Cholesterol busting summer foods

Keeping an eye on our cholesterol is still something we should be doing even in the midst of a pandemic.

It’s all too easy to lose sight of how much fatty meat we are eating during the light summer evenings and seemingly endless barbeques. So unless we are careful, sausages and burgers, along with creamy salad dressings and calorie-laden puddings could send our blood cholesterol soaring.

The good news is it with just a few tweaks, we can sail through summer eating seasonal foods that are delicious and healthy too. Nutritionist Dr Sarah Schenker shares her tips here.

High cholesterol facts

High cholesterol currently affects 7 out of 10 people in the UK and is one of the known risk factors for developing heart disease and a risk factor for strokes.

In order to keep our cholesterol under the government recommended levels (a total blood cholesterol level of less than 5mmol/L and lower than 3mmol/L for ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol) then experts recommend eating less saturated fat and more fruit and vegetables.

Saturated fat is found in fatty meats like sausages and mince and processed foods like cakes and biscuits.

However, it’s not all as bad as it seems. “There are delicious seasonal foods which can lower rather than increase your blood cholesterol,” explains Dr Schenker, “some of which also have other health benefits for your heart.”

Summer fruits which can help lower cholesterol

Apricots can help protect the heart as well as providing the cholesterol-lowering effects of fibre. Their high beta-carotene content makes them important heart health foods. Beta-carotene helps protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation, which may help prevent furring up of the arteries.

Raspberries are an excellent source of cholesterol-lowering fibre and the antioxidant nutrients manganese and vitamin C. They also contain vitamin B2, folate, niacin, magnesium, potassium and copper. In addition, they contain significant amounts of the anti-cancer phytochemical ellagic acid.

Avocados have a high content of mono-unsaturated fatty acids; they are also a good source of the antioxidant vitamins E and C, which can prevent the furring up of arteries, as well as potassium, which helps to control blood pressure, both of which are crucial to maintaining a healthy heart. Avocados make a great snack between meals as they do not interfere with blood sugar levels – but weight watchers beware, avocados are high in calories at 400 kcal each.

Summer vegetables which can help lower cholesterol

Asparagus contain compounds called saponins, which have repeatedly been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.  Their intake has also been associated with improved blood pressure, improved blood sugar regulation and better control of blood cholesterol levels.

Fennel is a herb with an aniseed taste and is great for flavouring fish. An excellent source of vitamin C, it is also a very good source of dietary fibre, which can help to reduce elevated cholesterol levels, as well as other nutrients needed for heart health including potassium, manganese and folate. In addition, fennel is a good source of niacin, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron and copper.

Healthy oil

Olive oil – although available all year round, new olive oil is produced in the summer. Olive oil has a high content of mono-unsaturated fatty acids which are known to lower ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol levels without lowering ‘good’ HDL cholesterol.

Alternatives to meat

Try and limit the amount of fatty red meat you eat and think about replacing it with oily fish or pulses.

You could try:

Mackerel – in season from June through to October is the perfect cholesterol busting fish. Mackerel is the richest source of the long-chain omega-3 fats that are so important for good heart health. Studies have shown that these fats can lower LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol in the blood as well as help to make the blood thinner and less prone to clotting.

Lentils – in particular, fresh sprouting lentils appear in the shops in summer and are a great source of cholesterol-lowering fibre. Not only do lentils help lower cholesterol, they are of special benefit in managing blood-sugar disorders since their high fibre content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. Lentils provide good-to-excellent amounts of important minerals, B-vitamins and protein – all with virtually no fat. This makes them low in calories too, just 230 kcals for a whole cup of cooked lentils.

Read more here on ways to eat less meat.

All content on is provided for general information only, and should not be treated at all as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Silversurfers will not be responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content on and we are also not liable for the content of any external websites or links from or to Silversurfers to any other websites. Please always consult your own doctor if you’re in any way concerned about any aspect of your health.

Have you got a health question?

We've teamed up with AXA PPP healthcare to bring you articles, information and tips from their clinical teams on a wide range of health topics. And if you have a question of your own, their, "Ask the Expert" service allows you to ask the team of friendly, experienced nurses, pharmacists and midwives about any health topic and they'll get back to you with an answer as soon as they’re able.* So if you have something that’s been bothering you, whether it concerns you or someone close to you, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Click below to submit your query online.


* Nurses are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Midwives and pharmacists are available Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm; Saturday, 8am to 4pm; and Sunday, 8am to 12pm.
Actual response time will depend on the nature of your enquiry and availability of appropriately qualified experts but the team will always aim to get back to you within 24 hours.
Please note that our Expert Help services are there to offer health information and support. They do not diagnose or prescribe, and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice given in the context of an individual consultation.


The following two tabs change content below.

AXA PPP healthcare

The more you know about your body and how you can look after it, the healthier you are – and the stronger and bolder you become. That’s why we never stop looking for ways to support your health. We want to give you the tools and knowledge you need to take care of yourself – so you’re ready to face whatever the world brings.

Latest posts by AXA PPP healthcare (see all)

Leave a Comment!

Not a member?

You need to be a member to interact with Silversurfers. Joining is free and simple to do. Click the button below to join today!

Click here if you have forgotten your password

Community Terms & Conditions

Content standards

These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.

You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.

Contributions must:

be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.

Contributions must not:

contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.

Nurturing a safe environment

Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.

We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!