7 Day Cholesterol-Lowering Diet Plan (PDF & Menu)

It might be tempting to lower cholesterol with just pills.

Drugs like statins can certainly help. But following a healthy cholesterol-lowering diet like the Mediterranean diet is easily one of the most effective things you can do.

A recent study found switching to a Mediterranean style diet helped prevent about 30% of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from heart disease in people at high risk.

If you’re unsure about exactly how to start following a cholesterol-lowering plan, this plan will walk you through everything you need to know and a sample 7 day plan to follow.

View 7 Day Cholesterol-Lowering Diet Plan

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What Foods Should You Eat to Lower Cholesterol?

Wholegrains

Whole grains are linked with a lower heart disease risk. Daily servings of whole grains have been associated with a 20% lower risk of heart disease and stroke. (1).

Barley in particular is rich in beta-glucan, a type of soluble fibre that can help lower cholesterol (2).

Oats

Oats also contain beta-glucan. Studies have shown eating oats may lower total cholesterol by 5% and “bad” LDL cholesterol by 7% (3).

Legumes

These include beans, peas and lentils. Legumes contain a lot of fiber, minerals and protein.

Studies have found 100g of legumes daily is associated with a reducing “bad” LDL cholesterol by 6.6 mg/dl on average when compared to not eating legumes (4).

Nuts

Nuts very high in monounsaturated fats.

Walnuts are also rich in the plant variety of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat associated with heart health (5).

One study found eating 2–3 servings of nuts per day decreased “bad” LDL cholesterol by an average of 10.2 mg/dl (6).

Fruits and Vegetables

Eating fruits and vegetables is an easy way to lower LDL cholesterol levels.

One study showed that adults who consume a minimum of four servings of fruits and vegetables daily have approximately 6% lower LDL cholesterol levels than people who eat fewer than two servings per day (7).

Extra virgin olive oil

Olive oil is a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids, the kind that may help raise “good” HDL and lower “bad” LDL cholesterol.

One study gave older adults at risk of heart disease 60 ml  a day of extra virgin olive oil alongside a Mediterranean diet. This group had a 30% lower risk of stroke and heart attack, compared to people who followed a low-fat diet (9).

Fatty fish

Fatty fish include salmon, mackerel, tuna and herring. They are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3s can help “good” HDL cholesterol and lower inflammation, as well asp reduce your triglyceride levels.

In one large, 25-year study in adults, those who ate the most non-fried fish were the least likely to develop high blood pressure and low “good” HDL levels (10).

Soy foods

Soy is also a good source of protein, fiber, and omega-3. It’s also naturally cholesterol-free and low in saturated fat.

Studies linked soy foods to reduced “bad” LDL and total cholesterol, as well as increased “good” HDL cholesterol (11). However, the effect may be minimal –  only reducing cholesterol levels by about 3%.

High Cholesterol Foods – Do I Need to Worry?

Some foods contain cholesterol, called dietary cholesterol.

However, dietary cholesterol doesn’t make a big difference to the cholesterol in your blood. This is because we eat a small amount of cholesterol per day when compared to saturated fat.

Therefore, it’s much more important to cut down on foods which contain saturated fats.

However, there are some exceptions. For some people – those with familial hypercholesterolaemia, those who have high cholesterol, and those who are at high risk of or have cardiovascular disease – the recommendation is to limit cholesterol in food to no more than 300mg a day.

Foods to Avoid to Lower Cholesterol

  • High fat dairy foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt and cream
  • Animal fats, such as butter and margarines
  • Fatty meat and processed meats (sausages, bacon and red meats like beef)
  • Desserts (cakes, cookies, sweets)

Is the Mediterranean Diet the Best Cholesterol Lowering Diet?

The Mediterranean diet was actually ranked the number 1 diet according to the U.S. News & World Report.

In particular, it comes out on top when it comes to it’s healthiness and ease to follow. This makes it a perfect diet to follow if you want to lower your cholesterol long-term and find a sustainable way of eating.

Many studies have found that the Mediterranean diet can help reduction of LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol as well as triglycerides. (12, 13, 14).

