Foods and supplements you can take to counter high cholesterol

tuna and salmon sashimi

Do you know that cholesterol is not that bad a substance on its own? It is necessary for the formation of cell membranes, selected hormones, and vitamin D. But as with most things, we all know that too much is never too good.

Are you curious about how high cholesterol happens? Well, we will attempt to explain as simply as we can.

To help move cholesterol within your body, your liver produces lipoproteins. There are two critical names of lipoproteins you need to know:

– Low-density lipoprotein (LDL)

– High-density lipoprotein (HDL)

LDL is the culprit here. When there is too much of it, high cholesterol occurs. We all have an idea what cholesterol can do to our health. If you’re not aware, stroke and heart attack are the common illnesses that may strike.

Those currently on medication may be looking for natural foods and supplements to take alongside your pills. As we’re no medical professionals, please consult your doctor before embarking on any food intakes we’re about to introduce to you.

Oh yes, while garlic may decrease total cholesterol levels, some people just aren’t fans of the smell and aftertaste. As such, we will not expand on it in this article. You can read more about it here.

#1: Astragalus

Image Credits: Healthline

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), astragalus has been used for a long time in traditional Chinese medicine. Consuming it can provide significant benefits to the immune system.

Ask your parents what 黄芪 (huang qi) is, and they might be able to share with you their extensive knowledge of the heart-friendly herb.

We found a shop in Shopee selling Organic Astragalus Root (有机黄芪斜片) at S$10.80! Click through the link if you’re keen to buy a bag or two for tea-making or add to a nutritious pot of double-boiled soup.

Or you can check out a range of Astragalus products on iHerb instead. For those who don’t fancy tablets, there are extract forms available too.

#2: Hawthorn
Hawthorn berries

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Hawthorn berries are loaded with antioxidants and may decrease blood fat levels like cholesterol. Studies have shown that doses of hawthorn extract fed to mice lowered their LDL and total cholesterol.

There are also other researches suggesting benefits of improved heart function. In turn, some patients require lesser medications to manage their heart conditions. Hawthorn berry may also reduce the risk of sudden heart-related deaths.

Superior Hawthorn Fruit by Eu Yan Sang (S$10.90) is currently sold out online at the time of writing. You may check back at a later date or swing by the stores to get your bottle.

For folks who are more comfortable with capsules, you can consider getting the Hawthorn Extract Herbal Supplement by GNC HERBAL PLUS® (S$35.95) instead.

#3: Flaxseed
flaxseeds and flaxseed oil

Image Credits: Unlock Food

You should take in flaxseed or flaxseed oil because of its high levels of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) that may help lower cholesterol.

A 2019 review article reveals that flaxseed may positively affect people diagnosed with heart and blood vessel diseases. Other older studies like one in 2012 have shown that flaxseed dietary fibres can lower cholesterol and even increase faecal fat excretion.

Make a trip down to your favourite supermarket, and you may be able to find some organic flaxseeds off the shelves. Alternatively, you can also buy your Organic Golden Flaxseed by ORIGINS (S$6.55) from Cold Storage.

Guardian is currently running a 54% discount on its Nature’s Heart Milled Flax Seeds. Instead of its original price of S$10.90, you need to pay only S$5! Buy soon before the promotion ends.

#4: Red yeast rice
Red yeast rice

Image Credits: Healthline

Red yeast rice is also commonly known as 红曲米 (hong qu mi) to the Chinese. There are pieces of evidence to show that eating red yeast rice extract can help lower your cholesterol levels and the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

The naturally-occurring substance in red yeast rice extract known as lovastatin is the main thing to note. Lovastatin prevents the body from making cholesterol and is comparable to Mevacor, a cholesterol-lowering drug.

However, not all red yeast rice products are effective or safe to consume, so read up or do your research thoroughly before buying.

If you don’t have the time to Google, leave it to us.

We found a vegetarian-friendly Red Yeast Rice option by LAC ACTIVATED® (S$39.95) for you to consider. The product contains both monacolin K and lovastatin to tackle cholesterol. It is made using a top-quality grade of organic rice with advanced technology for its fermentation process.

