Expert recommends seven ‘cholesterol-busting’ foods to lower risk of heart disease
If left untreated, high cholesterol can lead to a number of potentially fatal conditions such as heart disease and strokes.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in the blood. Having too much of it can cause problems as it can build-up in the blood vessels resulting in blockages. Like many conditions, high cholesterol can be made worse – or improved – by diet.
He said: “Oily fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel and swordfish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help you to both lower or maintain good cholesterol levels.
“These are essential fats that help you maintain healthy cholesterol levels, by lowering your triglyceride levels (the main component of body fat in people).
“For those with high cholesterol, fish is a healthier alternative to meat – especially red meat, which is high in saturated fats.”
Whole grain foods
“Whole grain foods are a great way of introducing more fibre into your diet,” he said.
“For example, you can swap out your regular white rice, bread or pasta for healthier brown rice, wholemeal bread and whole wheat pasta.
“But why is this beneficial? A high-fibre diet not only helps waste move through the digestive system quickly, but also lowers the LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, which increases your chances of a stroke or heart disease).”
Nuts and seeds
Mr Mcginn said: “When trying to lower your cholesterol, it’s important to cut out saturated fats in your diet and replace them with healthier unsaturated fats like nuts.
“Whether you want to sit snacking on a bag of healthy nuts, or add them to savoury recipes or salads, they are good for the body as they contain fibre which can stop cholesterol from entering the bloodstream.
“Some great nut options to try are almonds, pistachios, cashew nuts, hazelnuts, pecans and walnuts.”
Oats and barley
“Oats and barley are good foods to incorporate into your diet when working on lowering your cholesterol,” he commented.
“Both ingredients contain a fibre called beta-glucan, which is a soluble fibre that forms a gel that attaches to the cholesterol in your intestines and prevents your body from absorbing it.
“Try swapping out your usual breakfast for porridge, as an easy way to add them to your diet.”
Beans and pulses
Mr Mcginn said: “Adding beans or pulses like baked beans, kidney beans, chickpeas or lentils to your diet can significantly lower your risk of heart disease, by lowering the body’s LDL (bad cholesterol).
“You can easily start consuming more beans and pulses regularly by adding them into recipes, whether it’s a curry, a homemade soup, a chilli or even a variety of dips.”
He explained: “Fruits are high in a soluble fibre known as pectin and host many health benefits, including lowering cholesterol, improving blood sugar and helping the body to maintain a healthy weight.
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