High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
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High cholesterol is the precursor of serious health problems, ranging from heart diseases to strokes. The good news is that once you identify the fatty culprit, you can reduce your levels by eating. While some foods like saturated fats are out of the question, certain types of yoghurts, butter and dairy drinks could still do the trick.
Although eating creamy foods to bust your cholesterol might sound too good to be true, it will work as long as you stick to products containing plant sterols.
Listed as one of the six “cholesterol-lowering” foods by Heart UK, plant sterols are plant chemicals which are similar in size and shape to cholesterol.
In fact, the charity explains that they are considered to be one of the “most effective single” foods for busting cholesterol.
Once you eat those plant goodies, they are absorbed from your intestine into your bloodstream.
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Here, they fight cholesterol from absorption, eventually blocking some of it which can help to lower your levels.
National Heart Foundation of Australia explains that eating plant sterols on a daily basis can lower “bad” cholesterol by around 10 percent.
However, they warn that the exact reduction might depend on your age.
When it comes to their food sources, plant sterols are mainly contained in vegetable oils, nuts, legumes, grains, cereals and leaves.
So how do these goodies get into creamy dairy products like butter?
Food companies take plant sterols and add them to products, such as dairy drinks, butter, milk as well as yoghurts.
So next time you are browsing the daily aisle, make sure you reach for the option with plant sterols to enjoy all the benefits.
Brands including Flora and Benecol offer plant-sterol products in the UK.
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However, the only people who can benefit from plant sterols are people with high cholesterol levels, Heart UK reports.
When it comes to how much to eat, the charity advises opting for one to three servings of fortified products daily.
This amount should give you around one to three grams of the plant goodies.
Plus, following this diet for over three weeks can bring the 10 percent reduction, according to research.
To illustrate this, around two teaspoons of butter, or 120g of yoghurt, should do the trick.
The good news is that you can also eat plant sterols when you’re following a statin treatment, according to National Heart Foundation of Australia.
They share: “Research shows that plant sterol enriched foods work together with statins, to have an even greater impact on lowering LDL-cholesterol levels.”
Apart from including plant sterols in your diet, the NHS also recommends cutting back on saturated fat found in the likes of sausages, cheese and biscuits.
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