A few key factors make the Mediterranean diet suitable for reducing cholesterol:

  • The diet is not low fat, but far less fat comes from saturated sources. These include foods like butter, red meats and full fat dairy. Eating too much saturated fat can lead to higher cholesterol levels.
  • It’s rich in unsaturated fats. When saturated fats are replaced with unsaturated fat, total and LDL (the ‘bad’ cholesterol) is reduced. These include olive oil and nuts.
  • It’s high in omega 3 fatty acids because of the seafood. Omega-3s can help reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and increase “good” HDL cholesterol. Good sources of omega 3 fats include oily fish such as salmon and tuna.
  • It’s rich in soluble fiber because of the high consumption of whole grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes. Research shows that consuming more fiber — especially soluble fiber found in fruits, beans and oats — can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels (4).

Losing Weight on a Mediterranean Diet Plan to Lower Cholesterol

Dropping excess body weight is one of the best ways to lower cholesterol levels. It can reduce LDL while increasing HDL, which is optimal for health (15)

Losing just 10% of your body weight will help lower your cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as improve many other health indicators your blood pressure and risk of diabetes.

Cholesterol-Lowering Diet Meal Plan

Cholesterol-Lowering Diet Sample Menu

In the meal plan are recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

 BreakfastLunchDinner
MondayBanana Yogurt PotsCannellini Bean SaladQuick Moussaka
TuesdayTomato and Watermelon SaladEdgy Veggie WrapsSpicy Tomato Baked Eggs
WednesdayBlueberry Oats BowlCarrot, Orange and Avocado SaladSalmon with Potatoes and Corn Salad
ThursdayBanana Yogurt PotsMixed Bean SaladSpiced Carrot and Lentil Soup
FridayTomato and Watermelon SaladPanzanella SaladMed Chicken, Quinoa and Greek Salad
SaturdayBlueberry Oats BowlQuinoa and Stir Fried VegGrilled Vegetables with Bean Mash
SundayBanana Yogurt PotsMoroccan Chickpea SoupSpicy Mediterranean Beet Salad

Snacks are recommended between meal times. Some good snacks include:

  • A handful of nuts or seeds
  • A piece of fruit
  • Carrots or baby carrots
  • Berries or grapes

View 7 Day Cholesterol-Lowering Diet Plan

Day 1: Monday

Breakfast: Banana Yogurt Pots

Nutrition

  • Calories – 236
  • Protein – 14g
  • Carbs – 32g
  • Fat – 7g

Prep time: 5 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 225g /⅞ cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 bananas, sliced into chunks
  • 15g / 2 tbsp walnuts, toasted and chopped

Instructions

  1. Place some of the yogurt into the bottom of a glass. Add a layer of banana, then yogurt and repeat. Once the glass is full, scatter with the nuts.

Lunch: Cannellini Bean Salad

Nutrition

  • Calories – 302
  • Protein – 20g
  • Carbs – 54g
  • Fat – 0g

Prep time: 5 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 600g / 3 cups cannellini beans
  • 70g / ⅜ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ tbsp red wine vinegar
  • small bunch basil, torn

Instructions

  1. Rinse and drain the beans and mix with the tomatoes, onion and vinegar. Season, then add basil just before serving.

Dinner: Moussaka

Nutrition

  • Calories – 577
  • Protein – 27g
  • Carbs – 46g
  • Fat – 27g

Prep time + cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 250g / 9 oz lean beef mince
  • 200g can / 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 200g can / 1 cup chickpeas
  • 100g pack / ⅔ cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • Mint (fresh preferable)
  • Brown bread, to serve

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the onion and garlic and fry until soft. Add the mince and fry for 3-4 minutes until browned.
  2. Tip the tomatoes into the pan and stir in the tomato purée and cinnamon, then season. Leave the mince to simmer for 20 minutes. Add the chickpeas halfway through.
  3.  Sprinkle the feta and mint over the mince. Serve with toasted bread.