Peeps who want to reap double benefits of red yeast rice and natto can check out the CholesFREE PLUS With Natto by Eu Yan Sang (S$39.90). The item is prepared using a technique called ZEROTOX® to reduce impurities and retain the active compounds needed to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

#5: Fish & Fish oil supplements
salmon steak

Image Credits: Eatwell101

Salmon, tuna, lake trout, herring, sardines, and other fatty fish are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts, canola oil, and soybeans are great alternatives too. If not, one can also turn to omega-3 supplements.

Healthline has shared with the public on 17 Science-Based Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Hop over to read if you’re keen to find out more on what omega-3 fatty acids can do to your body.

Meanwhile, a Harvard Medical School trial has also confirmed that a daily high-dose, 4-gram prescription of omega-3 medication can lead to a 25% reduction in the risk of dying from heart disease or suffering a cardiovascular event.

But it may not be suitable for everyone as they may come with risks or side effects. When in doubt, please seek a doctor’s opinion.

Please also note that the foods and substances mentioned in this article, including fish and fish oil supplements, cannot replace a statin. Based on the Cambridge Dictionary’s definition, a statin is “a drug that reduces the level of cholesterol”. But they may be consumed alongside medications to reduce bad cholesterol levels.

Take in more fruits and vegetables
fruits and vegetables

Image Credits: Times of India

Think it’s too much of a hassle to introduce astragalus, hawthorn, flaxseed, or red yeast rice to your current diet?

Then why not take in more fruits and vegetables during your daily meals? Fruits like oranges, apples, avocado, and vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts are natural foods that contain plant sterols and stanols.

Plant sterols and stanols can help lower your bad cholesterol so the next time you order cai fan (economy rice), skip that fried dish and opt for more greens.

Health is wealth so let’s make more deliberate decisions this year for health’s sake, shall we?


Here are 6 not-so-common grains that are low in carbohydrates

Ancient grains

We know too well what it feels like when planning your meals while on a strict diet. Folks who are searching for high fibre grains that contain a lower number of net carbohydrates will find this article useful.

As you’re probably aware that top grains that are low in carbohydrates include oats, quinoa, and barley, we will exclude them in this write-up. Instead, we will delve into six not-so-common grains that are low in carbohydrates to offer some alternatives.

#1: Bulgur

Image Credits: Cooking Light

Bulgur wheat is a regularly used ingredient in many traditional Middle Eastern recipes. The nutritious cereal grain is made from dried, cracked wheat and its texture when cooked is very similar to that of quinoa.

It is easy to prepare and a good source of manganese, iron, magnesium, and B vitamins. In 182 grams of cooked bulgur, there are only 25.5 grams of net carbohydrates, thus making it one of the lowest carbohydrates whole grains available.

#2: Millet
Millet lemon rice

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Millet is an ancient grain that is widely consumed in developing countries throughout Asia and Africa. Other than a source of food for humans, it’s also used as livestock and bird feed.

Thanks to its high levels of antioxidants and polyphenols, it may help prevent chronic illnesses like type 2 diabetes. Not forgetting to mention that it’s also a good source of vitamins and minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, and folate.

More importantly, 174 grams of cooked millet contain only 39 grams of net carbohydrates! If you want to load up on calcium, opt for finger millets because it has one of the highest calcium content among cereal grains. To be exact, just 100 grams can provide 13% of the Daily Value (DV) you need.

#3: Couscous

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Couscous originates from the Maghreb, also known as Northwest Africa. It’s a processed grain product made from semolina flour or little balls of durum wheat.

Those familiar with this type of grain will know that there are three main types – Moroccan, Israeli, and Lebanese. If well-cooked, it should appear light and fluffy. You can add it to your bowl of greens or serve as a side dish with meats.

Relatively low in carbohydrates, 157 grams of cooked couscous are packed with only around 34.5 grams of net carbohydrates. Additionally, it’s also a great source of selenium, a trace mineral that contributes to heart health, thyroid function, and immune health. Consuming it can also boost your intake of other important micronutrients such as pantothenic acid, manganese, copper, and thiamine.

