High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
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A Japanese research paper back in 2016 discovered something fascinating about people who don’t laugh. After studying the health of over 20,000 people, the authors of the paper noted that people who said they never laughed were significantly more likely to have heart disease. Even while accounting for depression, BMI, hypertension, and other risk factors, people were over 20 percent more likely to have heart disease.
Could laughing be the root of these impressive numbers?
The Japanese study didn’t seek to explain why laughter was associated with a low prevalence of heart diseases.
But laughing is known to have several incredible health benefits, which may help to prevent heart disease.
Firstly, laughter has similar effects as a cardio workout, explains The Heart Foundation in partnership with Cedars Sinai.
“It gets your heart pumping and burns the same amount of calories as walking. Not to mention, it lowers LDL cholesterol and raises HDL cholesterol,” states the health body.
One study with diabetics that had high cholesterol spotted these positive effects as they tested participants who laughed for 30 minutes per day over a year.
By the end of the year, participants had a 26 percent increase in levels of “good” HDL cholesterol.
Laughter also reduces your stress levels, opening up your blood vessels and lowering blood pressure.
A study by the University of Maryland Medical Center found that your blood vessels release nitric dioxide during laughter – which is responsible for this dilation effect.
Nitric oxide is also connected to lower inflammation and reducing the creation of plaques in your arteries (the buildup of cholesterol and other materials in your arteries that can cause blood clots).
Another study by the University of Texas found that a funny video was linked to immediate changes in artery flexibility.
Laughter has always been shown to support people with dementia symptoms.
Alongside laughing frequently, the best way to lower your cholesterol level is through lifestyle changes.
“To reduce your cholesterol, try to cut down on fatty food, especially food that contains a type of fat called saturated fat,” explains the NHS.
The health body recommends eating foods such as nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables, brown rice, bread, and pasta.
And of course, it is important to stick to the recommended guidelines for exercise: 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week.
Smoking is also a major cause of “bad” LDL. Smoking also makes cholesterol more dangerous.
According to the charity Heart UK, smoking makes LDL cholesterol “stickier” – making them connect to the artery walls and clog them up.
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