View 7 Day Cholesterol-Lowering Diet Plan

Day 2: Tuesday

Breakfast: Tomato and Watermelon Salad

Nutrition

  • Calories – 177
  • Protein – 5g
  • Carbs – 13g
  • Fat – 13g

Prep time + cook time: 5 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp chopped mint
  • 120g / ⅝ cup tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ watermelon, cut into chunks
  • 50g / ⅔ cup feta cheese, crumbled

Instructions

  1. For the dressing, Mix the oil, vinegar, chilli flakes and mint and then season.
  2. Put the tomatoes and watermelon into a bowl. Pour over the dressing, add the feta, then serve.

Lunch: Edgy Veggie Wraps

Nutrition

  • Calories – 310
  • Protein – 11g
  • Carbs – 39g
  • Fat – 11g

Prep time + cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 100g / ½ cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber
  • 6 Kalamata olives
  • 2 large wholemeal tortilla wraps
  • 50g / ¼ cup feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp hummus

Instructions

  1. Chop the tomatoes, cut the cucumber into sticks, split the olives and remove the stones.
  2. Heat the tortillas.
  3. Spread the houmous over the wrap. Put the vegetable mix in the middle and roll up.

Dinner: Spicy Tomato Baked Eggs

Nutrition

  • Calories – 417
  • Protein – 19g
  • Carbs – 45g
  • Fat – 17g

Prep time + cook time: 25 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded & chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • small bunch coriander, stalks and leaves chopped separately
  • 800g can / 4 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 4 eggs
  • brown bread, to serve

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan with a lid, then cook the onions, chilli, garlic and coriander stalks for 5 minutes until soft. Stir in the tomatoes, then simmer for 8-10 minutes.
  2. Using the back of a large spoon, make 4 dips in the sauce, then crack an egg into each one. Put a lid on the pan, then cook over a low heat for 6-8 mins, until the eggs are done to your liking. Scatter with the coriander leaves and serve with bread.

View 7 Day Cholesterol-Lowering Diet Plan

Day 3: Wednesday

Breakfast: Blueberry Oats Bowl

Nutrition

  • Calories – 235
  • Protein – 13g
  • Carbs – 38g
  • Fat – 4g

Prep time + cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 60g / ⅔ cup porridge oats
  • 160g / ⅗ cup Greek yogurt
  • 175g / ¾ blueberries
  • 1 tsp honey

Instructions

  1. Put the oats in a pan with 400ml of water. Heat and stir for about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add a third of the yogurt.
  2. Tip the blueberries into a pan with the honey and 1 tbsp of water. Gently poach until the blueberries are tender.
  3. Spoon the porridge into bowls and add the remaining yogurt and blueberries.

Lunch: Carrot, Orange and Avocado Salad

Nutrition

  • Calories – 177
  • Protein – 5g
  • Carbs – 13g
  • Fat – 13g

Prep time + cook time: 5 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 1 orange, plus zest and juice of 1
  • 2 carrots, halved lengthways and sliced with a peeler
  • 35g / 1 ½ cups rocket / arugula
  • 1 avocado, stoned, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

  1. Cut the segments from 1 of the oranges and put in a bowl with the carrots, rocket/arugula and avocado. Whisk together the orange juice, zest and oil. Toss through the salad, and season.

Dinner: Salmon with Potatoes and Corn Salad

Nutrition

  • Calories – 479
  • Protein – 43g
  • Carbs – 27g
  • Fat – 21g

Prep time + cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 200g / 1 ⅓ cups baby new potatoes
  • 1 sweetcorn cob
  • 2 skinless salmon fillets
  • 60g / ⅓ cup tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Bunch of spring onions/scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp capers, finely chopped
  • handful basil leaves

Instructions

  1. Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender, adding corn for final 5 minutes. Drain & cool.
  2. For the dressing, mix the vinegar, oil, shallot, capers, basil & seasoning.
  3. Heat grill to high. Rub some dressing on salmon & cook, skinned side down, for 7-8 minutes. Slice tomatoes & place on a plate. Slice the potatoes, cut the corn from the cob & add to plate. Add the salmon & drizzle over the remaining dressing.

