholesterol levels (especially processed meat like salami, or red meat).

Try eating Dal – a South Asian dish with lentils and spices. Just make sure to watch the salt levels!

Alternatively, beans are also high in protein and are associated with lowering cholesterol levels.

Afternoon Tea

Black tea has been found by scientists to help reduce LDL cholesterol levels, making that afternoon tea extra satisfying.

Pair with unsalted walnuts instead of a chocolate biscuit, and you’re sorted.

Dinner: Salmon

Fish oils in salmon and other fish (tuna, trout, sardines, herring, mackerel) are known to improve heart-health.

Specifically, these fish oils lower triglycerides in the blood – another type of blood fat that stores unused calories and provides your body with energy. Like cholesterol, high levels of triglycerides are correlated with an increased risk of heart disease.

Eating this type of fish even a couple of times a week can have a positive impact on your health.

Instead of salt: As high salt intake can result in high blood pressure, try to replace it with other seasonings and flavours.

  • Pepper
  • Herbs
  • Lemon or Lime
  • Garlic

Night Cap:

One glass of red wine in the evening may help reduce cholesterol levels. This is especially true in men over 40 and women who have gone through menopause.

If you are concerned about your cholesterol levels or would like to get tested to begin keeping track, order a home test kit at today. It is easy to use, and results will be given to you by an Irish-registered GP.