High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
High cholesterol can lay the groundwork for dangerous health problems like heart disease. Therefore, keeping the fatty substance in check can also reduce your risk of the major killer. Fortunately, a nutritionist has shared the foods that could do this with gusto.
The first step to lowering your cholesterol levels comes down to cutting back on your intake of saturated fat – think sausages, cheese, and biscuits.
On the other hand, eating enough unsaturated fats is “key to keeping the heart healthy” and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, according to Eliza Glynn, Nutritionist at Holland and Barrett.
With this in mind, the expert recommended the following cholesterol-busting foods to help “keep your heart ticking away nicely”.
Touted for its various health benefits, oily fish is packed with omega 3s, which describe a type of polyunsaturated fats.
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Glynn said: “Omega 3s help to maintain healthy blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, reduce blood clots and boost circulation.”
The NHS recommends eating one portion of oily fish each week as a part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Nuts and seeds
When it comes to plant foods, seeds, such as flaxseed, sunflower and pumpkin, and nuts, like walnuts, pecans and almonds, are also a great source of omega 3s.
Furthermore, Heart UK explains that the mix of high unsaturated fats and low saturated fats hidden in the small foods can help keep your cholesterol in check.
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“They [also] contain fibre which can help block some cholesterol being absorbed into the bloodstream from the gut,” the charity adds.
The nutritionist explained that avocados are the “only fruit” that contains monounsaturated fats.
She said: “This is another healthy type of fat which can lower ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and boost ‘good’ HDL cholesterol.
“They also contain vitamin B6 and folate, which can help lower your homocysteine levels (an amino acid in your blood) which is linked to reduced chances of suffering a stroke.”
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The creamy food is also backed by research, as a study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, found that a daily dose of a single avocado can cut the levels of bad cholesterol that has been oxidised.
Looking at 45 subjects, the researchers noticed that the green fruit was able to “significantly” lower oxidised bad cholesterol.
Similarly to the way oxygen can damage food – think about a cut apple turning brown – the researchers explained that oxidation is also “bad” for your body.
Unlike the other foods, wholegrains’ ability to lower cholesterol doesn’t stem from their fat content.
Glynn said: “Wholegrains – such as porridge oats, cereals, crackers, brown rice or bread, and grains – are an excellent source of fibre, which will help to reduce LDL cholesterol levels.
“They also contain magnesium which relaxes blood vessels and improves blood flow.”
Heart UK explains that fibre can block some cholesterol from being absorbed from the intestines into your bloodstream.
Furthermore, eating at least three “helpings” of wholegrains a day can help bust your blood pressure – another risk factor for heart disease, the expert added.
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