View 7 Day Cholesterol-Lowering Diet Plan

Day 4: Thursday

Breakfast: Banana Yogurt Pots

Lunch: Mixed Bean Salad

Nutrition

  • Calories – 240
  • Protein – 11g
  • Carbs – 22g
  • Fat – 12g

Prep time + cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 145g / ⅘ cup jar artichoke heart in oil
  • ½ tbsp sundried tomato paste
  • ½ tsp red wine vinegar
  • 200g can / 1 cup cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 150g / ¾ cup tomatoes, quartered
  • handful Kalamata black olives
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 100g / ⅔ cup feta cheese, crumbled

Instructions

  1. Drain the jar of artichokes, reserving 1-2 tbsp of oil. Add the oil, sun-dried tomato paste and vinegar and stir until smooth. Season to taste.
  2. Chop the artichokes and tip into a bowl. Add the cannellini beans, tomatoes, olives, spring onions and half of the feta cheese. Stir in the artichoke oil mixture and tip into a serving bowl. Crumble over the remaining feta cheese, then serve.

Dinner: Spiced Carrot and Lentil Soup

Nutrition

  • Calories – 238
  • Protein – 11g
  • Carbs – 34g
  • Fat – 7g

Prep time + cook time: 25 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • pinch chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 300g /2 cups carrots, washed and coarsely grated
  • 70g / ⅓ cup split red lentils
  • 500ml / 2 ¼ cups hot vegetable stock
  • 60ml / ¼ cup milk
  • Greek yogurt, to serve

Instructions

  1. Heat a large saucepan and dry fry the cumin seeds and chilli flakes for 1 minute. Scoop out about half of the seeds with a spoon and set aside. Add the oil, carrot, lentils, stock and milk to the pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes until the lentils have swollen and softened.
  2. Whizz the soup with a stick blender or in a food processor until smooth. Season to taste and finish with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a sprinkling of the reserved toasted spices.

View 7 Day Cholesterol-Lowering Diet Plan

Day 5: Friday

Breakfast: Tomato and Watermelon Salad

Lunch: Panzanella Salad

Nutrition

  • Calories – 452
  • Protein – 6g
  • Carbs – 37g
  • Fat – 25g

Prep time + cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 400g / 2 cups tomatoes
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1 ripe avocado, stoned, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 2 slices of brown bread
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • small handful basil leaves

Instructions

  1. Chop the tomatoes and put them in a bowl. Season well and add the garlic, capers, avocado and onion. Mix well and set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, tear the bread into chunks and place in a bowl. Drizzle over half of the olive oil and half of the vinegar. When ready to serve, scatter tomatoes and basil leaves and drizzle with remaining oil and vinegar. Stir before serving.

Dinner: Med Chicken, Quinoa and Greek Salad

Nutrition

  • Calories – 473
  • Protein – 36g
  • Carbs – 57g
  • Fat – 25g

Prep time + cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 100g / ⅗ cup quinoa
  • ½ red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 150g / ¾ cup tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • handful pitted black kalamata olives
  • ½ red onion, finely sliced
  • 50g / ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • small bunch mint leaves, chopped
  • juice and zest ½ lemon

Instructions

  1. Cook the quinoa following the pack instructions, then rinse in cold water and drain thoroughly.
  2. Meanwhile, toss the chicken fillets in the olive oil with some seasoning, chilli and garlic. Lay in a hot pan and cook for 3-4 minutes each side or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate and set aside
  3. Next, tip the tomatoes, olives, onion, feta and mint into a bowl. Toss in the cooked quinoa. Stir through the remaining olive oil, lemon juice and zest, and season well. Serve with the chicken on top.

