HIGH CHOLESTEROL can lead to a range of health issues, which can be very serious. It’s important to keep your cholesterol levels low in order to prevent these from occurring. Follow these top diet tips for lower cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance, known as a lipid, and is essential for the normal functioning of the body.
However, having excessively high levels of lipids in your blood can lead to serious health issues such as atherosclerosis – which is the narrowing of the arteries – heart attacks, strokes, mini strokes and peripheral arterial disease.
There are two types of cholesterol, one which is ‘good’ and one which is ‘bad’.
‘Good’ cholesterol, or high-density lipoprotein (HDL), carries cholesterol away from the cells and back to the liver, where it’s either broken down or passed out of the body as a waste product.
‘Bad’ cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein (LDL), carries cholesterol to the cells that need it, but if there’s too much cholesterol for the cells to use, it can build up in the artery walls, leading to disease of the arteries.
According to nutritionist Barbara Cox, over half of adults in the UK and Ireland have raised cholesterol.
However, high cholesterol doesn’t have any obvious symptoms, dubbing it the ‘silent killer’, meaning many people don’t know they have it.
Follow the following diet tips to ensure your cholesterol is kept at a healthy level.
For breakfast, opt for oats, which according to Cox have been scientifically proven to improve heart health.
“Studies show that oat’s beta-glucan content can reduce the LDL cholesterol level while the good HDL cholesterol level remains unaffected,” said Cox.
“And just three grams of oat beta-glucan per day is enough to actively reduce blood cholesterol levels and protect from the risk of heart disease.”
For lunch, Cox recommends a Mediterranean diet, which includes fatty fish like tuna and salmon, and fresh fruit and vegetables.
“The Mediterranean diet is high in omega 3 fatty acids and polyunsaturated fats and is many cardiologists’ secret weapon against high cholesterol,” said Cox.
“The omega 3s in oily fish raise good cholesterol, reduce inflammation, and lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, and arthritis.”