High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
Avocados are a stone fruit that contain substantial amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids. The nutrient-dense food is rich in beta-sitosterol – a plant sterol – that can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. People are made aware of their cholesterol levels when they undergo a medical blood test. WebMD recommends everyone over the age of 20 needs to have their cholesterol levels checked at least once every five years.
The blood test will check for:
- Total cholesterol levels
- LDL (low-density lipoprotein) level i.e. “bad” cholesterol
- HDL (high-density lipoprotein) level i.e. “good” cholesterol
Eating a diet heavy in saturated fat, trans fats, and cholesterol can raise LDL cholesterol.
WebMD said that starting your day with an avocado can release “oleic acid” in your body, “which helps lower bad cholesterol in your bloodstream”.
Avocados are a versatile fruit that can be spread on toast, paired with tomatoes, and salads.
Another treat to include into your diet is nuts; specifically almonds, walnuts and pistachios that can help reduce bad cholesterol.
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When it comes to picking nuts at the supermarket, make sure you choose the low-salt option – portion control is important here too, taking no more than a handful a day.
Simple swaps can also help to lower your cholesterol levels, opting for wholegrain rice, pasta and bread.
The soluble fibre found in wholegrain rice, for example, has been proven to lower bad cholesterol by reducing the absorption of cholesterol in the bloodstream.
Other rich sources of soluble fibre include black beans, kidney beans, and lentils.
“Recent studies show eating 4.5 ounces of beans a day can reduce LDL levels by five percent,” said WebMD.
Most vegetables are high in fibre and low in calories, especially aubergine and okra.
As well being mindful as to what you eat everyday, if you want to shift cholesterol you need to be moving your body.
“Losing weight will help lower your LDL, total cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels,” said WebMD.
In addition, exercising regularly can increase the level of “good” cholesterol.
What makes some cholesterol “good”?
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) explained that HDL cholesterol takes the cholesterol your body doesn’t need to the liver.
Inside the liver, excess cholesterol is then broken down so it can be passed out of the body.
When HDL cholesterol levels are raised, more “bad” cholesterol can be transported to the liver, instead of lining the arteries.
Thirty minutes of activity every day is recommend by WebMD to lower “bad” cholesterol and raise “good” cholesterol levels.
People prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as statins, need to take their medication.
Statins work best when they’re combined with a low-cholesterol diet and plenty of exercise.
Allowing too much cholesterol to build up in your body can lead to atherosclerosis and life-threatening conditions.
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