#4: Spelt
cajun spelt

Image Credits: Food Network

Spelt is a type of wheat that’s also known to many as dinkel wheat or hulled wheat. It was popular in parts of Europe from the Bronze Age to medieval times but was not that well sought after during the 19th century.

We want to put it upfront that spelt is high in gluten and therefore unsuitable for people on a gluten-free diet. But studies have shown that eating whole grains like spelt may help lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and selected types of cancer.

Looking at its nutritional value, 194 grams of cooked spelt contain about 44 grams of net carbs and 7.5 grams of fibre. It also has small amounts of calcium, selenium, and vitamins B1, B6 and E.

#5: Wild Rice

Image Credits: Serious Eats

Wild rice is a type of whole grain eaten mainly in North America and China. It’s currently still harvested as a grain and considered a delicacy in North America.

Contrary to its name, it does not belong to the family of rice. Though it looks and cooks like other types of rice, it is a species of grass with edible seeds reminding people of rice. It also tastes stronger and is higher-priced.

164 grams of cooked wild rice contain only 32 grams of net carbohydrates with overflowing health-promoting antioxidants. It’s also rich in nutrients like zinc, vitamin B6, and folate.

#6: Popcorn

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To wrap things up, we have popcorn! The first image that comes to mind when popcorn is brought up is movies. Often thought as a snack, it is technically a whole grain and thus carries considerable amounts of essential nutrients.

14 grams of popped popcorn only has 6.5 grams of net carbohydrates, thus making it one of the most favoured low-carbohydrate grains among dieters. It is also low in calories and high in B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Eating popcorn in moderation may help with weight loss because it promotes feelings of fullness. Based on a study conducted, 15 calories of popcorn were found to be as filling as 150 calories of potato chips.

But before you rush down to get your bag of popcorn, be mindful that pre-packaged microwave varieties may be harmful. One reason is that they can contain diacetyl, a chemical found in artificial butter flavouring. Experiments involving animals have revealed that breathing in diacetyl damages airways and causes lung diseases.

Another explanation is that many microwave popcorns are made using hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated oils, and they contain unbeneficial trans fats. This may result in an increased risk of severe diseases such as heart disease.

The best advice in this context? Make your munchies or meals from scratch, so you’re fully conscious of what you put into your body.


Eating Out? Make Healthier And Cheaper Choices In Just 5 Ways

With the influx and the variety of the restaurants, cafes, and other eateries island-wide, it is always a good time to dine out at the Red Dot. But…this does not mean that you can freely eat unhealthily or splurge a lot.

Here are 5 ways to work around it:


Before dining in the restaurant, make it a habit to check their menu online. Websites such as,, or can help you locate a restaurant, identify its menu, and give you an estimate of the average spending. This will help you make tastier, healthier, and cheaper decisions.


Imagine being in an affordable buffet with all the calorie-rich food available at your arm’s length. It sounds tempting doesn’t it? Yet your health may be at cost. Instead of always opting for a buffet, consider ordering a single meal that is packed with nutrients!


Even if the restaurant appetizers are free, do your best to skip it as some of it are packed with calories. Appetizers are also made to fool your brain unto consuming more food that you intend.

Image Credits: wEnDy via Flickr

Image Credits: wEnDy via Flickr


Indulge and savour the taste of your food. Eating slowly will help you realize that you are actually satiated. Thus, you will eat and purchase just enough or even less.


I know I am not the only one who shares a deep fondness for desserts. A delectably sweet cake drizzled with tasty toppings can make you hungry for more. Although it is tempting, it is important to watch your sugar intake. Opt for lighter dessert choices such as sorbets or fruits. As for the salads, be mindful of the creamy toppings and the dressings.

Image Credits: Ralph Daily via Flickr

Image Credits: Ralph Daily via Flickr

With these simple ways, your tummy and your wallet will definitely be happy!