View 7 Day Cholesterol-Lowering Diet Plan

Day 6: Saturday

Breakfast: Blueberry Oats Bowl

Lunch: Quinoa and Stir Fried Veg

Nutrition

  • Calories – 473
  • Protein – 11g
  • Carbs – 56g
  • Fat – 25g

Prep time + cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 100g / ⅗ cup quinoa
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, cut into thin sticks
  • 150g / 1 ⅔ leek, sliced
  • 1 broccoli head, cut into small florets
  • 50g / ¼ cup tomatoes
  • 100ml / ¼ cup vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp tomato purée
  • juice ½ lemon

Instructions

  1. Cook the quinoa according to pack instructions. Meanwhile, heat 3 tbsp of the oil in a pan, then add the garlic and quickly fry for 1 minute. Throw in the carrots, leeks and broccoli, then stir-fry for 2 minutes until everything is glistening.
  2. Add the tomatoes, mix together the stock and tomato purée, then add to the pan. Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Drain the quinoa and toss in the remaining oil and lemon juice. Divide between warm plates and spoon the vegetables on top.

Dinner: Grilled Vegetables with Bean Mash

Nutrition

  • Calories – 314
  • Protein – 19g
  • Carbs – 33g
  • Fat – 16g

Prep time + cook time: 40 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 1 pepper, deseeded & quartered
  • 1 aubergine, sliced lengthways
  • 2 courgettes, sliced lengthways
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • For the mash
  • 400g / 2 cups haricot beans, rinsed
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 100ml / ½ cup vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander

Instructions

  1. Heat the grill. Arrange the vegetables over a grill pan &brush lightly with oil. Grill until lightly browned, turn them over, brush again with oil, then grill until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, put the beans in a pan with garlic and stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Mash roughly with a potato masher. Divide the vegetables and mash between 2 plates, drizzle over oil and sprinkle with black pepper and coriander.

View 7 Day Cholesterol-Lowering Diet Plan

Day 7: Sunday

Breakfast: Banana Yogurt Pots

Lunch: Moroccan Chickpea Soup

Nutrition

  • Calories – 408
  • Protein – 15g
  • Carbs – 63g
  • Fat – 11g

Prep time + cook time: 25 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • 1 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 300ml / 1 ¼ cups hot vegetable stock
  • 200g can / 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 200g can / 1 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 50g / ¼ cup frozen broad beans
  • zest and juice ½ lemon
  • coriander & bread to serve

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan, then fry the onion and celery for 10 minutes until softened. Add the cumin and fry for another minute.
  2. Turn up the heat, then add the stock, tomatoes, chickpeas and black pepper. Simmer for 8 minutes. Add broad beans and lemon juice and cook for a further 2 minutes. Top with lemon zest and coriander.

Dinner: Spicy Mediterranean Beet Salad

Nutrition

  • Calories – 548
  • Protein – 23g
  • Carbs – 58g
  • Fat – 20g

Prep time + cook time: 40 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 8 raw baby beetroots, or 4 medium, scrubbed
  • ½ tbsp sumac
  • ½ tbsp ground cumin
  • 400g can / 2 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp lemon zest
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • 200g / ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp harissa paste
  • 1 tsp crushed red chilli flakes
  • mint leaves, chopped, to serve

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/ gas 7. Halve or quarter beetroots depending on size. Mix spices together. On a large baking tray, mix chickpeas and beetroot with the oil. Season with salt & sprinkle over the spices. Mix again. Roast for 30 minutes.
  2. While the vegetables are cooking, mix the lemon zest and juice with the yogurt. Swirl the harissa through and spread into a bowl. Top with the beetroot & chickpeas, and sprinkle with the chilli flakes & mint.

View 7 Day Cholesterol-Lowering Diet Plan

Cholesterol-Lowering Diet Shopping List

This shopping list corresponds to the 7 day plan, serving 2 people. No snacks are included.

View 7 Day Cholesterol-Lowering Diet Plan

Life after the meal plan

Find more recipes on our site

Your journey doesn’t end after 7 days of healthy cholesterol-lowering Mediterranean recipes. It’s about finding recipes that can become staples in your household and creating eating habits that actually last.

We’ve got plenty of recipes online already. Just use the search function on our home page if you’re looking for a specific ingredient or check out our recipe page.

Disclosure

We would like to take a moment to note that this post is for information purposes only. It does not claim to provide medical advice or to be able to treat any medical condition. If you have any concerns regarding your health please contact your medical practitioner before making changes.

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