As the days grow colder, we layer on the clothes and hide a multitude of sins that stem from comfort eating. Winter may not seem the most natural time to start a fitness regime, but even moderate exercise has been shown to significantly boost the heart’s health.
She recommends the 16:8 plan, where you eat only within an eight-hour “window”, such as between 10am and 6pm or from midday until 8pm. “It’s a simple, no-cost way to reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes,” she says.
“Your body naturally regulates cholesterol with the aid of vitamin D, bowel flora and bile. Vitamin D helps break down cholesterol and acts as an anti-inflammatory,” says nutritionist and author Sarah Flower. “If you are unable to get at least 15 minutes of natural sun per day, you will benefit from taking a vitamin D supplement, specifically vitamin D3.”
Although eggs are high in cholesterol, they are powerhouses of nutrients and are full of protein, energy, fat, vitamins and minerals. They contain saturated fats and cholesterol but help convert the body’s unhealthy LDL (low density lipoproteins) to HDL (high density lipoproteins). Cholesterol is then moved from cells to the liver to be broken down or converted into hormones.
By tweaking our diets and swapping the saturated fat in red meat for unsaturated fat, such as that found in oily fish, we can lower our cholesterol levels and dial back blood pressure. Cut calorie and salt intake and reduce cholesterol levels by ditching ready meals and the stodgy carbohydrates in white bread, cakes and pies.
“Fish oil has been shown to lower triglycerides, helping to prevent cardiovascular disease,” says Sarah. “Studies have shown that krill oil, a premium form of omega-3 fatty acid, works far better for health than standard fish oils.”
Include a good daily probiotic, either in a supplement or a yoghurt drink, to keep your gut healthy and balanced. This boosts the immune system and helps digestion, breaking down unwanted cholesterol so it cannot be reabsorbed.