FODMAP Friendly Foods for Managing Cholesterol

FODMAP Friendly Foods for Managing Cholesterol

Published on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 by Caitlin Riley

High Cholesterol is Risky- Take Dietary Control Without GI Discomfort.

When someone mentions high cholesterol, the term “high-fiber diet” is usually quick to follow. 

If you live with IBS or follow a Low FODMAP diet, the term “high fiber” might induce some panic. But, if you have high cholesterol, what can you do but follow a high-fiber diet?

Before we get there, let’s review what exactly cholesterol is and why it is necessary for our bodies to function correctly. Cholesterol is a waxy substance made by the liver that we need in order to produce hormones and digest fatty foods.

LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is the “bad” one, and HDL (high-density lipoprotein) is good. 

When too much LDL cholesterol builds up in the arteries, it can eventually cause chest pain and/or heart attack. Increasing your HDL cholesterol can help to lower the risk of heart disease

High cholesterol is very common. Slightly more than half the adults in the United States are taking cholesterol-lowering medications, and elevated levels of LDL in children are rising. High cholesterol usually doesn’t have any symptoms, so knowing your risks is an important tool for prevention. 

Our bodies make cholesterol, so getting it from the diet is unnecessary, but we do! 

We used to think that consuming dietary cholesterol (found in foods like eggs and shrimp) would raise our blood cholesterol, but we now know better.  

Foods high in saturated fats (think processed meats, fried foods, baked goods, and sweets that contain hydrogenated oil) are a culprit for raising cholesterol. So, what can we do?

Much of the advice on lowering cholesterol focuses on the foods to avoid. But, there is plenty of research to support adding certain foods to help reduce LDL levels.

Adding foods to your diet is usually more appealing than taking more away, so here is a list of FODMAP-friendly foods you could try:

  • Oats (1/2 cup) 
  • Avocado (1/4 at a time)
  • Walnuts or pecans
  • Tofu (2/3 cup)
  • Flax seed (2-3 tsp)
  • Olive oil (1 Tbsp)
  • Salmon 

Some additional advice on managing your cholesterol:

  • Eat whole grains in moderation
  • Avoid refined carbs and hydrogenated oil
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Add 1-2 servings of tolerated fruits and vegetables daily 
  • Seek additional guidance from a registered dietitian to help you create a personalized plan specific to your dietary needs and preferences