10 Tips To Eat Healthier And Save More Money

Healthy eating is an active choice to improve one’s lifestyle. It is not about total dietary restriction and remaining thin. Rather, it is about having more energy and feeling better about YOU!

If you find it difficult at first, fear not because you are not alone. Taking this healthier road one step at a time will surely go a long way. Once you embraced healthier eating, you cannot only be fitter but also richer. As you cut back the unnecessary, you can save more money for important things such as your child’s allowance. On that note, here are 10 Tips To Eat Healthier And Save More Money…


1. Reduce sugar in fruit juices by diluting it with water. Even if it does not contain added sugar such as the pure fruit juices, it is still good to practice this.

2. A bottle of Strawberry Jam at FairPrice retails for about S$3-9.80. You can save that and reduce guar consumption by using minimum amounts of jam or any spread. Apply it thinly and evenly.


3. Did you know that Marigold’s Non Fat Yoghurt is available for S$1.85 while Meiji’s Low Fat Yoghurt is only S$1/pc at FairPrice. Also, milk containing less fat are either the same price or even cheaper than the other types. The point is, you can choose reduced-fat varieties of milk and yoghurt without sacrificing the price.

4. If you are preparing meat, remove the visible fat and the skin off the chicken before you cook.


5. You can either reduce or not use salt at all when you are cooking. But, if you want to add more flavors, use iodized salt instead.

6. Want to save more on salt? Gradually reduce the salt you add in your cooking and buy food with lower sodium levels.


7. Eat about 3-4 servings of fruits daily. Banana, orange, and guava are just some of the fruits rich in fiber.

8. It is a known fact that leafy greens are more affordable than lean meat. To eat healthier, eat smaller servings of meat with larger servings of vegetables.


9. Cook more homemade meals instead of buying take-away. For example, cook fish by steaming, grilling, or pan-frying it. Shy away from deep fried food.

10. Lastly, it is no surprise that beer or any alcoholic drinks should be cut down. The recommended consumption should be no more than 3 drinks for men and no more than 2 drinks for women. Reducing your alcohol consumption will not only control your weight but it will also save you more money and lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Image Credits: nutrition education via Flickr

Image Credits: nutrition education via Flickr



5 Ways to Shop for Healthy Foods Without Spending Too Much

It is no secret that buying organic and healthy foods is more costly than buying junk. But, if you are willing to shop smartly, then you can enjoy the goodness and freshness of organic foods without breaking your food budget. Here are 5 Ways to Shop for Healthy Foods Without Spending Too Much…

1. Purchase Within Your Family’s Needs

Buy stocks of food to fit your whole family. Usually, to save more money, you will want to buy in bulk, but, not if you are a family of three or two. Rethink your family’s needs and list it down.

2. Shop Around

In order for you to find the best price in town, you must shop around different stores. Besides supermarkets, you can search for healthy foods in specialty stores, Gourmet Delis, Wet and Dry Markets, and even Online. For instance, you may go to two different stores to save money and buy the best product: one for the vegetables and one for the sea foods.

Image Credits: epSos .de via Flickr

Image Credits: epSos .de via Flickr

3. Shop in Season

You will definitely save more money if you purchase the organic produce that is in season. Price always lowers when there is greater supply. Summer and fall are usually the best times to go creative with your food choices.

4. Grow Your Own Food

Growing your own food is organic at its finest. If you do not have a backyard or an apartment balcony there are community gardens for you to plant your own seed. Aside from being domestic, you can also save more money if you buy produce of the local supermarket’s brand (e.g. Mixed Vegetables by FairPrice).

5. Go Gaga over Greens

Kale, arugula, and spinach are some of the most nutritious and affordable foods you will find in a grocery store. As the color of the vegetable gets darker, the more nutritious it is because of its antioxidants and beta-carotene. If possible, buy the leafy greens that are not pre-packed because they are cheaper.

Image Credits: Amazing Almonds via Flickr

Image Credits: Amazing Almonds via Flickr

BONUS TIP! Stay on the outside aisles of the grocery store because the further you go inside, the less healthy it becomes. That is all for now. Have fun shopping!