High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
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When you make adjustments to your diet to reduce your cholesterol levels, make sure you include food and snacks that will help reduce the amount of harmful cholesterol in your bloodstream. This £1 snack has been shown to reduce your cholesterol reading within hours: what is it?
When it comes to cutting down your cholesterol levels, your diet is often the first place to start.
If you’ve recently been told you have high cholesterol, your doctor may prescribe you medicine to help bring it down, however, they will also recommend making some low-cholesterol swaps.
According to the British Heart Foundation, high levels of cholesterol are associated with one in four deaths from heart and circulatory diseases in the UK.
Having high cholesterol puts you at much greater risk of heart disease, so it’s crucial you get the ‘bad’ cholesterol in your bloodstream down.
Could eating this cheap snack help?
To lower your cholesterol levels, you are encouraged to eat a diet high in healthy fats, while avoiding too much saturated fat.
Healthy fats are found in nuts and avocados, olive oil and oily fish.
Plant sterols, found in vegetable oils, have been shown to block cholesterol absorption, helping to bring your cholesterol reading down.
One of the best foods to snack on to lower cholesterol is Brazil nuts.
These tasty nuts are high in plant sterols and healthy fats, as well as giving you a protein boost, helping you to stay full between meals.
One study showed eating a portion of Brazil nuts lowered ‘bad’ cholesterol within hours, while boosting the levels of ‘good’ cholesterol in your blood: a win-win.
Although the benefits of eating Brazil nuts were noticed almost immediately, they lasted for up to a month afterwards.
Brazil nuts also contain monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, antioxidants and soluble fibre which all help reduce the levels of cholesterol in your bloodstream.
So, the next time you’re reaching for a snack between meals, grab a handful of Brazil nuts, your heart will be glad you did.
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What is the difference between good and bad cholesterol?
Despite its bad reputation, cholesterol is actually a necessary substance your body needs to function properly.
It’s particularly important for your skin, brain and nerves.
To help people with this distinction, healthcare professionals have begun differentiating between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol.
LDL – which stands for low density lipoprotein – is commonly referred to as bad cholesterol.
If there is too much LDL in your arteries, it will clog them up, which is what we know as high cholesterol, and what cholesterol tests are looking for.
By contrast, HDL – standing for high density lipoprotein – is known as good cholesterol.
HDL is considered good because it can help prevent disease.
HDL also contains lots of protein and only a small amount of cholesterol.
The way HDL functions is different too: it carries HDL back to the liver, where the liver uses it to create bile or breaks it down into waste.
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