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Heart-Health: Swapping Your Choices For Better Cholesterol Management

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

Cholesterol Management-1

In the culinary landscape of Malaysia, rich flavors and indulgent treats are a way of life. It is essential to keep a close watch on our cholesterol levels. According to The 2019 National Health and Morbidity Survey, one in two Malaysians was overweight or obese, and four in ten had high cholesterol levels [1]. These numbers reveal a need for Malaysians to shift towards making healthier lifestyle choices. While medicine may be an alternative to control cholesterol, making smart food swaps is also important for keeping your heart healthy while still enjoying your favorite delicacies. So, what are the delectable choices can Malaysians substitute with?

Thosai over Roti Canai
Thosai VS Roti Canai

For all mamak lovers, resisting the crispy Roti Canai might be tough. Yet, keep in mind that a plain Roti Canai contains about 300 calories, mainly from the flour and ghee. Let's also not forget the curries that are often paired with Roti Canai which can easily push the calorie count higher. Regularly consuming such calorie-rich food can raise cholesterol levels and potentially lead to heart problems over time. A better choice is to opt for Thosai or Chapatti. Thosai, with under 200 calories, brings added nutrition from ingredients like rice, split black lentils, and fenugreek seeds. This switch trims calories and boosts your meal's nutrients. [2]

Teh O Kosong over Teh Tarik
Teh Tarik VS Teh O Kosong

Malaysians take pride in their love for Teh Tarik – a comforting drink shared with loved ones. However, this beloved drink is prepared with a generous amount of condensed milk, making it excessively sweet and rich in fat. A single cup of Teh Tarik contains a staggering 180 calories, 6g of fat, and 20g of sugar, nearly hitting the daily sugar limit. Instead of Teh Tarik, why not try Teh O Kosong, which doesn't have condensed milk or sugar. It's a smarter choice with only 64 calories. This simple change helps you cut out extra calories and sugar from your diet while continuing to savor flavorful tea. [2]

Economy Rice over Fried Rice
Economy VS Fried Rice

Economy Rice is like a food adventure where you get to pick what you want to eat. You can make it your own healthy plate by choosing veggies, lean protein, and just the right amount of rice. Way better than fried rice, which can be loaded with oil, salt and bad fats that aren't good for your heart and health. So, go for economy rice and treat your taste buds and body right! [2]

Nuts over Chips
Potato Chips VS Nuts

When it comes to snacking, making the switch from chips to nuts can have a significant impact on your heart health. While chips are typically high in unhealthy fats and sodium, nuts are rich in heart-healthy fats, fiber, and essential nutrients like Vitamin E, which functions as an antioxidant to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Furthermore, nuts also contain potassium, which helps to aid the regulation of blood pressure in the heart. Almonds, walnuts, and pistachios are great options that can satisfy your cravings while providing benefits for your heart.

Rojak over Pasembur
Rojak VS Pasembur

Choosing Rojak over Pasembur can be a more appealing choice. Pasembur can turn out to be a little heavy with all the fried stuff and high-calorie dressing, but Rojak comes with a mix of fresh fruits and vegetables that give you all those good things your body loves - vitamins, minerals, and that fancy thing called fiber - without piling on the calories and bad fats. [2]

As the saying goes, "You are what you eat." Let's make choices that reflect our commitment to a healthier, happier life.


1) Institute for Public Health (2020). National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) 2019: Non-communicable diseases, healthcare demand, and health literacy.

2) The ultimate malaysian healthy food swaps. Welcome to Joanna Soh Website. (n.d.).